Field-names can help give us an idea of how the countryside looked in the past. Scots rashes are rushes and so it follows that the Rashy Field describes a wet field covered in rushes. The rushes may have been harvested to be strewn on the floor, used for stuffing mattresses or making rush light candles. As agricultural land was improved damp areas were drained and enclosed with drystone dykes. In this way Rashey Field was transformed from the rough pasture shown on the OS maps in the 1850s to meadowland or permanent grass shown on later maps. Although the field has been improved the field-name reminds us what the land was like before the land was improved..

The field named The Bents has a similar meaning where Scots bents describes coarse grass growing near the sea or on moorland. Unlike Rashy Field the agricultural improvements here have only been partly successful as sedges and rough grass still grow in wet areas adjacent to the seashore on The Bents.

Here’s a note from Rachel Lucas about the making of rush candles:

You strip the outer green part of the rush stem away (it peels quite easily once you get the hang of it, and can be quite addictive to do …) and what’s left inside is a very thin length of “foam” or squishy pithy stuff.  

You then dip this into a container of liquid wax or mutton fat or similar and leave to dry.  The foamy inside of the rush sucks up the wax etc and you have a very thin candle, which stinks when lit and emits very little light.

This information was gathered as part of the PLACE in the Biosphere project. Click on the links to visit their web site and blog.

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