THE FLORA OF A MANORIAL PASTURE P . J . O . TRIST
SUCKLING 1846 quoting from a Norman MS, says, 'it appears from records that the lands of this village (Homersfield), which are of a light and gravelly nature, were formerly field lands marked with meres and doles, laying open as a common field and in a variety of ownerships'.* The Dole Meadow O.S.67 in Homersfield is to this day held with the manorial rights 'of cutting and carting away and feeding annually, the grass growing upon the following plots . . . '. In the late 1940 's the twenty acres was divided into thirteen doles, the smallest being thirty-eight poles and the largest one and half acres. Each strip or dole was formerly marked out at the corners with a post and a few still remain. The occupier of Middleton Hall is the overseer and he must cut his dole first and a gangway through the meadow, to give access for others to cut. This meadow clearly has a very long history as a hay field. It lies adjacent to the R. Waveney and is liable to flood in the winter: on this account, it is certain that the land has never been ploughed. In recent years it has had one application of phosphatic fertilizer and has been sprayed several times. Large areas of the meadow lie extremely wet throughout the winter and through many months of the year. In consequence, these are colonised by Agrostis stolonifera, Alopecurus getiiculatus, Glyceria maxima and fluitans together with Carex acutiformis, Filipendula ulmaria and Equisetum palustre. Large areas of the dry land are dominant with Hordeum murinum and Holcus lanatus. Festuca pratensis is plentiful and an excellent plant. It is freely hybridizing with Lolium perenne and various forms of Festulolium loliaceum are found. The most interesting of the grasses on the meadow is Bromus commutatus. This is an annual or biennial plant and whilst the hay continues to be cut late in the season, this grass will survive. It is seen all over the meadow and is more plentiful than is found on the very few remaining Suffolk pastures of this kind. In spite of the continuous hay cutting, the sward is dense and there are relatively few weeds. Rumex obtusifolius is the most troublesome, together with Ranunculus acris and bidbosus and Anthriscus sylvestris. The following is a list of the grasses growing and in the terms of agriculture, it would be described as a glorious mixture of most grasses which are no longer cultivated.
â€˘Suckling, Rev. Alfred (1846) Suffolk 1, 214.
History and Antiquities
of the County of
FLORA OF A
Holcus lanatus Hordeum mitrinum Phleum pratense Lolium perenns Festuca pratensis Festulolium loliaceum Festuca rubra F. arundinacea Trisetum flavescens Arrhenatherum elatius A. elatius var. subhirsutum
Dactylis glomerata Poa trivialis Bromus commutatus Agrostis stolonifera var. stolonifera A. stolonifera var. palustris Cynosurus cristatus Glyceria fluitans G. maxima Alopecurus pratensis A. geniculatus