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Lots of Activity hidden from Sight 



 
 

   

  • 'Burgage' was act of renting land from a town council (called a 'Borough')
  • When new towns were first set up in Norman times, or when old ones expanded into new areas, the borough would often lay out street and build houses along them in an organised manner.
  • Each house would have a long narrow piece of land behind it called a 'burgage plot'. From the street you would never know they were there!
  • The land would be enclosed by a fence or wall. Lots of things would go on there. There might be:
    • Yards
    • Storage sheds
    • Orchards
    • Vegetable gardens
    • Chicken coops
    • Pig sties or goat pens
    • Dovecotes
    • Stables if there was an arched or side entrance
  • If the main house was a shop, there would probably be craft or industrial workshops in the burgage plot to make things to sell there.
  • They could be very noisy and smelly places!
  • The plots still exist in many Berkshire towns, like Hungerford. Now they are long yards or gardens. Some shops have become very long and thin where they have built on them. This is especially obvious in WH Smith's in Reading's Broad Street.

 

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