Articles

The Content and Sources of English Agrarian History before 1500

The Content and Sources of English Agrarian History before 1500

The Content and Sources of English Agrarian History before 1500

Hilton, R.H.

Agricultural History Review, Volume 3, No. 1 (1955)

Abstract

The picture we have now of medieval English agriculture and rural social conditions is the product of many investigations conducted from varying standpoints, using different sources and ranging in scope from the detailed monograph to the general treatise. This great variety may be illustrated on the one hand by James Thorold Rogers’s monumental work of collection and synthesis, A History of Agriculture and Prices (volumes I-IV covering the medieval period) and on the other by close analytical studies of particular estates, of which an early example was Miss N. Neilson’s work on the estates of Ramsey Abbey, and the latest, Mr Finberg’s study of the estates of Tavistock Abbey? In addition, in the form of article or larger monograph, all sorts of special aspects of medieval rural life have been explored–field systems, organization of labour, accounting systems, estate management, special products, variations in manorial structure, marketing. It might seem, from the bulk and variety of the work of historians, that our picture, if not quite finished, is at any rate firm both in outline and in the principal details; and that all we need to do now is to add a touch here and there to give extra depth and variety to an almost complete representation of the reality of the past


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