Borderlands: The Buckinghamshire/Northamptonshire border, c650-c1350


This thesis represents the first detailed study of the evolution of a medieval county border in south-midland England. It explores when and how the border between Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire might have been drawn and considers the impact it had on the societies located on either side. The findings are then related to Phythian-Adams’ idea of cultural provinces and his proposal of defining their boundaries by reference to culturally imposed county borders.
Evidence from documents, archaeology, place-names and the landscape is used to suggest how both counties evolved from earlier Anglo-Saxon schemes of territorial organisation and how they developed as social, political and jurisdictional units in the period before the mid-fourteenth century. Counties were not the only possible foci for social cohesion, however, and the boundaries of other institutions - honours, religious houses and the church – are investigated to establish their relationship to those of the shires.
The influence of the county border on the society and economy of the surrounding area is studied through a wide range of primary and secondary records which help shed light on the behaviour and mentality of border people. Numerical and statistical methods are frequently employed in analysing the data and results are presented making extensive use of maps of the border area.
The accumulated evidence suggests that the eastern and western parts of the border evolved at different times and in different ways and, subsequently, had materially differing impacts on their localities. It is further concluded that, before c.1350, the findings are not wholly consistent either with the cultural provinces proposed, or with their detailed delimitation by the current county boundary. The precise reasons for those conclusions differ in respect of each side of the border but, ultimately arise from the varying speeds at which peripheral areas became fully integrated into the counties.






Taylor-Moore, Kim, “Borderlands: The Buckinghamshire/Northamptonshire border, c650-c1350,” Centre for Regional and Local History Theses and Papers, accessed June 13, 2024,