Settlement Population Demographics

  • Hamlets: Less than 100 souls
  • Village: Less than 1,000 souls
  • Town: Less than 10,000 souls

So, first issue: Is Bridgeford really a town, i.e. does it have more than 1,000 inhabitants. Probably not. But it’s working on a stone wall. So maybe “fortified village” just gets simplified to town?

  • 640 acres per square mile
  • One farmer can productively work 18 acres of land (open field system)
  • 36 farmers can productively work one square mile of land (again. open field system)
  • Settlement density for farming communities averages to four non-farmers per farmer
  • So a settlement that works one square mile of land (under the open field system), should have an approximate population of 180

So, the second issue is that a separate source quotes open field system farmland can support approximately 180 people per square mile. Which is tricky, because that gets you food out equal to food in. No surplus, no trade. No trade, honestly, no use for farming in feudalism. There’s some wiggle room here, though, in that open field system farmland has you working two fields out of three, and leaving the other fallow for the season.

The easiest answer to that riddle is to say that it only takes 24 farmers to work a square mile of open field farmland (because one third of the space is not actually being farmed while fallow). Which means 120 farmers and non-farmers per total square mile of land, which gets you 60 peoples worth of surplus per season. Keen.

  • 1 residence per 8-12 people
  • 1 non-residential building per 10-20 residences

So, stock 500 person village. That’s 50 family homes. Two to five non-homes (church, granary, reeve, etc.). 100 farmers, four square miles of total farmland (including fallow fields). Extra food for 240 folks in a town somewhere (which likely will have no fields of their own.

Stock 5,000 person town, you need the surplus of 40+ villages to support and feed the populace. Call it 5 square miles per, that’s one average town per every 200 square miles of productively used farmland.

Back to the first issue. Forty-ish buildings on the Bridgeford map. Scales to 350 people (admittedly, few of the identified inhabitants are farmers). There’s an identified “east gate”, though, and not a damned thing on the overland map to the east besides “farms and lumber regions”.

So if there’s an unwalled area of, say, six square miles (which is about the size of the open grasslands on the map before you run into forest), that’s 750 people, with surplus food for 360 people. 750 rural people plus 350 (relatively) urban people gets you a town of 1100 souls, on the northern border of Brycheiniog, on the highway to Powys.

Yeah, that works.

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