The plan above based on Lang’s 1774 map of Preston captures the field pattern of part of the landscape north of the town on the eve of the industrialisation that was to cover the area in houses and factories in the course of the next century. The names of the fields allow for a tentative reconstruction of the landscape in previous centuries, stretching back to Norman times. The fields on the map are enclosures of one of Preston’s large medieval town fields: Platford Dales. There are two important buildings missing from the map: Preston’s first cotton mill, to be built in the next few years, pointing forward to the rapid expansion of the industry that was to transform the town, and Preston Hall, demolished some years earlier, pointing back to the town’s medieval origins.
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