Travel and Communication in the Landscape of Early Medieval Wessex

  • Alexander Langlands

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis will explore the theme of travel and communication in early medieval Wessex by examining the physical means, the routes of communication, by which people, ideas and goods moved through the landscape. Whilst there is good evidence for the distribution of Anglo-Saxon type-sites in the landscape, such as towns, manors, wics, assembly places and churches, of the thoroughfares that connected these places, their character and function, relatively little is known. There is as yet no document that sets out the map of Anglo-Saxon roads for Wessex. Employing the rich topographical data that survives in Anglo-Saxon charter boundary clauses, this research project sets about reconstructing aspects of the early medieval route network in ten case-study areas from Hampshire, Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire. The project addresses a number of issues that arise out of the boundary clause evidence. These include critically assessing the role the Roman road network played in the seventh to eleventh centuries and developing an understanding of the hierarchy of routes that had emerged by the tenth century. The impact of improved river crossings is also considered as a factor in the development of the route network, along with the manner in which routes were signposted and inscribed and how access through the landscape was controlled. Finally, the thesis addresses elements of how the nexus of communications changed to reflect developments in the early medieval economy and the concomitant shift in the patterns of trade.
Date of Award26 Jul 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorRyan Lavelle (Supervisor) & Barbara Yorke (Supervisor)

Cite this

Travel and Communication in the Landscape of Early Medieval Wessex
Langlands, A. (Author). 26 Jul 2013

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis