For his contribution to landscape history, Maurice Beresford may be compared to William Hoskins. His first book, The Lost Villages of England (1954), explored a subject which he initially chanced upon when surveying ridge and furrow in a Midland parish and found that there was a gap in the pattern somewhere near its centre. That gap, a deserted village, led him rapidly into a huge field of enquiry, embracing historical demography, social history and agrarian history, as well the history of the landscape. Many others have been drawn into this field, which was pioneered simultaneously by Hoskins, largely through the enthusiasm of Beresford's writing. It was Beresford, together with John Hurst, who initiated the long-running excavations of a deserted village at Wharram Percy, where fundamental techniques in medieval archaeology were developed and many innovative ideas emerged, on changing settlement morphology, for example, on types of peasant houses and, latterly, on peasant diet and disease. The influential group now called the Medieval Settlement Research Group was at first associated with the excavations at Wharram.