By G. E. Mingay
Lines the increase and fall of rural England from the center a long time to the second one international conflict and the character of the adjustments that have happened.
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Additional info for A Social History of the English Countryside
But overall, in the long run, there was progress. The age was certainly not the static, unchanging era that is sometimes supposed. Population rose, declined and recovered; agricultural production and organization, industrial output and technology, the composition, direction and volume of trade, all shifted in line with changing economic circumstances. The England of 1500 was certainly much different from that of 1100, and so far as rural society is concerned, the shape of future patterns, future problems, may be detected in the developments of the medieval age.
After the Black Death, however, the situation reverted to that of the early middle ages, with land again plentiful and labour once more relatively scarce. 1 Of course, unfree villein farmers made up only a part of the peasant community. Though the numbers varied widely, there were perhaps on average as many as two freemen to every three villeins, the former having always been able to buy and sell land freely, to move away from the manor if they wished, and to marry off their daughters as they desired.
The England of 1500 was certainly much different from that of 1100, and so far as rural society is concerned, the shape of future patterns, future problems, may be detected in the developments of the medieval age. 25 2 THE PROGRESS OF THE PLOUGH The medieval farming scene was both remarkably extensive and remarkably varied. Light loams, because of their advantages of fertility and greater ease of cultivation, were preferred by medieval farmers, but the limited areas of such soils, and the pressure of demand for land, forced many to resort to much less favourable land.
A Social History of the English Countryside by G. E. Mingay