Agricultural Regions and Agrarian History in England, by Joan Thirsk

By Joan Thirsk

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Extra resources for Agricultural Regions and Agrarian History in England, 1500–1750

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The map finally places all types in one of three main classes: (i) 'mixed', meaning arable farming with the necessary livestock; (ii) pastoral in forests; and (iii) pastoral, in open pasture, including moorland. Each of the three groups is then subdivided, making twelve types in all. In vol. v [23, I], arable systems are now shown to be more conspicuously varied than the pastoral, and so these are divided into two, the one more heavily arable in emphasis than the other - (i) arable and (ii) intermediate - while all pastoral systems are assembled in the third category.

But it is equally useful here, since it reduces the number of regions, gives them names which readily convey the appearance of the landscape, and enables anyone having some familiarity with the physical structure of England to locate them easily on the map. An eightfold regional division of the kingdom is suggested, as follows: (i) downland; (ii) wold; (iii) fielden or champion areas, which we shall call vale lands, and divide between arable (fielden or champion) vales and pastoral vales; (iv) marshlands; (v) heathlands; (vi) forest (sometimes called woodpasture) areas; (vii) fell or moorland; and (viii) fenland [12, 16].

Such industrial enterprises, which expanded in number and geographical extent during the seventeenth century and conferred a modest prosperity on the pastoral vales, now rescued some of the arable vales, whereas small farmers in the more staunchly arable-oriented vales languished. ) [22, 35-6; 52), along the Lincolnshire coast [22, 35-6; 59, 49-78, 142-58], and the Essex [15, 13~; 33) and Kent coasts [22, 59-64; 15, 134-6; 28). Clay soils, of rich loam or of a stiffer, heavier consistency, predominated and were reminiscent of the vales, but this country differed in having extensive grazing grounds.

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