The Medieval Antecedents of English Agricultural Progress

The Medieval Antecedents of English Agricultural Progress

by Bruce M. S. Campbell
     
 

ISBN-10: 0754659194

ISBN-13: 9780754659198

Pub. Date: 05/01/2007

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Until recently, historians tended to stress the perceived technological and ecological shortcomings of medieval agriculture. The ten essays assembled in this volume offer a contrary view. Based upon close documentary analysis of the demesne farms managed for and by lords, they show that, by 1300, in the most commercialized parts of England, production decisions

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Overview

Until recently, historians tended to stress the perceived technological and ecological shortcomings of medieval agriculture. The ten essays assembled in this volume offer a contrary view. Based upon close documentary analysis of the demesne farms managed for and by lords, they show that, by 1300, in the most commercialized parts of England, production decisions were based upon relative factor costs and commodity prices. Moreover, when and where economic conditions were ripe and environmental and institutional circumstances favourable, medieval cultivators successfully secured high and ecologically sustainable levels of land productivity. They achieved this by integrating crop and livestock production into the sort of manure-intensive systems of mixed-husbandry which later underpinned the more celebrated output growth of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. If medieval agriculture failed to fulfill the production potential provided by wider adoption of such systems, this is more appropriately explained by the want of the kind of market incentives that might have justified investment, innovation, and specialization on the scale that characterized the so-called 'agricultural revolution', than either the lack of appropriate agricultural technology or the innate 'backwardness' of medieval cultivators.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780754659198
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Series:
Variorum Collected Studies
Edition description:
1
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
8.82(w) x 5.91(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. Progressiveness and backwardness in 13th- and early 14th-century English agriculture: the verdict of recent research; Agricultural progress in medieval England: some evidence from eastern Norfolk; Arable productivity in medieval England: some evidence from Norfolk; Land, labour, livestock, and productivity trends in English seignorial agriculture, 1208-1450; A new perspective on medieval and early modern agriculture: 6 centuries of Norfolk farming c1250-c1850 (with Mark Overton); Norfolk livestock farming 1250-1740: a comparative study of manorial accounts and probate inventories (with Mark Overton); Commercial dairy production on medieval English demesnes: the case of Norfolk; Measuring the commercialisation of seigneurial agriculture circa 1300; Matching supply to demand: crop production and disposal by English demesnes in the century of the Black Death; Constraint or constrained? changing perspectives on medieval English agriculture; Index

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