Jack Hargreaves tells how a Dorset River lost its name

[Music] do [Music] hello well what did the saxons do when they first came to wessex the aid of this piece of chalk i will show you they work their way up the river valleys and they did this because they were very advanced farmers for their time and they wanted the deep rich soil which settles in the river valleys as a result of the constant river floods over centuries and there they settled one after up the valleys and in particular in the places where the river could be forwarded where it was shallow enough to get across the reason for that is that if a man was farming here in the deep soil not only could the paths cross the river at that point but as his family grew up he could extend across the river and take over more rich land on the other side here also and so it went on with the valley gradually filling up and the villagers tending to congregate where the fords were and then bridges being built in place of the fords until the whole valley was full and the population was still growing so they had to turn their attention to another source of water which was the little streams that ran down to the main river from the high chalk land up here inhospitable thin soil where the british were still living these streams came down little valleys which the british called coombs but it was a source of water so a man who was farming there on the river when his eldest son grew up and what they wanted to take over more land he could take a strip across like that from one side of the comb to the other and then another like this the family could move upstream and if this son's name was chilt we'll say and the river was what let's give the river a name gladden and the this would be chilt's farm on the gladden tilton gladden in modern terms this man's name was wolf you would have wolfton gladden and joe and peter harry and philip all the way up jose and gladden and peterstown gladden and so on and but when they got to the top the land was pretty thin and the water was unreliable in the summertime from these chalk streams so he had a harder time this younger man so when the old man died down here everybody moved down one every got everybody got promoted down the stream to a better holding and the grandstands had start up the top you get the same thing nowadays in the welsh valleys where you get the high hill farms at the top of the valley working the way down getting better and better you get to the bottom there's about a farm called a plus like the big plus where everybody where the head of the tribe lived now this resulted in some cases and in a particular case i know of anything like something up to 12 holdings 12 saxon holdings ranging from the best to the worst straight up the little river which we called the gladden and might be called anything else and this left its mark on the ordinance maps that you see nowadays that you drive by and on the countryside itself and on the signpost so do you mote around nowadays in wessex or in any of the other places where the saxons came to sussex essex you will find the marks of this happening actually on the landscape and i'm going to show you a place where exactly this happened in saxon times and again what has happened to it since this is a little river tarrant or perhaps it'd be better to call it the tarrant stream quite beautiful tarrant is no more the old-fashioned form of the word torrent it doesn't look very torrential here it's a quiet place and it's the home of the wild duck and more hens and it carries a head of little trout and the water's always clear because it comes out of the chalk and it's always cool because it came deep out of the ground from springs all the way down and so it flows on down eventually to the main river which in this case was the dorset's tower and originally this was just a ford and the first bridge a wooden one perhaps was built by the saxons and still even now there's only a footbridge alongside a water splash which the motor cars cross and if you walk to the end of the footbridge you'll see a signpost and here you see exactly what i was talking about look at all the talents tarrant moncton tarant lawnston talent hinton gunville tarrant ralston tarrant rushton kingston each of those and others of them which have disappeared in the meanwhile originally a saxon estate all belonging to the same family so let's start right up at the top this is tarrant gunville the highest and in those days no doubt the poorest of the holdings and you can see that the walls here are built at the flints the flints that were scratched out of the thin soil over the chalk because just behind me here the road takes turn up to the left and it climbs right up onto the chalk tops where the british had retreated to get away from the oncoming saxons right from then on until the days when the railways were with us and the roads were better they went on building their houses here from the flints out of the chalk if you look at this one it's interesting because you can see this is once a row of farm laborious cottages three of them you can see where the old windows were they've been replaced by new ones and bricked in you see where the old front doors were of which only one is now used by the people who've now got this cottage and this stood right alongside the very beginnings of the tarrant stream down this little ditch here where i'm standing on the culvert nearly falling in is the original tarrant stream but at this point it's hardly more than what we call a winter born in other words it can be relied upon the winter but it dries up in the summer and here is the traces of what happened since the bugle horn from the crest of an incredible character called bubs doddington who built a fantastic country house in later days in this village now we come to the next one tarant hinton tarantown once again the walls of chalk with the wildflowers growing out of them but the church by this time is built of stone which they took the trouble to carry in from elsewhere but the houses aren't they're still the ordinary dorset cottages with the thatched roofs and when you come down to the river here you can see it's got a bigger bridge and it's really qualifying now to be called a stream if not by now a river and once again we've got a pub in this village we mustn't miss the pubs on a walk like this but it's interesting to look at them and see what the names of them are this one's called the crown this wasn't from anybody's crest this i'm sure was one of the many uh pubs which were called the crown after the civil war and after the commonwealth when the royalty came back at the time of the restoration and they wanted everybody to see that they were on the right side so they rapidly put a crown up and on go the stream to another place called tarrant launston by this time it is just big enough to grow a nice crop of watercress there it is all in flower and never could understand when i was young away anybody paid for watercress it seemed to me you just went out and picked it but there's nothing here at all except the farm no village tarant lawnston the farm of somebody with a name like ceylance lance's talent and that stands on exactly the same place and is the direct descendant of the saxon sons farm who moved up to the third highest place on the river tarrant as the family climbed to climb the valley and by now it's happily on its way at this point it's no longer a winter born it carries water right the way through the air we're getting to the sort of territory where the older and more powerful chaps would settle themselves because the land is flatter and richer and the water's reliable and now i think we'll just leave the pubs out and now we come to tarrant moncton now that is interesting because this is the beginning of the change monk's town the christian church has arrived and it was in fact the christian church who changed this valley from eight from 12 saxon holdings to eight parishes and this is one among them but this is where they started because here's the original preaching cross they started at the ministers wimborn minister in this case these were the missionary stations and they sent the priests and out to convert the villages and they built preaching crosses and which they preached just as later times the wesleyans preached the gospel open there it is you can see the stone you can see where the round cross stood with a ned gusset and you can see that it was abandoned when they finally had converted the district to the point where it became it could become a parish and they could build a church most of these have disappeared but this has remained because it's marvelous sharpening stone and for centuries they've sharpened bill hooks and knives and this is an interesting thing you saw the lead gusset that held the cross but when they put the the squared flints in this church they actually gusseted every flint with lead they were obviously a prosperous branch of the church by that time and now we come to tarrant ralston and once again there's nothing left of this but the farm raw's tongue raw's farm whatever his name was except there's a relic of the fact that by now there was enough power in the water to drive a little wheel and there still is a little wheel i don't know that it's used for anything nowadays but no doubt first of all sam saxon took advantage of the current there to drive a little corn stone to grind corn and this is interesting because here you can see one of the chalk stream springs flowing this is the water coming out of the chalk there's little streams like this all the way down the valley that feed it and gradually build it to the point where it will support good holdings and so on again we're halfway now to the main river where the whole thing started saxon times we by now have passed i think four or five holdings but now we're passing uh the lower half and once again the holdings are being collected together into christian parishes in early days so that two or three of them became one this is tarrant rushton and this is a very very interesting one indeed it's a very early church it hasn't got a spire spires came later it's only got the first tower but here was a leper colony in the back of there the lepers lived untouchable to the rest of the human race they were they were converted to christianity but they weren't allowed in the church so they built this didn't have glass in it originally a slot they could look through it's called a leper squint and they look through that they look through a hole in a wall inside they can just see the chalice on the altar and they can listen to the service listen to the preaching and they do say that all these marks in the soft limestone are the sandstone are the lepers scratching within patients and being held back with contact from contact with the rest of the race and this one is incidentally called the true lover's knot and this i think commemorated some royal romance of earlier ages it was an earlier sort of princess charles diana gesture on the part of the population and it points the way to town crawford town crawford is clearly we must imagine the first one because it was on the ford but on the way to town crawford past count kingston church there we see the break in the level that may and resulted in the river being called the torrent although it's very gently all the way up the saxons would have met this first on their way up from the main river and seeing that they might have called it the torrent and so we go to look for tarrant crawford the first holding that was spread out from the original settlement on the main river but we can't find it because at tarrant crawford in medieval times they built a christian nunnery for very high class and aristocratic women and in order they shouldn't be disturbed or in any way threatened by common people they just pulled down a village they pulled down the village crawford which had been the original settlement left this to the nuns as their estate and so we find this little ditch running a ridge eventually into the river star up which the first settlements of the saxons marched and it's extraordinary isn't it when you look at this little ditch here entering the river if you were to come up the other side of the river and see that on the other side you'd think there was a ditch there you couldn't imagine it was a little river that came all the way down from the chalk above giving its name to 12 different human habitations on the way and then finally losing its name all together [Music] if you enjoyed this program please subscribe and don't forget to click on the bell if you want to be notified when more videos are available and if you would like to buy the complete old country series of 60 programs please go to the link in the description below [Music] you

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