Little Flanders beyond Wales. A landscape archaeological contribution to the discussion of Flemish influence on settlement landscapes in the British Isles

Start - End 
2016 - 2020 (ongoing)
Department of Archaeology
Department of History
Other institution(s) 
Ghent University, Department of Geography
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Language 



During the invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066, Flemings fought as mercenaries in the Norman armies. Little is known about the Flemings who, following the Norman-Conquest, settled in the British Isles. The only relatively well-documented community was in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, where King Henry I between 1107 and 1111 would have sent all Flemings living in England to suppress the revolting Welsh. After establishing the new colony, members of the Flemish lay elite immigrated directly from Flanders to plant new settlements which have striking similarities with settlements in their homeland. Nothing is known, however, about the impact these Flemings had on the British landscape and settlements at the time. Nor is it clear whether the plantations were a top down or bottom up process. Therefore, this research will use a landscape archaeological approach to study Flemish impact on settlement morphology and field systems in South Wales. The use of multi-proxy historic, archaeological and geographical data combined with innovative archaeological, remote-sensing and geophysical methods will permit to create a Flemish reference model for settlement morphology and a Historic Landscape Characterisation for the Welsh settlements. Consequently, the research will offer a methodological base to understand how culturally distinctive Flemish planning traditions were modified in response to political circumstances, local traditions and environments across the British Isles.




Phd Student(s)


Stephen Rippon

University of Exeter

Veerle Van Eetvelde

Ghent University, Department of Geography