By Mark Overton
This booklet is the 1st to be had survey of English agriculture among 1500 and 1850. Written particularly for college students, it combines new fabric with an research of the present literature. It describes farming within the 16th century, analyzes the explanations for advancements in agricultural output and productiveness, and examines adjustments within the agrarian economic system and society. Professor Overton argues that the effect of those similar adjustments in productiveness and social and financial constitution within the century after 1750 quantity to an agricultural revolution.
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Additional info for Agricultural Revolution in England: The Transformation of the Agrarian Economy 1500-1850
Nevertheless, little effective underdraining had been carried out by 1800. However, although the land was wetter in the past it did not suffer damage from heavy machinery: land that today is too wet to take a tractor and seed drill could, in the sixteenth century, take a man broadcasting seed. High moisture levels at harvest time were less of a problem than they are today as grain could dry as it stood in the sheaf before being brought home from the field. In general, livestock farmers were more susceptible to bad weather than their modern counterparts.
As we have seen, the position of the copyholder depended on local manorial custom. Some copyholders could transfer land as they wished and had fixed entry fines and heriots; on some other manors entry fines were arbitrary (although the law required them to be 'reasonable'), rents were subject to increase, and tenants had no right of nominating their successors. For example, the copyholders on the Bishop of Durham's estates at Wickham were exceptionally secure because by custom of the manor a copyhold was an estate in fee simple.
The gradual evolution of the laws governing landholding, administered through courts ranging from those at the heart of the state in London to the remotest manor in the depths of the countryside, was responsible for the great variety and complexity of landholding in the English countryside in the sixteenth century. By the nineteenth century, this complexity had been reduced considerably; how that was achieved is discussed in Chapter Four. 5 Occupation and status labels of those engaged in farming recorded in Norfolk and Suffolk inventories, 1580-1740 Craftsmen: Baker, Basketmaker, Blacksmith, Boiler, Brazier, Bricklayer, Carpenter, Collar maker, Cooper, Cordwainer, Dornix weaver, Dyer, Fisherman, Glazier, Glover, Joiner, Leather dresser, Linen weaver, Mason, Mettleman, Millwright, Pail maker, Ploughwright, Plumber, Potter, Reedlayer, Rope maker, Rough mason, Shoemaker, Sievemaker, Tanner, Thatcher, Tiler, Timberman, Turner, Twisterer, Weaver, Wheelwright, Whitesmith, Woodsetter, Woolcomber, Worstead weaver Specialist farming: Drover, Grazier, Marshman, Ploughman, Shepherd, Fisherman, Gardener Professional: Apothecary, Chancellor at Law, Clothier, Doctor of Divinity, Merchant, Practitioner of Physic, Public Notary, Schoolmaster, Shipmaster, Surgeon Retail/Service: Brewer, Butcher, Carrier, Chandler, Draper, Fellmonger, Fishmonger, Grocer, Innholder, Maltster, Mariner, Mercer, Miller, Oatmeal maker, Seaman, Tailor, Victualler, Waterman, Wool Chapman Status: Alien, Baronet, Esquire, Gentleman, Gentlewoman, Husbandman, Knight, Singleman, Singlewoman, Spinster, Widow, Yeoman Farmers and farm workers The use of the word 'farmer' as an occupational label did not become current until the early eighteenth century.