Dr Lucy Ryder

Visiting Research Associate




I am a landscape archaeologist specialising in interdisciplinary studies of social and physical landscapes of the last 500 years.

My PhD, undertaken at the University of Exeter, focused on change and continuity of Devon’s historic landscape. Methodologically, the aims of the research were simple; to discuss the nineteenth-century historic landscape of Devon though the creation, manipulation, and querying of a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) database.

My intention was to not only look at the physical evidence of change and development in the historic landscape through field and settlement patterns, but to discuss the relationship between field and settlement morphologies and patterns of nineteenth-century Tithe Surveys landholding.

The investigation was undertaken through the examination of field and settlement morphology, taking into account agrarian history (in particular those relating to the later medieval and early modern period), and also Tithe Survey landholdings, field-names, and associated documentary evidence, for the three case-study areas in Devon.

Key issues of the research include: how far back patterns of nineteenth-century landholding can be traced, or projected, back into the medieval period; the occurrence and extent of open field farming in Devon; and the spread of nucleated and dispersed settlements. Once this was established I looked beyond the physical aspects of landscapes, and discussed how political and social aspects can affect the way in which people view landscapes. This research involved using historical sources, in particular nineteenth-century Tithe Surveys, and other historical records to establish the development of the medieval and post-medieval landscape in three areas of Devon.


I am actively researching in a number of areas based on mapping, rural landscapes, and perception. Drawing from my background in historical research and from fieldwork experience in prehistoric, early medieval and post medieval periods, my objective is to look at the medieval and early modern landscapes in a more holistic way using a multi-disciplinary approach (using oral history, documentary research, desk-based survey and GIS mapping, and survey and fieldwork).

In light of this I have developed a knowledge and expertise in the intersections between folklore and archaeology (evidence in published and forthcoming work), and my current research interests focus on the relationship between landscapes and folkloric traditions; using folk belief to examine how societies functioned in past.

Published work

Brown T., Hawken, S., Griffith, F., Franklin, L. & Hawkins, C. 2004. Science, Landscape Archaeology and Public Participation: The Community Landscapes Project, Devon, UK. Public Archaeology Volume 3 Issue 4.

Brown, A. G Hawkins, C, Ryder, L, Hawken, S, Griffith, F and Hatton, J. Forthcoming .Vegetation history and the making of Devon landscapes. I. The Blackdown Hills.

Franklin, L. 2006. Imagined landscapes: the role of Archaeology, Perception, and Folklore in the study of Medieval Devon. In S. Turner (ed.) Medieval Devon & Cornwall: Shaping the Ancient Countryside. Macclesfield: Windgather Press.

Ryder, L. Forthcoming. Change and Continuity: a Study in the Historic Landscape of Devon. Oxbow Publishers.

Ryder, L. Forthcoming. It Came from the Ground. Time and Mind.

Ryder, L. Forthcoming. The bewitching of Mr. Jacob Seley and other tales: how stories influence journeys.

Ryder, L. In Prep. Seeing the unseen: Looking for folklore and myth in past landscapes.

Ryder, L. In Prep. Sirens and Sinners: How women are portrayed in the folklore of Prehistoric Monuments.