Information on field parcel numbers

Find out everything you need to know about field parcel numbers and how they are shown on Ordnance Survey (OS) maps

What is a field parcel number?

On County Series maps, field parcel numbers are usually three numbers (pre-war). These are based on areas within each separate parish within a county. It is possible for the three-figure number to repeat itself in each parish, as these are numbered consecutively within the county.

Four-figure field numbers are derived from our National Grid reference system. The adjoining sheet edge(s) are checked to ensure that the numbers remained consistent with the National Grid.

Although there’s a historical reference to field parcel numbers OS don’t publish these on our general maps anymore. However, they can be a reference used in land registry enquiries and required by farmers, rural land owners, or managers.

Aerial view of fields

Rural Payments Agency (RPA)

Field parcel numbers in England are now the responsibility of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). RPA support agricultural and rural communities and offer a range of services such as providing maps of fields and county parish holding number maps.

Visit the Rural Payments Agency

Field parcel number questions and answers

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about field parcel numbers.

What is the 'S' symbol shown over a line or lines on our field parcel number maps?

The elongated ’S’ symbol is an areas brace symbol. Formerly known as a field tie, this joins areas of land together to give a single field parcel number. Measure this area to calculate the combined total area measurement. 

How were field parcel numbers used on historical maps?

Field parcel numbers are shown on 1:2500 scale National Grid and County Series historical maps. These are now only available via national archives and copyright libraries or via our partners Groundsure and Landmark Information Group.

Learn more about where to buy historical maps and deposit libraries on our historical map archives page.

Related information

Contact us about County Series enquiries

To assist with the investigation for any County Series enquiries, please give as much information for the location, type of building, landmarks and so on.