By Mark Overton
This booklet is the 1st to be had survey of English agriculture among 1500 and 1850. Written in particular 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 alterations within the agrarian economic climate and society. Professor Overton argues that the impression of those similar adjustments in productiveness and social and financial constitution within the century after 1750 volume to an agricultural revolution.
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Additional info for Agricultural Revolution in England: The Transformation of the Agrarian Economy 1500-1850
The fourth type of system, irregular commonfield systems with non-regulated cropping, was found in eastern Norfolk and in parts of south and east Devon. In these regions there were very few regulations constraining farmers' behaviour and most farmers were free to grow what they chose in the way they chose. 3 shows; in Norfolk they were confined to the shack period after the harvest, and in Devon both to the shack period and to land lying fallow at other times of the year. Finally, there were some field systems with noncommon subdivided fields where the common rights were confined to the waste, and, although the arable fields were subdivided, no common rights existed over them.
Some land, including the clay vales of southern England, could equally well be used to grow cereals, or to grow grass to feed livestock. Thus in many situations, if the market was not the major influence on what was produced, the actual mix of crops and stock was determined by local custom and tradition as well as by subsistence needs. Although the market did not have much influence over their production decisions, farmers producing at subsistence levels went to the market to buy the few necessities they needed, to sell surplus corn in a good year, and, in a poor year, to buy corn if their harvest fell below their subsistence needs.
The most common form of unfree tenure was copyhold. By the seventeenth century a new form of tenure, the 'beneficial lease', was granted for a period of years, or, more usually, for a life or period of lives. 4 Estates JI Rent payments consisted of a large initial payment, or fine, and regular small annual payments. Thus the holder of a beneficial lease was in a similar position to a copyholder for a period of lives. The duration of a tenancy of land is termed the estate for which the tenant holds the land.
Agricultural Revolution in England: The Transformation of the Agrarian Economy 1500-1850 by Mark Overton