The village – one of the keystones of the English rural landscape – has a powerful hold on the imagination. The origin of nucleated and dispersed settlements – the countryside of villages and the countryside of hamlets – has since become a central concern of landscape historians. This book directly addresses this central problem. The end-result of a 5 year project which has explored a group of 12 parishes on the Buckinghamshire-Northamptonshire boundary where elements of these two landscapes lie side by side, it looks at the reasons for fundamental changes in landscape that occurred in the parish of Whittlewood between AD 800 – 1400. Changes in how the land was perceived, divided, organised and exploited are examined to reveal the testimony of medieval villagers and answer the pressing question: Why did different communities develop different forms of communal living?