What does Haslingfield mean?
I have been reading book by John Morris called the “Age of Arthur” (1973) which constructs a highly readable account of the history of the British Isles from 350-650AD. To my surprise I saw that Haslingfield is mentioned several times in the book and for interesting reasons. Reading on Wikipedia I see that the book has been strongly criticised probably because of the debatable narrative that it has strung together from the few reliable facts available.
I remember being told several times in the village that Haslingfield is a Saxon name for the field of the Haslingers or the people who follow Hasle. But who were these people and why were they here?
John Morris argues that the sharp divide between the type of ornaments found in 5th Century Saxon Cemeteries along the ridge south of Haslingfield and those found around Cambridge means that the people did not mix and were probably enemies. In Cambridge the English settlers were Angles from near Schleswig in north Germany, but the English from near Haslingfield were Saxons from near modern Hamburg and Bremen. There is a Roman tradition of settling one barbarian people on the border with another to act as a buffer zone. Such people are referred to Laeti and were deliberately moved into place as a result of some defeat in a battle. So John Morris speculated that the people whom he calls the Eslingas were ordered to settle here by the Romano-British possibly under King Arthur or more likely one of his predecessors such as Ambrosius or Vortigern.
In the 6th Century an English man called Cuthwulf was one of the key leaders of the successful second Saxon revolt that ultimately pushed the British back to Wales and Cornwall. A Saxon genealogy of this man states that he descends from Esla Gewissae founder of the Eslingas people and based in the South Cambridgeshire area. Gewissae was an earlier name of the middle Thames Saxons. Cuthwulfs defeat of the British near Bedford in 571AD and probable burial mound in Cuttleslowe in north of Oxford marks the westward progress of the English along the Icknield way during this time as do the finds of saucer broaches with a Maltese cross design made by jewelers from the Eslingas.
It is not clear (at least to me) to what the field in Haslingfield refers. Haslingfield is an early Saxon name (pre 7th century) and the early Saxon settlers did not tend to live in villages but more in a series of small isolated homesteads. So if there was no village did the name just refer to the Saxon cemetery on Cantalupe road?
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