Field Names in Bulkington

Anne Langley

I found some unusual field names in Bulkington describing the plants and animals found there. These are recorded in the Tithe Apportionment documents dating from 1844. It looks as though some previous farmer took a particular interest in such things and renamed their fields in this way. Maybe someone in Bulkington would be able to do some research to discover who this enterprising man or woman was and when they lived? In 1844 the owner of these fields was the Trustees of Richard Debary and the tenant for most (but not all of them) was Richard Warner (who farmed a large part of the village).

The Names:

  • Cuckoo Field
  • Clary Field (clary is a Salvia with blue or purple flowers)
  • Lambs Tongue (this could be either a plantain, or lambs ear (Stachys byzantina) a plant with a rosette of grey woolly leaves)
  • Rosemary Field
  • Bucks Horn (this is a plantain with divided, edible leaves)
  • Dwarf Elder
  • Egg pea Field (I suspect this is birdsfoot trefoil with yellow flowers, sometimes called ‘Bacon and Eggs’)
  • Penny Royal (a wild mint plant)
  • Narcissus Close
  • Pigeon Field
  • Ambrosia (not as nice as it sounds: there is a family of North American plants called Ambrosia but this is more likely to be the common name for ragweed or ragwort – a tall weed with yellow flowers poisonous to horses)
  • Urchin (a hedgehog)
  • Angelica Field (Angelica is an umbellifer, like cow parsley)
  • Vervoin (I think this is a corruption of vervain, a Verbena plant with square stems & purple, blue or white flowers)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia plant, often known as granny’s bonnets, the wild ones have purple flowers)
  • Tansy Field (Tanacetum, a plant from the daisy family with yellow flowers)
  • Lapwing Close
  • Primrose Hill
  • Gorsy Close

The names paint a delightful picture of the village in days gone by. It would be fascinating to know whether these plants actually grew in the particular fields or whether the owner just fancied the names. Many of them were used for medicine or eating, so I hope it was the former. Does anyone know any other historic list of botanical names?

The Warwickshire County Record Office reference number of the document with these names in is CR 569/53 and you can now look at the indexed Tithe Apportionments on-line.


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