The Foxearth and District Local History Society
The Fieldnames of Pentlow, Foxearth, Borley and Liston

from the Essex Place-names Project, curated by Andrew Clarke

The names of fields can tell us a lot about the use of land and the archaeology. A chance discovery of the old name of a field in Pentlow ('Tanter', or 'Tinty') led us on a trail of discovery that led us to the site of a fulling Mill; The field name was originally 'The Tenter Ground', meaning a place used for drying newly manufactured cloth after fulling. The wet cloth was hooked onto frames called tenters and stretched taut so that the cloth would dry flat and square.

Field names can come from a variety of things, such as the nature of the soil,its size and location, the lie of the land, the crops, livestock, wild animals and plants, buildings or land ownership. Sometimes, it can come from a historical event such as a battle, or the site of former industry such as a windmill. Field names can date back many centuries and have certainly lasted from when field names were first recorded in the thirteenth century. some names such as pightel (a small enclosure) come from middle english.

John Field, in his book English Field Names (David & Charles, 1972), identifies twenty-six categories of Field name: