GRID REFERENCE: SN 005151
AREA IN HECTARES: 106
A small character area lying within the ecclesiastical parish of Boulston,
which is coterminous with the medieval Manor of Boulston, of the Barony
of Daugleddau. It comprises a well-defined pocket of long, narrow fields
lying either side of the hamlet of Hillblock, on a rounded hill between
two streams. The fields represent later enclosure of a medieval open field
system. The name Hillblock, which was not recorded until 1419, suggests
that this area of open fields was carved out of common on relatively high
ground. The parish and manor of Boulston was extended to include this
area, possibly at the expense of Picton manor. The higher ground of Arnold’s
Hill to the north remained unenclosed until the late medieval period.
To the south the Picton estate was so reorganised during the 17th-19th
centuries that its original form cannot now be ascertained.. An estate
map of 1773 depicts the extent of this area. Hillblock hamlet then consisted
of seven clustered tenements or small farmsteads. Enclosed strip fields
surrounded the hamlet. Each tenement held several strips, although not
in a consolidated block. This is an indication that the strips had been
recently enclosed from an open field system of cultivation. By the tithe
survey of 1844 strips had been consolidated and fields with a more regular,
rectangular shape created. However, the underlying strip-field shape was
then evident, as indeed it is today, although to a much lesser extent.
A shelterbelt had been planted alongside a road at the western end of
the fields by 1844. This has been assigned to a different character area.
Base map reproduced from the OS map with the permission
of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery
Office, © Crown Copyright 2001.
All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright
and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. Licence Number: GD272221
Description and essential historic landscape components
This small historic landscape area lies across a low, rounded hill or
ridge between 25m and 60m. It consists of the hamlet of Hillblock and
the surrounding fields. A straight lane runs east - west along the long
axis of the ridge through the hamlet. Long fields, some narrow and strip-like,
run down the flanks on either side of the lane. Earth banks and hedges
divide the fields. Hedges are generally well maintained, but some are
becoming overgrown and a few are derelict and replaced by wire fences.
On the lower slopes of the ridge the hedges run into scrubby woodland
flanking streams. Land-use is almost entirely improved pasture. Hillblock
hamlet is a nucleated settlement of several 19th century dwellings. These
include a main two-storey farmhouse in Georgian vernacular style, two
in the vernacular tradition and a single storey vernacular workers cottage.
All dwellings are stone-built, cement rendered with slate roofs. Small
ranges of 19th century outbuildings are located in the hamlet as well
as modern agricultural structures. There are no significant archaeological
sites or listed buildings.
Although historically this is a very distinct area, its character is
now not dissimilar to that of its neighbours, and therefore, on the ground,
its boundaries are not well defined.
Sources: Boulston Parish tithe map 1844; Charles 1992; NLW PICTON CASTLE
VOL 1; NLW VOL 88; PRO D/RTP/Sir RBPP/6/2;