Landlords and Tenants in Britain, 1440-1660

Landlords and Tenants in Britain, 1440-1660

Tawney's Agrarian Problem Revisited

Edited by Jane Whittle

Personal eBook

Boydell Press



Provides for a new interpretation of the agrarian economy in late Tudor and early modern Britain.
This volume revisits a classic book by a famous historian: R.H. Tawney's Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century (1912). Tawney's Agrarian Problem surveyed landlord-tenant relations in England between 1440 and 1660, the period of emergent capitalism and rapidly changing property relations that stands between the end of serfdom and the more firmly capitalist system of the eighteenth century. This transition period is widely recognised as crucial to Britain's long term economic development, laying the foundation for the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century. Remarkably, Tawney's book has remained the standard text on landlord-tenant relations for over a century.
Here, Tawney's book is re-evaluated by leading experts in agrarian and legal history, taking its themes as a departure point to provide for a new interpretation of the agrarian economy in late Tudor and early modern Britain. The introduction looks at how Tawney's Agrarian Problem was written, its place in the historiography of agrarian England and the current state of research. Survey chapters examine the late medieval period, a comparison with Scotland, and Tawney's conception of capitalism, whilst the remaining chapters focus on four issues that were central to Tawney's arguments: enclosure disputes, the security of customary tenure; the conversion of customary tenure to leasehold; and other landlord strategies to raise revenues. The balance of power between landlords and tenants determined how the wealth of agrarian England was divided in this crucial period of economic development - this book reveals how this struggle was played out.

JANE WHITTLE is professor of rural history at Exeter University.
Contributors: Christopher Brooks, Christopher Dyer, Heather Falvey, Harold Garrett-Goodyear, Julian Goodare, Elizabeth Griffiths, Jennifer Holt, Briony McDonagh, Jean Morrin, David Ormrod, William D. Shannon, Jane Whittle, Andy Wood. Foreword by Keith Wrightson


11 line illustrations
256 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History
Personal eBook, 9781782044451, August 2013
Paperback, 9781843838500, August 2013
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC BUS023000, HIS037030, HIS015000
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Table of Contents

Foreword - Keith Wrightson
Tawney's Agrarian Problem Revisited - Jane Whittle
The Agrarian Problem, 1440-1520 - Christopher Dyer
Common Law and Manor Courts: Lords, Copyholders and Justice in Early Tudor England - R. Harold Garrett-Goodyear
Negotiating Enclosure in Sixteenth-Century East Yorkshire - Briony McDonagh
The Politics of Enclosure in Elizabethan England: Contesting 'Neighbourship' in Chinley, Derbyshire - Heather Falvey
Athelstan's Gift: Custom, Memory and Malmesbury's Common Lands, 1608-13 - Andy Wood
In Search of the Scottish Agrarian Problem -
The Transfer to Leasehold on Durham Cathedral Estate, 1541-1626 - Jean Morrin
The Financial Rewards of Winning the Battle for Secure Customary Tenure - Jennifer Holt
Risks and Rewards in Wasteland Enclosure: Lowland Lancashire c. 1500-1650 - William Shannon
Improving Landlords or Villains of the Piece? A Case Study of Early Seventeenth-Century Norfolk - Elizabeth Griffiths
The Agrarian Problem in Revolutionary England - Christopher W Brooks
Agrarian Capitalism and Merchant Capitalism: Tawney, Dobb, Brenner and Beyond - David Ormrod
Conclusions - Jane Whittle


A thought-provoking collection. EH.NET

The book's overall achievement is to nuance many of the views and arguments of Tawney while simultaneously exploring current and future questions in early modern agrarian history. LANDSCAPE HISTORY

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