Agricultural Revolution in England: The Transformation of by Mark Overton

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By Mark Overton

This e-book is the 1st to be had survey of English agriculture among 1500 and 1850. Written particularly for college kids, 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 adjustments within the agrarian financial system and society. Professor Overton argues that the influence 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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Land was the most prevalent and the most secure form of investment in the early modern period, and while some landowners would have leased out their land, many retained a direct interest in farming on at least part of their holdings. Almost all clergymen were involved in farming, since the endowment for many livings was in the form of land (known as the glebe). ' Textile manufacture of some sort was the most common industrial activity combined with farming, although there were considerable regional variations.

Another significant social divide was between those who could live from the land alone, and those who had to earn money in other ways to survive. Into this latter category fall cottagers, labourers and servants. Cottagers might have a small area of land attached to their cottage, but this would not be sufficient to support a family. Thus, like labourers and farm servants, they had to work for other people. The seventeenth-century statistician, Gregory King, reckoned that in 1688 over half the population could be described as 'Labouring people, out servants, cottagers and paupers' (764,000 families out of a total of 1,360,586).

Nitrogen can only be utilised by plants in the form of mineral nitrate salts, and in the early modern period the main source of these was the decay of organic nitrogen from plant materials. Some of this recycled nitrogen came from plant residues ploughed into the ground: from stubble, weeds and grass. Organic nitrogen is recycled more rapidly through animals and so one of the most important sources of mineral nitrogen was animal manure, but it is important to realise that animals do not make manure out of nothing, they are merely processing the nutrients contained in the plants they eat.

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