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The Enclosures in England An Economic Reconstruction   By: (1892-)

Book cover

First Page:

2 THE ENCLOSURES IN ENGLAND

STUDIES IN HISTORY, ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC LAW

EDITED BY THE FACULTY OF POLITICAL SCIENCE OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Volume LXXX] [Number 2

Whole Number 186

THE ENCLOSURES IN ENGLAND AN ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION

BY HARRIETT BRADLEY, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Economics, Vassar College Sometime University Fellow in Economics

New York COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

LONGMANS, GREEN & CO., AGENTS LONDON: P.S. KING & SON, LTD. 1918

"It fareth with the earth as with other creatures that through continual labour grow faint and feeble hearted." From speech made in the House of Commons, 1597

To EMILIE LOUISE WELLS

CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION 11 The subject of inquiry No attempt hitherto made to verify the different hypothetical explanations of the enclosures Nature of the evidence.

CHAPTER I THE PRICE OF WOOL 18 Accepted theory of enclosure movement based on price of wool Enclosures began independently of Black Death and before expansion of woollen industry Price of wool low as compared with that of wheat in enclosure period Seventeenth century conversions of pasture to arable Of arable to pasture Conversion not explained by change in prices or wages Double conversion movement due to condition of soil Summary.

CHAPTER II THE FERTILITY OF THE COMMON FIELDS 51 Dr. Russell on soil fertility Insufficient manure Statistical indications of yield Compulsory land holding Desertion of villains Commutation of services on terms advantageous to serf Low rent obtained when bond land was leased Remission of services Changes due to economic need, not desired for improved social status Poverty of villains Cultivation of demesne unprofitable.

CHAPTER III THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE OPEN FIELDS 73 Growing irregularity of holdings Consolidation of holdings Turf boundaries plowed under Lea land Restoration of fertility Enclosure by tenants Land used alternately as pasture and arable Summary of changes.

CHAPTER IV ENCLOSURE FOR SHEEP PASTURE 86 Enclosure by small tenants difficult Open field tenants unprofitable Low rents Neglect of land High cost of living Enclosure even of demesne a hardship to small holders Intermixture of holdings a reason for dispossessing tenants Higher rents from enclosed land another reason Poverty of tenants where no enclosures were made Exhaustion of open fields recognised by Parliament Restoration of fertility and reconversion to tillage New forage crops in eighteenth century Recapitulation and conclusion.

INDEX 109

INTRODUCTION

The enclosure movement the process by which the common field system was broken down and replaced by a system of unrestricted private use involved economic and social changes which make it one of the important subjects in English economic history. When it began, the arable fields of a community lay divided in a multitude of strips separated from each other only by borders of unplowed turf. Each landholder was in possession of a number of these strips, widely separated from each other, and scattered all over the open fields, so that he had a share in each of the various grades of land.[1] But his private use of the land was restricted to the period when it was being prepared for crop or was under crop. After harvest the land was grazed in common by the village flocks; and each year a half or a third of the land was not plowed at all, but lay fallow and formed part of the common pasture... Continue reading book >>




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