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In the Anglo-Saxon period the area in which the hoard was found was a remote area of woodland and heath.The immediate locality remained unenclosed waste with no field-names recorded even in the middle of the 19th century.After the Norman Conquest the whole of this region became royal forest - primarily a royal hunting ground but one that was also pastured by the tenants of the surrounding communities.
The Roman Watling Street was the most obvious man-made feature running through the area and was still in use in the Anglo-Saxon period (Champness 2008, 59).
Here it was passing through a sparsely populated region.
Nevertheless, Plot's story indicates how little the nature of this area changed over hundreds of years.
The area of highland running north-south through southern Staffordshire from the Cannock Hills to the Birmingham Plateau separated the territories of two folk-groups (Fig. This was an area of marginal land which was probably being used as seasonal pasture by estate centres established to the west and east. Domesday estate links in south Staffordshire (from Dean, Hooke & Jones 2010).
While the possibility that Hammerwich derived its name from the OE 'hill'), signifying metal working, may be intriguing (see Mattias Jacobsson's paper and David Parsons's paper), it does not necessarily indicate a place of importance and there is little indication of a 'productive' site in the sense of a rural market.
The 'two Hammerwiches' of Domesday Book may possibly have been just administrative divisions of the same vill.
(Tipton is a strange addition to the Lichfield Domesday estates but with no earlier or later linkage known).
The Wolverhampton estates are also listed in a spurious foundation charter of the minster (Sawyer 1968: S1380; Hooke 1983: 64-85) claiming to date from 996 (for 994), which lists the estates allegedly acquired by the minster when it was re-established.
In medieval times (C13) Hammerwich was a straggling settlement with three recognisable foci: Overton, Netherton and Middleton (VCH Staffordshire XIV: 258-73).