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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Agrarian origins of industry in Leicestershire, with particular emphasis on the 1660-80 period. 1970

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THE AGRARIAN ORIGINS OF INDUSTRY IK LEICESTERSHIRE, WITH PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON THE 1660 - 80 PERIOD by DAVID CYRIL LEVINE B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1968 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF • MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of H i s t o r y We accept t h i s T h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 2 4, 1970 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I a g ree tha t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree tha p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y pu rpo se s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . HISTORY Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date September 4, 1970 ABSTRACT T h i s t h e s i s i s an a n a l y s i s of the c o n d i t i o n s which promoted the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of the c o u n t r y s i d e i n L e i c e s - t e r s h i r e i n the second h a l f of the seventeenth century and the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of i t s a g r i c u l t u r a l economy from a p e a s a n t - s u b s i s t e n c e l e v e l t o m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d p r o d u c t i o n . Although the p a r t i c u l a r focus of the t h e s i s i s the emergence of r u r a l i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n i n West Goscote and a g r i c u l t u r a l c o m m e r c i a l i z a t i o n i n Framland (both of v/hich are hundreds i n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e ) , i t was necessary to p l a c e the L e i c e s t e r - s h i r e e x p e r i e n c e both w i t h i n a broader n a t i o n a l context and i n a h i s t o r i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e . The years f o l l o w i n g 1660 were marked by the a c c e l e r a t e d progress of a g r i c u l t u r a l m o d e r n i z a t i o n on the n a t i o n a l , county and l o c a l l e v e l . An important by-product of t h i s a g r i c u l t u r a l m o d e r n i z a t i o n was the c r e a t i o n not o n l y of food s u r p l u s e s but a l s o of r u r a l underemployment as the land became c o n c e n t r a t e d i n t o a r e l a t i v e l y s m a l l number of l a r g e - s c a l e p r o d u c t i v e u n i t s . As labour was f r e e d from a g r i c u l t u r e i t c o u l d be engaged i n i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y . In our examination of West Goscote and Framland i t was found t h a t as the s o i l type was not c o n s i s t e n t w i t h i n each h u n d r e d i t was n e c e s s a r y t o d i s t i n g u i s h s u b - r e g i o n s : t h e S o a r r i v e r v a l l e y , and t h e C o a l Measure s and Charnwood F o r e s t i n West G o s c o t e ; t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r , t h e Wreak v a l l e y and t h e E a s t e r n U p l a n d s , and N o r t h - e a s t F r a m l a n d i n F r a m l a n d . By u s i n g t h e P r o b a t e I n v e n t o r i e s f o r t h e 1660 - 80 p e r i o d ( s t o r e d i n t h e L e i c e s t e r s h i r e C o u n t y R e c o r d O f f i c e ) t o r e c o n s t r u c t t h e s o c i o - e c o n o m i c p r o f i l e s f o r the a v e r a g e v i l l a g e s i n each o f t h e s e s u b - r e g i o n s , we c o u l d see t h e i n f l u e n c e o f s o i l s t r u c t u r e i n r e t a r d i n g o r a c c e l e r a t i n g t h e m o d e r n i z a t i o n o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l a g r a r i a n e c o n o m i e s . The i n a b i l i t y o f t h e p e a s a n t s o c i e t y i n t h e S o a r v a l l e y t o t r a n s - f o r m i t s e l f f r o m p e a s a n t - s u b s i s t e n c e f a r m i n g t o m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d p r o d u c t i o n r e s u l t e d i n t h e emergence o f endemic underemployment and d e s p e r a t e p o v e r t y . The e x i s t e n c e o f cheap l a b o u r i n t h e Soar v a l l e y a t t r a c t e d m e r c h a n t c a p i t a l i s t who e s t a b l i s h e d t h e f ramework k n i t t i n g i n d u s t r y i n t h e o v e r - p o p u l a t e d , p o v e r t y - s t r i c k e n v i l l a g e s . TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 I THE BROAD NATIONAL CONTEXT: SOCIO-ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION IN ENGLAND, 1650 - 1750 4 I I AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF LEICESTERSHIRE OVER 4 CENTURIES 30 I I I THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH PROMOTED SOCIO-ECONOMIC DIFFERENTIATION: THE EMERGENCE OF AGRICULTURAL COMMERCIALIZATION IN FRAMLAND AND RURAL INDUSTRIALIZATION IN WEST GOSCOTE, 1660 - 80 60 SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . 84 S T A T I S T I C A L APPENDICES 89 BIBLIOGRAPHY 97 1 INTRODUCTION The d i s s o l u t i o n of the peasant subsistence economy and i t s replacement by a market economy for a g r i c u l t u r a l pro- ducts v/as an i n i t i a l pre-condition for economic moderniza- t i o n . In England, i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n was preceded by the modernization of a g r i c u l t u r a l production. In the f i r s t chapter we v / i l l examine the technical and i n s t i t u t i o n a l changes i n English a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y which occurred i n the 1650 - 1750 period, permitting the redeployment of resources into commerce and industry. This study of eco- nomic modernization within the national economy w i l l enable us to see the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of Leicestershire within a broad h i s t o r i c a l perspective. In order to see the interconnexion between the commer- c i a l i z a t i o n of agriculture and the emergence of r u r a l i n - dustry our second chapter w i l l study the transformation of Leicestershire from a county of peasant farmers to a county i n which almost 90% of the land was worked by c a p i t a l i s t tenant farmers. A g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y was f i r s t modernized i n those areas whose s o i l was unsuitable for subsistence farming. A c r u c i a l by-product of a g r i c u l t u r a l moderniza- t i o n was the creation of a large body of dispossessed family 2 farmers who were forced out of the grazing v i l l a g e s i n eastern Leices t e r s h i r e . Many of these dispossessed peasants migrated to the open-field v i l l a g e s of the Soar v a l l e y where i n s t i t u t i o n a l circumstances had enabled a large class of cottager-labourers to remain on the land. The combined e f f e c t of these two processes was the emergence of r e l a t i v e overpopulation and desperate poverty among the class of indigent cottager-labourers. The existence of p l e n t i f u l cheap labour attracted merchant c a p i t a l i s t s who established the framework k n i t t i n g industry i n the overpopulated, poverty-stricken v i l l a g e s . Rural i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n emerged i n response to the breakdown of the peasant society i n the Soar v a l l e y . The commercialization of agriculture i n eastern Leicestershire, by i n t e n s i f y i n g the pressures within the backwards peasant society of the Soar v a l l e y , played an i n t e g r a l role i n f a c i l i t a t i n g the emergence of r u r a l industry. The framework k n i t t i n g industry was established i n r u r a l L eicestershire i n the second h a l f of the seventeenth icentury. In the t h i r d chapter we w i l l examine the emergence of d i f f e r e n t i a t e d forms of socio-economic organization and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , of i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y , i n the neighbouring hundreds of Framland and West Goscote. As the s o i l type 3 within each hundred was not consistent, i t was necessary to d i s t i n g u i s h sub-regions: the Vale of Belvoir, the Wreak v a l l e y and the Eastern Uplands, and North-East Framland i n Fraraland; the Soar v a l l e y , and the Coal Measures and Charn- wood Forest i n West Goscote. By creating average parishes for each of these f i v e areas, we can see t h e i r socio-eco- nomic p r o f i l e s i n r e l a t i o n to t h e i r d i s s i m i l a r progress towards a g r i c u l t u r a l modernization. In t h i s way the a g r i - c u l t u r a l o r i g i n s of industry i n Leicestershire w i l l be seen i n the context of peculiar circumstances. In b r i e f then, the thesis moves from a focus on national, long-term h i s t o r i c a l patterns to a consideration of the p a r t i c u l a r problems i n Leicestershire, and w i l l attempt to show the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p i n that county, between a g r i - c u l t u r a l change and the beginnings of industry. 4 CHAPTER I THE BROAD NATIONAL CONTEXT: THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION OF ENGLAND, 1650 - 1750 . From t h e m i d - s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y t o t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n i n t h e 1 7 8 0 ' s t h e s t r u c t u r e o f E n g l i s h s o c i e t y was b e i n g s i g n i f i c a n t l y a l t e r e d . The m o d e r n i z a t i o n o f t h e a g r i c u l t u r a l and c o m m e r c i a l s e c t o r s o f t h e economy t h a t b e g a n i n t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y h a d opened t h e way f o r t h e grov/ th o f i n d u s t r i a l e n t e r p r i s e s . The t r a n s i t i o n f r o m an a g r a r i a n t o an i n d u s t r i a l economy was so i n o r d i n a t e l y complex t h a t r a t h e r t h a n o b s e r v i n g i t s movements i n m i n u t e d e t a i l one must be s a t i s f i e d w i t h an e x p l a n a t i o n w h i c h p o i n t s o u t m a j o r s t r u c t u r a l c h a n g e s . The g r o w t h o f i n d u s t r y i n a p r e - i n d u s t r i a l e n v i r o n m e n t r e s u l t e d f r o m t h e r e d e p l o y m e n t o f i n v e s t m e n t i n t o n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s . B u t , b e c a u s e p r e - i n d u s t r i a l p o p u l a t i o n s e x - panded i n r e s p o n s e t o i n c r e a s e s i n a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y , t h e g r o w t h o f c a p i t a l p e r head t e n d e d t o be n e u t r a l i z e d . T h e r e f o r e , a s i g n i f i c a n t t r a n s f e r o f income i n t o i n d u s t r y c o u l d o n l y be s u s t a i n e d when an i n c r e a s e i n a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y was a c c o m p a n i e d by a d e c r e a s e o f p o p u l a t i o n p r e s s u r e on f o o d r e s o u r c e s . But t h e a p p e a r a n c e o f t h e s e 5 favourable conditions did not mean that c a p i t a l would immediately flow into the development of modern industry because mass-production was the least remunerative form of investment i n a p r o t o - i n d u s t r i a l economy. Nonetheless, there was a considerable amount of small-scale domestic industry scattered about the countryside of England i n the period p r i o r to the I n d u s t r i a l Revolution. This manufac- turing a c t i v i t y d i f f e r e d from 'modern' industry insofar as i t was technologically simple, powered by human energy, diffused i n small units and engaged a semi-permanent labour force. Substantial c a p i t a l investment i n industry proceeded only a f t e r a l l other outlets had been f i l l e d . The p r e - i n d u s t r i a l economy had been composed of a large number of peasant-subsistence farmers who were unable eithe r to produce an a g r i c u l t u r a l surplus or to purchase i n d u s t r i a l goods, a small non-agricultural population, and a stable demand for luxury goods from a l i m i t e d market of wealthy consumers. By examining the general transformation of the national economy and i t s e f f e c t s on the size and composition of the population we v / i l l see the process which resulted i n the creation of a new form of s o c i a l organiza- tion.. The modern, i n d u s t r i a l economy that emerged i n England was characterized by a small number of wealthy, professional f a r m e r s who were a b l e t o p r o d u c e l a r g e f o o d s u r p l u s e s and p u r c h a s e i n d u s t r i a l p r o d u c t s , a l a r g e i n d u s t r i a l and c o m m e r c i a l p o p u l a t i o n , and m a n u f a c t u r e r s p r o d u c i n g t o s a t i s f y a r i s i n g demand f o r mass-consumer goods f rom e x p a n d i n g mar- k e t s b o t h a t home and a b r o a d . - 1 - S t e a d y p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h f r o m 1500 t o 1650 was com- b i n e d w i t h a r e l a t i v e l y i n e l a s t i c s u p p l y o f f o o d t o cause a v e r y s t e e p r i s e i n t h e p r i c e o f f o o d . A g r i c u l t u r a l p r i c e s r o s e f r o m a ba se o f 100 i n 1450-99 t o 644 f o r t h e decade 1640-49.''" However t h e c h a n g i n g p r i c e o f f o o d was i m p o r t a n t o n l y i n s o f a r as i t d i f f e r e d f r o m w a g e - r a t e s . D u r i n g t h e s e 150 y e a r s wages were a l m o s t t r i p l e d b u t t h e r e a l p u r c h a s i n g power o f t h e s e w a g e - r a t e s f e l l d r a s t i c a l l y . One d a y ' s l a b o u r i n 1650 was w o r t h o n l y 4 0 % o f an e q u a l e f f o r t i n 1500. Added t o . t h i s enormous d e p r e c i a t i o n i n p u r c h a s i n g power was an i n c r e a s e i n t h e p r o p o r t i o n o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n dependent upon wages , e x a c e r b a t e d b y t h e r i s e i n t h e t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n . 1 P . J . Bowden, " A g r i c u l t u r a l P r i c e s , Farm P r o f i t s , and R e n t s " i n J . T h i r s k , e d . , The A g r a r i a n H i s t o r y o f E n g l a n d and W a l e s 1500 - 1640, i n H . P . R . F i n b e r g , e d . , The A g r a r i a n H i s t o r y o f E n g l a n d and W a l e s , V o l . I V , (Cambr idge , 1 9 6 7 ) , p p . 593-617. H e r e a f t e r t h i s t e x t w i l l be r e f e r r e d t o as T h i r s k , e d . , A g a r i a n H i s t o r y . Furthermore, wage-earners found themselves i n an economy that was unable to supply them steady employment with the r e s u l t that this group experienced extreme hardship, which was p a r t i c u l a r l y intense from the l a t e r sixteenth century u n t i l the Restoration. Famine was a recurrent phenomenon since the production of regular crops was i n h i b i t e d by the s o i l ' s i n a b i l i t y to sustain regular cropping. Then, through- out the century- following 1650, the pressure of men upon resources was relaxed not only because of a drop i n the rate of population growth but also because a revolution i n farming methods had enabled farmers to consistently pro- duce bumper crops. In t h i s section we w i l l examine the technical and s o c i o l o g i c a l innovations which transformed a c r i s i s - s t r i c k e n , stagnating agrarian economy into an e f f i c i e n t , expanding enterprise. The sixteenth century population boom created a demand for marketable food surpluses which the contemporary farmers were unable to s a t i s f y . In essence there were two obstacles to e.ff i c i e n t a g r i c u l t u r a l production: the land could not bear almost continuous c u l t i v a t i o n without being severely depleted while the p r o l i f e r a t i o n of small, subsistence farmers meant that a considerable, portion of the t o t a l crop was withheld from the market. The s u r v i v a l of subsistence 8 f a r m i n g was p o s i t i v e l y h a r m f u l s i n c e , u n d e r t h i s r e g i m e , t h e l a n d was n e v e r t a k e n o u t o f c u l t i v a t i o n l o n g e n o u g h t o r e - s t o r e i t s f e r t i l i t y . T h u s , a s a t i s f a c t o r y s o l u t i o n t o t h e t e c h n i c a l a s p e c t o f t h i s p r o b l e m was d e p e n d e n t u p o n t h e d i s - p o s s e s s i o n o f t h e c u s t o m a r y p e a s a n t f a r m e r s a n d t h e i r r e - p l a c e m e n t b y l a r g e - s c a l e c a p i t a l i s t f a r m e r s . O n l y l a r g e f a r m e r s h a d e n o u g h r e s o u r c e s t o p r a c t i s e m i x e d f a r m i n g , a l t e r n a t i n g t h e i r l a n d a s p a s t u r e a n d a r a b l e t h e r e b y s a v i n g i t f r o m n i t r o g e n s t a r v a t i o n . The f a i l u r e o f t h e s m a l l s u b s i s t e n c e f a r m e r was a p r e - c o n d i t i o n t o a g r i c u l t u r a l m o d e r n i z a t i o n . P e a s a n t s o c i e t y was d e s t r o y e d a s a r e s u l t o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n boom o f t h e s i x - t e e n t h c e n t u r y . U p o n a s m a l l p e a s a n t ' s d e a t h e i t h e r h i s l a n d was d i v i d e d a m o n g s t h i s c h i l d r e n s o t h a t t h e i r h o l d i n g s b e - came t o o s m a l l t o s u p p o r t t h e m s e l v e s o r t h e l a n d was a l l g i v e n t o t h e e l d e s t s o n i n w h i c h c a s e t h e y o u n g e r c h i l d r e n b e c a m e mere w a g e - e a r n e r s . L a n d l o r d s w e r e r e l u c t a n t t o r e n e w t h e i r s m a l l t e n a n t s ' l e a s e s w h i l e t h e s m a l l t e n a n t was o f t e n u n a b l e t o come up w i t h t h e money t o p a y f o r r e n e w a l o f h i s l e a s e o r c o p y h o l d . P o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h , t h e r e f o r e , b y i n - e v i t a b l y c r e a t i n g a l a r g e number o f p e o p l e who h a d t o b u y t h e i r , f o o d r e i n f o r c e d t h e movement s t o w a r d s c a p i t a l i s t f a r m i n g . 9 L a r g e f a r m e r s , u n w o r r i e d about s u b s i s t e n c e n e e d s , were c o n s i s t e n t l y a b l e t o s u p p l y t h e m a r k e t w i t h p r o d u c e , e a r n i n g l a r g e p r o f i t s . W i t h t h e i r l a r g e p r o d u c t i v e u n i t s c a p i t a l i s t f a r m e r s were a b l e t o i m p r o v e t h e i r l a n d b y s u f f i c i e n t l y r e s t i n g and m a n u r i n g i t w h i c h meant t h a t t h e i r c r o p y i e l d s were i m p r o v e d . S i n c e l a n d l o r d s r e g a r d e d t h e i r e s t a t e s as a s o u r c e o f income i t was i n t h e i r , i n t e r e s t t o have w e a l t h y t e n a n t s who w o u l d , u n l i k e t h e s m a l l s u b s i s t e n c e f a r m e r s , be a b l e t o pay t h e i r r e n t s p u n c t u a l l y . M o r e o v e r , l a n d l o r d s r e c e i v e d a s h a r e o f t h e i r t e n a n t s ' p r o f i t s i n s o f a r as w e a l t h y t e n a n t s p a i d h i g h e r p e r a c r e r e n t s . T h e r e f o r e , t h e i n c r e a s e d demand f o r f o o d c r e a t e d b y a g r o w i n g p o p u l a t i o n a c c e l e r a t e d t h e c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i o n i n t o f e w e r h a n d s . F u r t h e r m o r e , p r o d u c t i v e u n i t s v/ere e n l a r g e d and e n - c l o s e d b y l a n d l o r d s i n o r d e r , t o a t t r a c t w e a l t h y t e n a n t s . The A g r i c u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n was a p e r i o d o f q u a l i t a t i v e improvement s whose m a i n a c h i e v e m e n t s f e l l b e f o r e 1 6 7 3 . ^ The 1 E . K e r r i d g e , The A g r i c u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n , (London, 1 9 6 7 ) , p a s s i m . My a c c o u n t o f a g r i c u l t u r a l change f o l l o w s t h e v/ork o f K e r r i d g e and E . L . J o n e s v/ho b o t h s t r e s s t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t e c h n i c a l i n n o v a t i o n s i n t r a n s f o r m i n g l a n d h o l d i n g a r r a n g e - ments and p r o m o t i n g t h e t remendous i n c r e a s e i n t h e p r o d u c t i v i t y o f E n g l i s h f a r m i n g i n t h e s e v e n t e e n t h . a n d e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s . A mor-e c a u t i o u s , b u t l e s s c o n v i n c i n g argument i s p u t f o r w a r d b y J.D. Chambers and G . E . M i n g a y who n o t o n l y p u s h b a c k t h e d a t e o f t h e ' r e v o l u t i o n ' b u t a l s o m i n i m i z e t h e s t r u c t u r a l changes w h i c h i t w r o u g h t . (See t h e i r combined e f f o r t The A g r i - c u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n 1750 - 1880, (London, 1 9 6 6 ) , p a s s i m . ) . 10 major tec h n i c a l innovations were: the practice of conver- t i b l e husbandry; the use of more e f f e c t i v e crop rotations; the increased use of inorganic f e r t i l i z e r s such as lime, marl and chalk; and the f l o a t i n g of water-meadows. By the middle of the seventeenth century the Great Level of Fen was being drained so that almost 7 5 0 , 0 0 0 a d d i t i o n a l acres of r i c h land were placed i n c u l t i v a t i o n . The introduction of these new practices gave farmers the a b i l i t y to increase t h e i r food production. The long i n f l a t i o n of food prices slowed down i n the years 1 6 3 0 - 6 0 , and, then, for the century a f t e r 1 6 6 0 the upwards movement, for a l l intents and purposes, stopped as the price of a composite unit of consumables fluctuated around 6 5 0 ( 1 4 5 0 - 9 9 being 1 0 0 ) . 1 A century of r e l a t i v e l y constant prices enabled wage-earners to regain some of the purchasing power they had l o s t during the price r i s e of the sixteenth century. By 1 7 5 0 the purchasing power of a b u i l d i n g craftsman's wages had increased 5 0 % over the 1 6 6 0 value of his labour. However, because the proto- i n d u s t r i a l economy did not require enough non-agricultural labour to erase the pervasive under-employment that depressed 1 Brown, E.H.P. and Hopkins, S.V., "Seven Centuries of the Prices of Consumables Compared with Builders' Wage-rates", i n Carus-Wilson, E.M., ed., Essays i n Economic History, Vol. 2 , (London, 1 9 6 2 ) , pp. 1 9 4 - 5 . 2 Brown and Hopkins, Ibid., p. 1 9 5 . 11 wages, the mid-eighteenth century purchasing power of a day's labour was s t i l l only 60% of what i t had been i n 1500. The c r u c i a l t echnical innovation was the practice of convertible husbandry. This type of farming "married the livestock to the s o i l and extracted the greatest possible cereal and animal produce from the farm."^ Farmers found that, by using fodder crops (legumes such as clover, sanfoin, ryegrass and turnips), they received a three-fold b e n e f i t : •(1) Because of the nitrogen-fixing q u a l i t i e s of the legumes the land was more f e r t i l e , giving higher crop y i e l d s . (2) The farmers had a larger amount of fodder to feed and improve t h e i r animals while being able to keep more of them over the winter. (3) These animals produced extra dung for increased manuring and f e r t i l i z a t i o n . The use of legumes distinguished convertible husbandry from mixed farming. By feeding nitrogen into the s o i l , farmers avoided having to l e t t h e i r land lay fallow to slowly regain i t s 'heart' . They v/ere able to c u l t i v a t e t h e i r land almost continuously without depleting i t s f e r t i l i t y with the r e s u l t that a s i g n i f i c a n t l y larger portion of the country's arable area v/as available to feed the population. 'Convertible husbandry was p a r t i c u l a r l y w ell suited to the l i g h t s o i l s of southern and eastern England which had 1 Kerridge, A g r i c u l t u r a l Revolution, p. 202. 12 previously been worn out by permanent cropping. The use of nitrogen-fixing legumes remedied t h i s deficiency with the r e s u l t that, from the mid-seventeenth century, farmers began to produce cereal surpluses and England became an exporter of grain. During the gentle subsidence of food prices a f t e r 1660 " l i g h t land farmers found that by innovating they could p r o f i t a b l y expand t h e i r output. By putting a bigger volume of produce on the market, even at reduced prices, they could at least maintain t h e i r income." The f i r s t to f e e l the squeeze of declining p r o f i t s were, the cereal farmers on the clay s o i l s of the midlands. Prior to the introduction of convertible husbandry the midlands had been the granary of the country, but because the clay s o i l s were unsuitable for growing legumes they received only marginal benefits from the revolution i n a g r i c u l t u r a l tech- niques. In addition the heavy clay land was more d i f f i c u l t to work than the free-draining, l i g h t s o i l s so that production costs were higher for the farmers i n the midlands. Thus the growth of large-scale cereal surpluses from the south and east 1placed unbearable pressure on those midland farmers who 1 E.L. Jones, "Agriculture and Economic Growth i n England 1660 - 1750: A g r i c u l t u r a l Change", i n Jones, ed., Agriculture and Economic Growth i n England 1650 - 1815, (London, 1967), pp. 162 - 8. 13 t r i e d t o compete i n the g r a i n market. The c l a y s o i l s of the midlands, however, were most s u i t - a b l e f o r d a i r y farming and the p r o d u c t i o n of meat, h i d e s and wool. But l i v e s t o c k farming and g r a z i n g r e q u i r e d l a r g e c a p i t a l e x p e n d i t u r e s which many farmers d i d not possess. These s m a l l men were, t h e r e f o r e , unable to r e a l l o c a t e t h e i r r e s o u r c e s i n t o these more p r o f i t a b l e a c t i v i t i e s . The com- b i n a t i o n o f the rse f a c t o r s i n t e n s i f i e d the p r e s s u r e s on the peasant farmers of the midlands and r e s u l t e d i n the r a p i d t u r n - o v e r of tenants and the s e l l i n g - o u t of owner-occupiers. The b e n e f i c i a r i e s of t h i s s i t u a t i o n were those landowners who possessed e x t r a c a p i t a l t o i n v e s t i n the l a n d market, w i t h the r e s u l t t h a t p r o f e s s i o n a l , tenant farming became more common as the s m a l l s u b s i s t e n c e farmers were b e i n g d r i v e n o f f the l a n d . The r e l o c a t i o n of a r a b l e farming, which r e s u l t e d from the i n t r o d u c t i o n of c o n v e r t i b l e husbandry, had f o r c e d farmers to s u i t t h e i r land's s o i l type w i t h a complementary form o f a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y . When farmers on the l i g h t s o i l s moved away from the p a s t u r e farming t h a t had been en- f o r c e d by t h e i r land's i n a b i l i t y to s u s t a i n permanent cro p p i n g they moved i n t o c e r e a l farming. Farmers on the 14 h e a v i e r s o i l s v/ho had b e e n t h e p r i n c i p a l g r a i n p r o d u c e r s were f o r c e d i n t o p a s t u r e f a r m i n g . T h i s w h o l e s a l e r e s t r u c - t u r i n g o f t h e n a t i o n a l d i v i s i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l l a b o u r was a l o n g , d r a w n - o u t p r o c e s s t h a t began e a r l y i n t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y , g a i n e d momentum a f t e r 1660, b u t was s t i l l no t com- p l e t e d by t h e m i d d l e o f t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y . There were a number o f i m p o r t a n t r e a s o n s f o r t h e p r o t r a c t e d c h a r a c t e r o f t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n : (1) S o i l t y p e s were n o t e v e r y w h e r e e i t h e r h e a v y o r l i g h t , many p l a c e s had s o i l o f a m i x e d t e x t u r e and q u a l i t y . (2) The t r a n s m i s s i o n o f t h e nev/ t e c h n i q u e s was s l o w . They moved by word o f mouth a n d , a t f i r s t , were p r a c t i s e d on a t r i a l and e r r o r b a s i s . (3) I n t h e m i d - s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h e r e were s t i l l a g r e a t many p e a s a n t - s u b s i s t e n c e f a r m e r s v/ho v/ere r e l u c t a n t t o change t h e i r h a b i t s and t h i s t r a d i - t i o n a l f rame o f m i n d was o n l y g r a d u a l l y r e p l a c e d by a more modern one . (4) P e a s a n t f a r m e r s v/ere n o t s u m m a r i l y d i s p o s s e s s e d b u t were o f t e n a b l e t o p e r s i s t f o r a c o n s i d e r a b l e t i m e i n t h e f a c e o f a d v e r s i t y , and t h i s p e r s i s t e n c h e l d b a c k t h e g r o w t h o f t h e m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d , c a p i t a l i s t f a r m e r s v/ho were w i l l i n g t o i n n o v a t e . (5) R e g i o n a l economic demand m i g h t be i n c o n f l i c t v / i t h t h e n a t i o n a l p a t t e r n t h u s m i t i g a t i n g t h e i m p a c t o f t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . (6) F o r some f a r m e r s t h e s h o r t - t e r m p r i c e s t r u c t u r e m i g h t be u n f a v o u r a b l e t o a s w i t c h - o v e r i n t h e i r mode o f f a r m i n g . These q u a l i f i c a t i o n s can o n l y e x p l a i n t h e r e l a t i v e s l o w n e s s o f t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , b u t t h e y cannot nega te i t s e x i s t e n c e . 15 Therefore, while the r e s t r a i n t s were l o c a l l i m i t i n g factors, the transformation was a pervasive national phenomenon. Those i n e f f i c i e n t farmers who did not keep up with the changing requirements f o r success were dispossessed. England became a country of: "mainly large landlords, c u l t i v a t e d by tenant farmers working the land with hired labourers. This structure was p a r t i a l l y hidden by an undergrowth of economically marginal cottager-labourers, or other small independents and semi-independents, but t h i s should not obscure the fundamental transformation which had already taken place. By 1790 landlords owned perhaps three-quarters of the c u l t i v a t e d land, occupying freeholders perhaps f i f t e e n to twenty per cent and a 'peasantry' i n the usual sense no longer existed." The modernization of the a g r i c u l t u r a l economy, then, resulted i n the growth of a g r i c u l t u r a l productivity, i n the enlarge- ment of the productive units, and i n the reduction of the number of farmers. The creation and maintenance of an a g r i c u l t u r a l surplus throughout the 1660 - 1780 period freed labour and investment f o r redeployment into non-agricultural a c i t i v i t i e s . - 2 - The modernization of English industry and commerce be- 1, E;J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire, (London, 1968), p. 78. The occupying freeholders that Hobsbawm mentions were not a l l small farmers, many of them held as much as f i v e times the acreage of the smaller freeholders. Thus, the amount of land c u l t i v a t e d i n large units might have been as high as 85% of the t o t a l . 16 g a n i n t h e 1620's i n r e s p o n s e t o t h e c o l l a p s e o f i t s t r a - d i t i o n a l m a r k e t s . Heavy w o o l l e n b r o a d c l o t h s h a d b e e n t h e s t a p l e o f a s i n g l e - p r o d u c t e x p o r t economy, e n t i r e l y a t t h e m e r c y o f f o r e i g n demand. The c l o t h s h a d b e e n s o l d t o e a s t e r n and c e n t r a l E u r o p e b y t h e M e r c h a n t A d v e n t u r e r s , a L o n d o n - b a s e d m o n o p o l y w h i c h h a d c o n t r o l l e d c l o t h e x p o r t s b y r i g h t o f r o y a l p a t e n t s . The t r a d i n g company h a d r e g u l a t e d p r o d u c - t i o n t o e n s u r e i t s e l f h i g h p e r u n i t p r o f i t s . E n g l i s h c l o t h e x p o r t s h a d c e a s e d t o grow i n volume a f t e r 1550. T h i s c o n - s e r v a t i v e o r g a n i z a t i o n d e s i r e d o n l y t o m a i n t a i n i t s s h a r e o f t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l m a r k e t . D u r i n g t h e 1620's t h e T h i r t y - Y e a r s ' War w r a c k e d c e n t r a l E u r o p e c a u s i n g E n g l i s h b r o a d c l o t h e x p o r t s t o d e c l i n e p r e c i p i t o u s l y . E v e n more i m p o r t a n t , how- e v e r , was t h e g r o w t h o f a d o m e s t i c w o o l l e n i n d u s t r y i n Germany whose i n e x p e n s i v e p r o d u c t s were r e d u c i n g E n g l i s h s a l e s . I n 1606 t h e t r a d i t i o n a l b r o a d c l o t h s h a d a c c o u n t e d f o r 7 2 % o f London's e x p o r t s . By 1640 t h e i r s h a r e h a d f a l l e n t o 35%. F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e q u a l i t y o f t h e E n g l i s h w o o l s u p p l y was c h a n g i n g due t o t h e i n c r e a s i n g l y c a r e f u l p a s t u r i n g o f s h e e p f l o c k s w h i c h c a u s e d t h e s e s h e e p t o b e a r as. much as s e v e n t i m e s more w o o l t h a n r o u g h - p a s t u r e d s h e e p . However, t h e s e a b u n d a n t s u p p l i e s were c o a r s e and h a d a l o n g 1 B.E. S u p p l e , C o m m e r c i a l C r i s i s and Change i n E n g l a n d 1600 - 42, (Cambridge, 1959), p. 137. 17 s t a p l e s o t h a t t h e y were u n s u i t a b l e f o r u s e i n t h e p r o - d u c t i o n o f h e a v y w o o l l e n b r o a d c l o t h s . " 1 ' W o o l l e n m a n u f a c t u r e r s r e s p o n d e d t o t h i s c r i s i s b y p r o - d u c i n g a new t y p e o f c l o t h t o be s o l d t o M e d i t e r r a n e a n m a r k e t s . By 1640 " t h e new d r a p e r i e s h a d p r o f o u n d l y a l t e r e d t h e n a t u r e o f t h e E n g l i s h t e x t i l e i n d u s t r y and t h e g e o - 2 g r a p h i c a l p a t t e r n o f E n g l i s h t r a d e . " The t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f t h e w o o l l e n - ' i n d u s t r y h a d i m p o r t a n t r e p e r c u s s i o n s i n t h e t r a d i t i o n a l s h e e p c o u n t i e s s u c h as L e i c e s t e r s h i r e s i n c e i t gave f a r m e r s an i n c e n t i v e t o f o r e g o a r a b l e f a r m i n g a t j u s t t h e t i m e when t h e a g r i c u l t u r a l r e v o l u t i o n was c r e a t i n g un- f a v o u r a b l e c i r c u m s t a n c e s f o r them i n t h e g r a i n m a r k e t . The i n t r o d u c t i o n o f t h e new d r a p e r i e s was o f f u n d a - m e n t a l i m p o r t a n c e b e c a u s e i t p o s s e s s e d many o f t h e c h a r - a c t e r i s t i c s o f modern i n d u s t r i a l e n t e r p r i s e . The l i g h t f a b r i c s were p r o d u c e d i n many v a r i e t i e s and s o l d t o c o n - sumers who demanded f a s h i o n a b l e c l o t h i n g . T h i s p a t t e r n o f c o n s u m p t i o n was h i g h l y f a v o u r a b l e t o a r a p i d i n c r e a s e i n p u r c h a s e s b e c a u s e t h e new d r a p e r i e s were s o l d f o r c o n - s i d e r a b l y l e s s t h a n t h e t r a d i t i o n a l w o o l l e n s . Mass p r o - 1 P . J . Bowden, The Wool T r a d e i n T u d o r and S t u a r t E n g l a n d , (London, 1962), pp. 25 - 40. 2 S u p p l e , I b i d . , p. 159. 18 d u c t i o n r e s p o n s i v e t o c h a n g i n g t a s t e s was a b l e t o p r o c e e d b e c a u s e t h e s e c o l o u r f u l , c h e a p t e x t i l e s were s u c h a p o p u l a r commodity t h a t low q u a l i t y g oods were e a g e r l y p u r c h a s e d . By s e l l i n g a l a r g e volume o f i n e x p e n s i v e f a b r i c s , t h e m a n u f a c t u r e r s o f t h e new d r a p e r i e s e x p a n d e d o u t p u t and m a i n t a i n e d p r o f i t s . The low p r o d u c t i o n c o s t s o f t h e new d r a p e r i e s p r o m o t e d t h e i n d e p e n d e n c e o f s m a l l - s c a l e m a n u f a c t u r e r s . U n l i k e t h e t r a d i t i o n a l b r o a d c l o t h m a n u f a c t u r e r s whose s t a n d a r d i z e d p r o d u c t i o n h a d b e e n e n f o r c e d b y t h e e x p o r t i n g m o n o p o l y o f t h e M e r c h a n t A d v e n t u r e r s and t h e r e g u l a t i o n s o f t h e g u i l d s , t h e s e i n d e p e n d e n t p r o d u c e r s were a b l e t o r e s p o n d t o c h a n g i n g f a s h i o n s . The e x p a n d i n g demand f o r l i g h t t e x t i l e s e n a b l e d t h e i n d e p e n d e n t p r o d u c e r s t o r e a l i z e a q u i c k t u r n o v e r o f t h e i r c a p i t a l and, t h u s , t o a v o i d b e c o m i n g s u b o r d i n a t e d t o t h e m e r c h a n t - f i n a n c i e r s . Between 1600 a n d 1640 p r o d u c t i o n o f t h e new d r a p e r i e s i n c r e a s e d f i v e f o l d s o t h a t b y 1640 t h e y h a d drawn e v e n w i t h t h e o l d d r a p e r i e s i n e x p o r t v a l u e . However, i n 1640, t h e E n g l i s h economy was s t i l l de- 1 F. J . F i s h e r , "London's E x p o r t T r a d e i n t h e E a r l y S e v e n - t e e n t h C e n t u r y " , i n W.E. M i n c h i n t o n , ed., The Growth o f E n g l i s h O v e r s e a s T r a d e i n t h e S e v e n t e e n t h and E i g h t e e n t h C e n t u r i e s , (London, 1969), p. 6S. 19 p e n d e n t on w o o l f o r 80% o f i t s e x p o r t s . The p r o s p e c t s f o r d i v e r s i f y i n g t h e i r e x p o r t s t o Europe were s l i g h t so l o n g as t h e D u t c h c o n t r o l l e d t h e E u r o p e a n c a r r y i n g t r a d e . The E n g l i s h r e s p o n d e d t o t h e s e l i m i t a t i o n s b y d e v e l o p i n g a c o l o n i a l e m p i r e and s u b o r d i n a t i n g i t s economy t o t h e w e l f a r e o f t h e home m a r k e t . "The most c a r e f u l a n a l y s t s have c o n - c l u d e d t h a t - w i t h o u t i t s ( i . e . t h e N a v i g a t i o n Code) p r o t e c t i o n and s t i m u l u s , t h e E n g l i s h t r a d e and s h i p p i n g w o u l d have f o u n d i t d i f f i c u l t t o d e v e l o p a g a i n s t t h e g r e a t e r s k i l l , b e t t e r t e c h n o l o g y and e n t r e n c h e d i n t e r e s t s o f t h e D u t c h . " The' N a v i g a t i o n A c t s o f 1651 and 1660 c r e a t e d a c l o s e d c o m m e r c i a l s y s t e m t h e r e b y e n a b l i n g E n g l i s h m e r c h a n t s t o r e c e i v e w i n d f a l l p r o f i t s f r o m t h e r e - s a l e o f c o l o n i a l goods i n E u r o p e . The c o l o n i a l p r o d u c e , m a i n l y b u l k y i t e m s s u c h as t o b a c c o , s u g a r and f i s h , had t o be t r a n s p o r t e d i n E n g l i s h v e s s e l s so t h a t t h e m e r c h a n t m a r i n e was i n s u r e d p r e f e r e n t i a l t r e a t m e n t . The i n f l u x o f w e a l t h f r o m t h e c o l o n i e s f a c i l i - t a t e d t h e m o d e r n i z a t i o n o f t h e E n g l i s h c o m m e r c i a l i n f r a - s t r u c t u r e . B a n k i n g , m e r c h a n d i s i n g and i n l a n d t r a n s p o r t a - t i o n were made more e f f i c i e n t so t h a t a g r e a t e r degree o f r e g u l a r i t y and c e r t a i n t y became p o s s i b l e . 1 C. W i l s o n , E n g l a n d ' s A p p r e n t i c e s h i p 1603 - 1763, (London, 1 9 6 5 ) , p . 184. 20 The c o l o n i a l s y s t e m f o s t e r e d g r o w t h i n E n g l i s h i n - d u s t r y b y p r o t e c t i n g an e x p a n d i n g m a r k e t f o r i t s m a nufac- t u r e d g o o d s . N o r t h A m e r i c a n c o l o n i s t s and West I n d i a n s l a v e s were b o t h c l o t h e d i n E n g l i s h l i g h t w o o l l e n s . The M a n c h e s t e r c o t t o n i n d u s t r y grew i n r e s p o n s e t o demands f r o m t h e t r o p i c s f o r l i g h t e r c l o t h i n g . I n d e e d , t h e raw m a t e r i a l s f o r t h e p r o d u c t i o n goods were i m p o r t e d f r o m t h e v e r y same p l a c e s w h i c h b o u g h t t h e m a n u f a c t u r e d c l o t h . S h i p b u i l d i n g i n L i v e r p o o l r e c e i v e d an enormous b o o s t as a r e s u l t o f t h e c i t y m e r c h a n t s ' i n v o l v e m e n t i n t h e A t l a n t i c t r a d e . F o r t h e B i r m i n g h a m h a r d w a r e i n d u s t r y t h e c o l o n i a l s y s t e m was an i n v a l u a b l e s t i m u l u s w h i c h p r o m o t e d i t s e a r l y g r o w t h i n t h e l a t e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y and s u s t a i n e d i t t h r o u g h o u t t h e e i g h t e e n t h century."'' "The c o l o n i e s were t h e d e s t i n a t i o n s o f g r e a t e x p o r t s o f i r o n w a r e s and l a t e r o f c o t t o n s w h i c h p l a y e d a v i t a l p a r t i n t h e b u i l d i n g o f t h e s e i n d u s t r i e s t o t h e p o i n t where t e c h n i c a l change t r a n s f o r m e d t h e momentum 2 o f g r o w t h . " 1 W.H.B. C o u r t , The R i s e o f t h e M i d l a n d I n d u s t r i e s , ( O x f o r d , 1953), p a s s i m . The i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e E n g l i s h c o l o n i e s i n t h e A m e r i c a s i s a l s o d e a l t w i t h by E r i c W i l l i a m s ( C a p i t a l i s m a n d S l a v e r y , (New Y o r k , 1965), pp. 51 - 8 4 . ) . 2 R. -Davis, The R i s e o f t h e E n g l i s h S h i p p i n g I n d u s t r y , (London, 1962), p. 393. 21 A stagnating economy had been replaced by a dynamic one that was amenable to change and growth. "The trans- formation was so rapid, that by the 1690's England seemed a c t u a l l y on the verge of i n d u s t r i a l revolution.... Moreover, t h i s transformation i n the world p o s i t i o n of the B r i t i s h economy was not due merely to spontaneous economic develop- ments w i t h i n ' i t , but p l a i n l y to a major revolution i n policy, which henceforth subordinated a l l other ends to an aggresive IF mercantilism, to the accumulation of c a p i t a l and profit.""'" However, the industry that did e x i s t during the proto-in- d u s t r i a l period was t r a n s i t i o n a l insofar as i t sold i t s products to a mass market but was organized on a domestic, handicraft basis. English goods were sold extensively rather than in t e n s i v e l y . As long as the A t l a n t i c trade was highly p r o f i t a b l e , entrepreneurs saw no reason to invest i n manufacturing and t h i s bias was re-inforced by the r e l a t i v e ease of disinvestment which gave trade i t s advantage over industry as a magnet fo r funds u n t i l the development of a 2 market for industrxal shares. It was not u n t i l the decline of the mercantile economy i n the l a t e r eighteenth century 1 E.J. Hobsbawm, "The Seventeenth Century i n the Develop- ment of Capitalism", Science and. Society, XXIV/2, p. 110. 2 R. Grassby, "English Merchant Capitalism", Past and Pre- sent, 46, (1970), p. 106. 22 t h a t c a p i t a l i n v e s t m e n t i n i n d u s t r y v/as s u f f i c i e n t t o r e v o l u t i o n i z e p r o d u c t i o n . - 3 - The p o p u l a t i o n o f E n g l a n d and W a les was a b o u t 2.8 m i l l i o n i n 1500. By 1800 i t was 9.1 m i l l i o n . However, t h i s g r o w t h was n o t c o n t i n u o u s b u t was d i v i d e d i n t o t h r e e d i s - t i n c t p e r i o d s whose b r o a d o u t l i n e s ^ were as f o l l o w s : (1) From'1500 t o 1650 t h e p o p u l a t i o n grew f r o m 2.8 m i l l i o n t o 5.3 m i l l i o n ; a grov/th r a t e o f .47% p e r annum. (2) From 1650 t o 1750 t h e p o p u l a t i o n grew f r o m 5.3 t o 6.3 m i l l i o n ; a g r o w t h r a t e o f .18% p e r annum. (3) From t h e m i d d l e o f t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y t o 1800 t h e p o p u l a t i o n grew f r o m 6.3 m i l l i o n t o a b o u t 9.1 m i l l i o n ; a r a t e o f g r o w t h o f .72% p e r annum. 1 B e f o r e t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h e r e a r e no a c c u r a t e f i g u r e s on t h e a c t u a l s i z e o f t h e E n g l i s h p o p u l a t i o n so t h a t t h e s u g - g e s t e d numbers a r e o n l y r o u g h e s t i m a t e s . The f i g u r e o f 2.8 m i l l i o n f o r 1500 i s o n l y t h e b e s t a p p r o x i m a t i o n p o s s i b l e u n d e r s u c h c i r c u m s t a n c e s (G.S.L. T u c k e r , " E n g l i s h P r e - - i n d u s t r i a l P o p u l a t i o n T r e n d s " , E c o n o m i c H i s t o r y Review, 2nd S e r . , X V l / 2 , (1963), pp. 2 0 5 - 1 8 ) . The p o p u l a t i o n grew r a p i d l y t h r o u g h o u t t h e s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y and i n t o t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y b u t t h i s r a p i d p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h h a l t e d a b o u t 1650 (E.A. W r i g l e y , P o p u l a t i o n and H i s t o r y , (London, 1969), p. 78.) As t h e r e a r e no f i g u r e s f o r 1650 t h e b e s t s o u r c e f o r o u r a p p r o x i m a t i o n o f t h e 1650 p o p u l a t i o n must be G r e g o r y K i n g ' s e s t i m a t e o f 5.5 m i l l i o n i n 1688 ( q u o t e d i n M.D. G e orge, E n g l a n d i n T r a n s i t i o n , (Harmondsv/orth, 1931), p. 1 1 . ) . Under t h e r e g i m e o f s l o w g r o w t h , t h e p o p u l a t i o n was o n l y 6.3 m i l l i o n i n 1750. T h i s f i g u r e h a s b e e n s u g g e s t e d b y F a r r , Brov/nlee and G r i f f i t h ( q u o t e d i n J.D. Chambers, The V a l e o f T r e n t , (London, 1957), p. 2 3 . ) . The f i g u r e o f 9.1 m i l l i o n f o r 1801 was a l s o s u g g e s t e d b y F a r r , B r o w n l e e and G r i f f i t h ( I b i d . ) . 23 There are a number of reasons why the population's growth rate was s i g n i f i c a n t l y slower during the second period that i t was either before 1650 or a f t e r 1750: (1) Large c i t i e s were so notoriously unhealthy that they required continuous infusions of r u r a l blood merely to maintain t h e i r s i z e . During the century from 1650 to 1750 there was an increase i n the number, size and importance of urban centers i n England. In 1650, 350,000 people l i v e d i n London, while i n 1750 i t s population had grown to 700,000 or 11% of England's t o t a l population. Maintaining London's growth had required a net immigration of eight* to ten thousand a year. "Its continued growth acted as a brake upon the growth of the English population. " Moreover, the growth of smaller urban centers such as Liverpool, B r i s t o l .and Nottingham s i m i l a r l y helped to r e s t r a i n popu- l a t i o n increase, though on a smaller scale than London. Thus, the creation, continued existence and expansion of substantial urban centers was accomplished by the absorption of some of the surplus r u r a l population. (2) In the late seventeenth century Gregory King e s t i - mated that at least h a l f of the households i n England had incomes that were inadequate by con- temporary standards. The commercialization of agriculture that proceeded throughout the 1650- 1750 period resulted i n the disappearance of peasant-subsistence farming and the concomitant expansion of a class of wage-earning labourers. Unlike the peasant-farmer who had a measure of security i n h i s land, the wage-earner's only asset was his labour for which there was often l i t t l e demand. Throughout the economy there was endemic underemployment, t h i s phenomenon was p a r t i c u l a r l y acute among farm labourers. U n t i l the I n d u s t r i a l Revolution manufacturing occupied such a small .... part of the t o t a l labour force that redundant farm 1 Wrigley, Population and History, pp. 95-8, 148-50. 24 labour could not be transferred into i n d u s t r i a l employments. Therefore, a substantial section of the community did not enjoy a steady, secure income with which to support a family. From the sixteenth centure to 1911 the mean house- hold size was r e l a t i v e l y constant at 4.75.-'- This • meant that when population growth did occur i t was not the household's size but the number of house- holds themselves that were increased. A higher proportion of those people of marital age created households. When the average age at marriage v/as reduced the generations were more cl o s e l y spaced and more households were created. However, be- tween 1650 and 1750 English population growth was being li m i t e d because the p r o t o - i n d u s t r i a l economy did not provide steady, secure employment for the labouring class. Many underemployed labourers were re t i c e n t to marry or to have children, "most of the evidence suggests that poverty was a major cause of family l i m i t a t i o n arid that i t v/as the poor who often r e s t r i c t e d the size of t h e i r f a m i l i e s . " ^ Because people did not marry u n t i l t h e i r new household could be economically viable the age at f i r s t marriage v/as rar e l y under twenty- f i v e , with the average age being twenty-eight. This marriage pattern kept women c h i l d l e s s for a substantial portion of t h e i r f e r t i l e period ( i . e . from the ages eighteen to for t y when conception was po s s i b l e ) . Furthermore, i l l e g i t i m a c y seems to have been r e l a t i v e l y uncommon even though many people never married. A great amount of the community's p o t e n t i a l f e r t i l i t y remained unused. (3) Between the early years of the seventeenth century and the 1770's new s o c i e t i e s were created i n North America and the West Indies by emigrants from 1 T.P.R. Las l e t t , "Size and Structure of the Household i n England Over Three Centuries", Population Studies, XXIIl/2, (1969), pp. 199 - 223. 2 J.T. Krause, "Some Neglected Factors i n the English In- d u s t r i a l Revolution", i n M. Drake, ed., Population i n In- d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n , (London, 1969), p. 107. 25 England who were seeking a better l i f e with land of t h e i r own. Many more Englishmen were transported to the colonies as indentured servants or convicts since t h i s "emigration was i n tune.with the mer- c a n t i l i s t theories of the day which strongly ad- vocated putting the poor to industrious and useful labour and favoured emigration, voluntary or i n - • voluntary, as r e l i e v i n g the poor rates and finding more p r o f i t a b l e occupations for i d l e r s and vagrants abroad."-'- The white population of the colonies was over three m i l l i o n i n the 1770's and i t seems ..plausible that as many as 500,000 people had l e f t England by t h i s time. (4) Another s o c i a l control of population growth was creafed by the almost systematic i n f a n t i c i d e of the foundling hospitals during t h i s period. "The infant death rate i n workhouses i n 14 London parishes i n the eighteenth century was estimated at 88 per cent by a contemporary, Jonas Hanway, who inquired into t h i s matter." Not a l l parts of England, however, had stable or de- c l i n i n g populations i n the 1650-1750 period. Urban centers and manufacturing d i s t r i c t s both experienced increases. People from the countryside i n search of employment were drawn to the prosperous commercial c i t i e s . This move- ment of labour did not cause the national population to grow because the c i t y ' s gain was the countryside's loss as the population was being redeployed away from those economic regions which could not f u l l y employ a l l t h e i r residents. 1 Williams, Ca p i t a 1 i sm and S ]. a ye r v, pp. 9 - 10. 2 Wrigley, Population and History, p. 126. 26 F u r t h e r m o r e , the economies o f t h e c o m m e r c i a l c i t i e s c o u l d not p r o v i d e enough employment f o r a l l t h e i m m i g r a n t s w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t a hugh t r a n s i e n t p o p u l a t i o n f l o u r i s h e d w i t h i n a s o c i a l u n d e r w o r l d . T h i s form o f s o c i a l d i s l o c a t i o n was p a r t i c u l a r l y a c u t e i n London. W i t h i n t h e m a n u f a c t u r i n g d i s t r i c t s the p o p u l a t i o n i n - c r e a s e d s t e a d i l y . T h i s p o p u l a t i o n growth was s u s t a i n e d because i n d u s t r y p r o v i d e d r e l a t i v e l y s t e a d y , y e a r - r o u n d employment. The decay o f a p p r e n t i c e s h i p r e g u l a t i o n s meant t h a t young men e a r n e d f u l l wages and so were a b l e t o marry c o n s i d e r a b l y e a r l i e r t h a n farm l a b o u r e r s . Moreover, women and c h i l d r e n a l s o worked t o s u p p o r t t h e i r h o u s e h o l d , s u p p l e - menting th e man's o f t e n i n a d e q u a t e wages. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , r u d i m e n t a r y m a n u f a c t u r i n g was u s u a l l y a s m a l l - s c a l e o p e r a - t i o n , c o n f i n e d t o a few l o c a l i t i e s , w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t i t was u n a b l e t o a b s o r b th e mass o f t h e redundant farm l a b o u r e r s . The d i s t i n c t p a t t e r n s o f p o p u l a t i o n growth i n a g r i c u l t u r a l and i n d u s t r i a l economies were e x e m p l i f i e d w i t h i n t h e V a l e o f T r e n t a f t e r 1650. Between 1674 and T743 s i x t y - t w o a g r i c u l t u r a l v i l l a g e s i n c r e a s e d 12.7%; then i n . the 1743-64 p e r i o d , 6.4%; and 1764-1801, 38.7%. I n f o r t y i n d u s t r i a l v i l l a g e s i n t h e same time p e r i o d s p o p u l a t i o n i n - 27 c r e a s e d 47.8%; 35 . 9 % and 9 6 . 5 % . 1 W i t h i n t h e r e g i o n a l economy o f t h e V a l e o f T r e n t m i g r a t i o n v/as e x c e p t i o n a l l y h i g h , i m m i g r a n t s f r o m a g r i c u l t u r a l v i l l a g e s seem t o h a v e b e e n a c o n s t a n t s o u r c e o f l a b o u r f o r i n d u s t r i a l i z e d v i l l a g e s , N o t t i n g h a m and e v e n n e a r b y a g r i c u l t u r a l v i l l a g e s . However, i t was uncommon f o r p e o p l e f r o m o u t s i d e t h e n e i g h - b o u r h o o d t o m i g r a t e t o t h e i n d u s t r i a l i z e d v i l l a g e s i n s e a r c h o f work. The e a r l y g r o w t h o f B i r m i n g h a m s u p p o r t s t h e a r g u - ment t h a t w h i l e t h e p o p u l a t i o n was h i g h l y m o b i l e , i t s h o r i z o n s were l i m i t e d . M o s t movement was w i t h i n a s m a l l a r e a . An e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e s e t t l e m e n t c e r t i f i c a t e s o f i m m i g r a n t s t o B i r m i n g h a m i n t h e 1686 - 1726 p e r i o d showed o t h a t o v e r 7 5 % came f r o m t h e i m m e d i a t e a r e a . S i m i l a r l y , t h e g r o w t h o f S h e f f i e l d was f u e l e d b y i m m i g r a t i o n f r o m t h e a d j a c e n t p a r i s h e s as o n l y 2 5% o f t h e i m m i g r a n t s came f r o m o v e r t w e n t y m i l e s away.^ The p r o t o - i n d u s t r i a l economy was, t h e r e f o r e , c h a r a c t - e r i z e d b y s t r u c t u r a l u n deremployment w h i c h was p a r t i c u l a r l y a c u t e w i t h i n t h e a g r i c u l t u r a l s e c t o r . U n l e s s and u n t i l t h e n a t i o n a l economy b r o k e t h r o u g h t o f u l l i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n 1 Chambers, The V a l e o f T r e n t , pp. 19 - 35. 2 C o u r t , M i d l a n d I n d u s t r i e s , p. 50. 3 E . J . B u k a t z s c h , " P l a c e s o f O r i g i n o f a G roup o f I m m i g r a n t s i n t o S h e f f i e l d , 1624 - 1799", E c o n o m i c H i s t o r y Review, 2nd s e r . , I I / 3 , ( 1 9 5 0 ) , pp. 303 - 6. 28 and f u l l employment, any i n c r e a s e i n t h e s i z e o f t h e t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n was n e c e s s a r i l y accompanied by t h e i m m i s e r a t i o n o f r u r a l wage-earners. I n s o f a r as a p a r t o f t h e i r redundant a g r i c u l t u r a l p o p u l a t i o n f o u n d r e g u l a r employment i n i n - d u s t r y , t h e m a n u f a c t u r i n g a r e a s d i f f e r e d from th e f a r m i n g communities. - 4 - Economic c o n d i t i o n s f a v o u r i n g the c r e a t i o n o f s m a l l - s c a l e d o m e s t i c i n d u s t r y were d e v e l o p e d i n t h e l a t e r s even- t e e n t h c e n t u r y . G e n e r a l , n a t i o n - w i d e improvements were v i t a l s i n c e t h e p r o g r e s s o f t h e whole e x e r t e d m o d e r n i z i n g p r e s s u r e s on t h e i n d i v i d u a l p a r t s . F o r example, t h e e x p a n s i o n o f the c o l o n i a l system and t h e A t l a n t i c t r i a n g u l a r t r a d e was o f p r o f o u n d i m p o r t a n c e f o r t h e development of a l a r g e r , more s o p h i s t i c a t e d hardware i n d u s t r y i n t h e Birmingham r e g i o n . The consumer demand from o v e r s e a s p r e s e n t e d a new o p p o r t u n i t y f o r t h e Birmingham i r o n work d i s t r i c t t o i n c r e a s e p r o d u c - t i o n a t the expense o f i t s E n g l i s h r i v a l s , and, by so d o i n g , p r e p a r e d t h a t d i s t r i c t f o r e v e n t u a l c o n t r o l o f t h e home market."'" T h i s c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f i n d u s t r y was accompanied by t h e f a c t t h a t a g r owing number o f i n d u s t r i a l l a b o u r e r s 1 C o u r t , M i d l a n d I n d u s t r i e s , p assim. 29 (many of whom were divorced from the land) had to purchase t h e i r food: a g r i c u l t u r a l production became geared to con- sumer demands. Together with London, the i n d u s t r i a l d i s - t r i c t s were the prime agents of consumer demand for food- s t u f f s ; and t h i s i n turn stimulated the r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of a g r i c u l t u r a l enterprise. This b r i e f example has i l l u s t r a t e d a few important changes i n industry and agriculture r e s u l t i n g from the s h i f t i n g structure of the national economy. Econ- omic expansion, by creating new needs to be f u l f i l l e d , enabled the English economy to e x t r i c a t e i t s e l f from i t s heavy dependence on the wool trade. Improvements i n a g r i c u l t u r a l production, entrepreneurial a b i l i t y , business organization as well as i n transportation and technology a l l combined to hasten the socio-economic modernization of England. 30 CHAPTER I I AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF LEICESTERSHIRE OVER 4 CENTURIES I n t h i s c h a p t e r v/e w i l l examine how h i s t o r i c a l and g e o g r a p h i c a l f o r c e s combined t o t r a n s f o r m t h e t r a d i t i o n a l L e i c e s t e r s h i r e p e a s a n t s o c i e t y i n t o d i v e r s e modern economic s y s t e m s . An e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e p r o c e s s o f m o d e r n i z a t i o n i n r u r a l L e i c e s t e r s h i r e w i l l e n a b l e us t o see t h e o r i g i n s and g r o w t h o f c o m m e r c i a l i z e d a g r i c u l t u r e and r u r a l i n d u s t r i a l - i z a t i o n i n h i s t o r i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e . R u r a l i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n emerged i n r e s p o n s e t o , and as a r e s u l t o f , t h e m o d e r n i z a t i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c - t i o n . I n f a c t , t h e m o d e r n i z a t i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i o n c r e a t e d t h e n e c e s s a r y c o n d i t i o n s f o r t h e deve lopment o f m a n u f a c t u r i n g i n s e v e r a l w a y s : (1) The p o p u l a t i o n ' s f o o d r e q u i r e m e n t s were p r o d u c e d b y a s m a l l number o f s p e c i a l i z e d f a r m e r s . Not o n l y were t h e s e f a r m e r s s p e c i a l i z e d , b u t t h e y were a l s o e f f i c i e n t w h i c h meant t h a t t h e y p r o d u c e d a l a r g e s u r p l u s f o r s a l e . These c a p i t a l i s t f a r - mers e a r n e d t h e i r income b y s a t i s f y i n g t h e n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l p o p u l a t i o n ' s demands. By p r o v i d i n g - t h e b a s i c , s u b s i s t e n c e needs f o r a l a r g e number o f p e o p l e engaged i n n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s , t h e r e f o r e , t h e m o d e r n i z a t i o n o f t h e a g r i c u l t u r a l s e c t o r l a i d t h e f o u n d a t i o n s f o r an i n d u s t r i a l economy. (2) An i m p o r t a n t p r e l i m i n a r y s t a g e o f a g r i c u l t u r a l 31 modernization was the reorganization of the land into large, e f f i c i e n t productive units. This process was accompanied by the creation of a large class of wage-labourers who were not f u l l y em- ployed by the c a p i t a l i s t farmers. U n t i l the introduction of i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y the labour market was characterized by endemic underemploy- , ment. Labour-intensive rudimentary manufacturing was, however, established where a s u f f i c i e n t num- ber of indigent labourers existed to keep costs down. (3) Consumer demand for manufactured a r t i c l e s was i n i t i a l l y re-inforced by the wealthier parts of the community. The emergence of a mass market for consumer goods was very la t e . In addition to the landlords with f i x e d incomes, secured by primo- geniture and s t r i c t settlement, and t h e i r r e l a t i v e s who often joined a sub-class of 'ladies and gentle- men l i v i n g on incomes', there were a large number of tenant-farmers who commanded large incomes and "did not t r y to hoard or t r y to add parcel to parcel of t h e i r holdings as peasants might do, but who spent reasonably f r e e l y on manufactured a r t i c l e s , gee-gaws and f r i p p e r i e s - the things whose production the I n d u s t r i a l Revolution was a l l about." 1 (4) While d i r e c t investment by agrarian c a p i t a l i n i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t i e s was s l i g h t , i t s i n d i r e c t , supporting investment created an inf r a s t r u c t u r e that was highly favourable to manufacturing. The large c a p i t a l reservoir of the wealthiest landowners was instrumental i n providing the f i n a n c i a l backing f o r not only r u r a l improvements but also overseas trade, i n t e r n a l communications and resource development. Moreover, a banking system of considerable s o p h i s t i c a t i o n was developed i n response to the demands of investors. 1 F.M.L. Thompson, "Landownership and Economic Growth", i n E.L. Jones and S.J. Woolf, eds., Agrarian Change and Economic Development, (London, 19G9), pp. 57 - 60. 32 (5) The incursion of market considerations into economic matters led to r a t i o n a l c a l c u l a t i o n and a breakdown of t r a d i t i o n a l forms of a c t i v i t y and habits of mind. During the second h a l f of the seventeenth century the complementary advance of industry and agriculture v/as rapid. Thus, r u r a l industry grew i n a symbiotic r e l a t i o n - ship with the modernized a g r i c u l t u r a l sector of the expan- ding economy. - 1 - The period of t r a n s i t i o n from a t r a d i t i o n a l , peasant- subsistence system of c u l t i v a t i o n to modernized, market- oriented a g r i c u l t u r a l production had lasted for more than four hundred years. The modernization of Leicestershire's farming was s u b s t a n t i a l l y completed by 1800. The r a t i o n a l i zation of a g r i c u l t u r a l enterprise, however, had proceeded on a. piecemeal basis. Change was continuous, but slow and uneven. Rather than evolving at a steady rate across a l l parts of the county, the stages of modernization varied i n app l i c a t i o n from region to region. ; . The modernized a g r i c u l t u r a l economy of Leicestershire d i f f e r e d from the t r a d i t i o n a l system of peasant farming i n three, basic respects. F i r s t , rather than having s t r i p s i n the community-controlled common f i e l d s , each farmer held 33 his land i n i n d i v i d u a l parcels. Individual enterprise was not restrained because innovations could be more readily- undertaken since experiments with new methods could be practised without fear of interference from the v i l l a g e council. Competition replaced co-operation. Second, rather than working to s a t i s f y t h e i r own simple needs of subsistence,, farmers produced for sale i n the market-place, making p r o f i t and loss a consideration of overriding im- portance. Because the degree of s p e c i a l i z a t i o n depended upon the size of the market, the creation of a national d i v i s i o n of a g r i c u l t u r a l labour i n the seventeenth century was a most important advance. Third, s p e c i a l i z e d a g r i c u l - t u r a l a c t i v i t y had to be c l o s e l y suited to a complementary s o i l type because the scramble for p r o f i t s made i t impera- t i v e that production be as e f f i c i e n t as possible. Indeed, i t may be stated as a rule of thumb that the propensity to modernize a g r i c u l t u r a l enterprise was inversely related to the q u a l i t y of the s o i l ; providing, of course, that the s o i l was not barren. Peasant society f l o u r i s h e d on the very best land which was usually found i n the r i v e r valleys whereas i t was on the more d i f f i c u l t land, such as heavy clay or l i g h t sandy s o i l s , that heavily c a p i t a l i z e d a g r i - c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s were f i r s t introduced. 34 The character of the s o i l played an important role i n determining the type of farming enterprise that was prac- t i s e d on i t . In order to be successful, farmers had to work with t h e i r land, tr y i n g not to burden i t with an un- suitable form of husbandry. Even the best land could be worn out by permanent cropping while s o i l of an i n f e r i o r q u a l i t y could be r a r e l y c u l t i v a t e d for more than two or three years without needing substantial rest or manuring to restore i t s f e r t i l i t y . Moreover, there was some land which was not e a s i l y worked so that the family farmer could not c u l t i v a t e a large enough area of i t to meet hi s food requirements and pay h i s rent. Such in t r a c t a b l e land went untenanted or else i t was put under permanent pasture. Geo- l o g i c a l p e c u l i a r i t i e s defined, therefore, the permanent features i n a farmer's l i f e with which h i s work v/as ines- capably linked. Leicestershire's geograptiical make-up v/as divided into two roughly equal areas by the River Soar. Apart from a small patch of l i g h t , upland s o i l i n the ext- reme north east, the land i n Leicestershire east of the Soar.was a f e r t i l e but mostly heavy L i a s s i c clay. This land was both d i f f i c u l t to work and slow-draining and i n some parts a high water table made i t l i a b l e to flood. V7est of the River Soar the l i g h t e r clay s o i l s were more f r i a b l e to the plough. The land i n western Leicestershire, however, 35 g r e a t l y v a r i e d i n q u a l i t y o v e r s h o r t d i s t a n c e s . I n a d d i t i o n , t h e b a r r e n , s t o n y and b a d l y d r a i n e d l a n d o f Charnwood F o r e s t o c c u p i e d a p r o m i n e n t p l a c e i n w e s t L e i c e s t e r s h i r e as i t was s c a r c e l y s e t t l e d as l a t e as t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y when i t was d e s c r i b e d as " t h a t v a s t and d e c a y e d F o r e s t o f C h a r n w o o d . " The a g r i c u l t u r a l l a n d i n t h e r i v e r v a l l e y o f t h e S o a r was o f v e r y good q u a l i t y , t h e b e s t i n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e . ^ The s m a l l e r Wreak v a l l e y a l s o h a d good s o i l b u t s i n c e i t was l i a b l e t o f l o o d i t was more s u i t a b l e f o r p a s t u r e f a r m i n g r a t h e r t h a n a r a b l e c u l t i v a t i o n . I n m e d i e v a l a g r i c u l t u r e t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n s o i l t y p e were o f m i n i m a l i m p o r t a n c e s i n c e f a r m e r s were p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h w r e s t i n g t h e i r s u b s i s t e n c e f r o m t h e i a n d . B u t t h e s e a r c h i n a c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y f o r t h e most p r o f i t a b l e t y p e o f a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i o n enhanced t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f p h y s i c a l v a r i a t i o n s . 1 1 The i n f o r m a t i o n f o r t h i s s e c t i o n on p h y s i c a l v a r i a t i o n s was drawn f r o m W . G . H o s k i n s a s s i s t e d b y R . A . M c K i n l e y , e d s . , T h e V i c t o r i a H i s t o r y o f t h e C o u n t y o f L e i c e s t e r , V o l . I I , i n R . B . Pugh , e d . , • T h e V i c t o r i a H i s t o r y o f t h e C o u n t i e s o f E n g - l a n d , (London, 1 9 5 4 ) , p p . 145 - 6, 224 , and W . G . H o s k i n s and R . A . M c K i n l e y , e d s . , A H i s t o r y o f t h e County o f L e i c e s t e r , V o l . I l l , i n R . B . Pugh , e d . , The V i c t o r i a H i s t o r y o f t h e C o u n t i e s o f E n g l a n d , (London, 1 9 5 5 ) , p . 129 . H e r e a f t e r t h e s e two vo lumes w i l l be r e f e r r e d t o as V . C . H . , I I ; o r V . C . H . , I I I . 36 The breakdown of the t r a d i t i o n a l system of subsistence farming was an e s s e n t i a l pre-condition to the economic modernization of agriculture i n Leicestershire. Moderniza- t i o n occurred only a f t e r the t r a d i t i o n a l method of farming had shown i t s e l f to be unable not only to s a t i s f y demands for a marketable surplus but also to maintain i t s e l f as a viab l e system. In order to meet his subsistence require- ments the peasant-farmer overworked h i s land and so depleted w i t . The r e s u l t was.that his future crop y i e l d s were smaller and his a b i l i t y to pay his rent was diminished. This vicious c i r c l e of overwork, depletion and default doomed the small farmer, for landlords were reluctant to renew those leases which were to be so very expensive to them and ruinous to t h e i r land. The small tenants' i n a b i l i t y to make regular ren t a l payments dealt the death-blow to subsistence farming. Moreover, the persistence of peasant farming had held back progressive a g r i c u l t u r a l change because the peasant-farmer had been unable to provide the substantial investments that were necessary to make h i s enterprise large enough to produce a marketable surplus. Enlarging the size of each tenanted farm meant that, although the t o t a l number of productive units was diminished, the creation of an a g r i c u l t u r a l surplus was f a c i l i t a t e d for two reasons: a smaller part of the t o t a l output was needed for immediate 37 subsistence requirements, while the t o t a l output i t s e l f was increased by c a p i t a l i s t farmers who suited t h e i r land with a complementary form of husbandry, and so increased i t s productivity and maintained i t s f e r t i l i t y . In addition, wealthy tenants provided landlords with a steady income. However, the li m i t e d supply of such tenants par- t i a l l y restrained the movement towards larger productive units and slowed down i t s progress. We w i l l now survey the progress of a g r i c u l t u r a l modernization i n Leicestershire from the fourteenth century to the Parliamentary Acts for Enclosure of the l a t e r eight- eenth century. The Black Death of 1348, the recurrent incidences of the plague and the socio-economic d i s l o c a t i o n of the f i f - teenth century combined to reduce the population of L e i - cestershire. Evey by 1563 the county's population had not regained i t s pre-plague l e v e l . 1 The decimation of the population and i t s very gradual reassumption of i t s former 1 V.C.H., III, pp. 132 - 8. The countyfe population was es- timated to have f a l l e n by almost 40% i n the second h a l f of the fourteenth century. L i t t l e repopulation occurred during the f i f t e e n t h century. It appears that substantial growth resumed only about the beginning of the sixteenth century. 38 s i z e had important repercussions on the county's economic l i f e . The early fourteenth century's dominant condition of land-hunger was abruptly transformed into a s i t u a t i o n i n which resources v/ere p l e n t i f u l but labour was scarce. At Groby, near Leicester, i n 1445 both arable and meadow were worth only one-third of what they had been i n the period of land-hunger/-'- Rentals f e l l because landlords had d i f f i c u l t y retaining t h e i r tenants and had to o f f e r bene- f i c i a l terms i n order to a t t r a c t nev; tenants or r e t a i n t h e i r e x i s t i n g tenants. Moreover, the peasantry's pros- pects were enhanced by the fact that manorial services were o r e l a t i v e l y l i g h t i n Leices t e r s h i r e . The r e l a t i v e abundance of land combined with the peasantry's mobility to enable the surviving farmers to choose the land they would rent and c u l t i v a t e . V i l l a g e s whose s o i l v/as unsuitable for subsistence farming were f o r - saken and turned to permanent pasture. Only a few v i l l a g e s were completely abandoned. In some v i l l a g e s enterprising farmers took advantage of the s i t u a t i o n to gain control of 1 W.G. Hoskins, Le i c e s t e r s h i r e : The History of the Land- scape, (London, 1957), p. 27. 2- V.C.H., II, p. 173. 39 i n d i v i d u a l parcels of land thereby separating themselves from the demands of communal farming. However, i n those v i l l a g e s whose s o i l had s a t i s f a c t o r y arable q u a l i t i e s , the depopulating consequences of the plague were hardly notice- able as the t r a d i t i o n a l peasant society persisted along with the communal farming of the open-fields. , Before 1450 there was l i t t l e b enefit for landlords i n turning t h e i r land to permanent pasture as the demand for wool and meat v/as low. But i n the second h a l f of the f i f - teenth century the Low Countries' demands for English wool promoted the depopulation of Leicestershire v i l l a g e s i n which there were too few people to farm the land properly. "Most of the abandoned v i l l a g e s l i e upon the heavy L i a s s i c clays of East (or High) Leicestershire, which were i n general more suitable for grassland than for t i l l a g e , and we f i n d some landowners defending t h e i r apparently a n t i - s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s on t h i s ground." 1 By 1530, more than f i f t y v i l l a g e s had been deserted to make way for sheep runs. Most of the enclosure f o r pasture came between 1450 and 1530, the most intense a c t i v i t y happening i n the years be- tween 1490 and 1510.2 By 1530 perhaps 15% of the county's 1 Hoskins, Leicestershire, p. 27. 2 V. C.H. , II, pp. 192 - 5. 40 t o t a l area had been withdrawn from the t r a d i t i o n a l system of peasant farming and turned into c a p i t a l i s t farming units. The period from 1530 to 1650 was characterized by r i s i n g food prices and rapid population growth. The en- closure for pasture movement was temporarily slowed down even before the collapse of wool prices i n 1551 because c a p i t a l i s t farmers produced grain i n order to supply the expanding food market. The r i s e i n population had greatly enlarged the ranks of the poor. A peasant-farmer with a small landholding either divided his land amongst hi s children who subdivided i t again thereby leaving the t h i r d generation with a mere fragment, or else the peasant-farmer bequeathed a l l h i s holdings to his elder son alone i n which case h i s younger children were l e f t propertyless. In any event, there were more poor people who had to purchase t h e i r grain i n the l o c a l market week-by-week. The problem of r u r a l poverty was complicated by the f a c t that demograph growth had outstripped a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y with the r e s u l t that while food prices rose r a p i d l y wages lagged be- hind, thus i n t e n s i f y i n g the impoverishment of the landless labourers. 1 1 A. E v e r i t t , "Farm Labourers", i n Thirsk, ed., Agrarian History, pp. 430 -42. 41 High cereal prices throughout the sixteenth century- promoted the prosperity of many peasant-farmers who had a s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t economic l i f e and sold t h e i r available surpluses i n increasingly favourable market conditions. Furthermore, u n t i l the l a t e r sixteenth century rents were fi x e d at very low l e v e l s ; farmers who held long-leases en- joyed economic security. In addition, it. appears that i n some Leicestershire v i l l a g e s the copyhold of inheritance was the dominant form of land tenure. In Wigston Magna, for example, a confrontation occurred i n 1558 between the l o r d and tenants: "On the one hand we have customary tenants who claim copyholds of inheritance v/ith a l l the rights that flow therefrom, who pay a f i x e d and ancient rent more appropriate to the thirteenth century, and who claim to pay only a small and ancient f i n e . On the other hand we have a new l o r d who has purchased the manor (no doubt at a price appropriate to the r i s i n g p r i c e - l e v e l of the 1580's, but we do not c e r t a i n l y know this ) and who i s anxious to sweep away t h i s rabbit warren of medieval rents, customs and services, and to e x p l o i t i t s f u l l economic p o s s i b i l i t i e s i n the form of leases at rents that bear some r e l a t i o n to the r e a l annual value of the land." The peasants proved that they held t h e i r land by copyhold of inheritance and gained an almost freehold i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r land inasmuch as the i n f l a t i o n of prices had yielded t h e i r payments nominal, adjust the terms of the Since copies the landlord could not re- without the peasants' con- 42 s e n t he was f o r c e d t o s e l l o u t . - P a r t i c u l a r l y a f t e r 1580 as l a n d became r e l a t i v e l y s c a r c e a n d , h e n c e , more v a l u a b l e t h e r e was a s t e e p i n c r e a s e i n r e n t s when l a n d l o r d s , n o t b u r d e n e d w i t h c o p y h o l d e r s o f i n h e r i t a n c e , r e a d j u s t e d t h e t e r m s o f l e a s e h o l d as t h e " u n e c o n o m i c " l e a s e s were e x - p i r i n g . M o r e o v e r , t h e g r o w t h o f a c l a s s o f p r o p e r t y l e s s l a b o u r e r s r e i n f o r c e d t h e p r e s s u r e s t h a t were d i s s o l v i n g t h e t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i a l s y s t e m . The s m a l l f a r m e r s ' a b i l i t y t o s u p p l e m e n t h i s income w i t h w a g e - l a b o u r was t h w a r t e d b y t h e p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f m a s t e r l e s s men and s t u r d y b e g g a r s who d r o v e down t h e p r i c e o f l a b o u r . As more p e o p l e s o l d t h e i r l a b o u r i n exchange f o r c a s h , t h e m a r k e t f o r t h e p u r c h a s e o f s u b - s i s t e n c e r e q u i r e m e n t s e x p a n d e d . P r o d u c t i o n f o r t h i s m a r k e t was a p r o f i t a b l e a c t i v i t y , b u t t h e f a r m e r who c o u l d n o t p r o d u c e a m a r k e t a b l e s u r p l u s n e v e r t h e l e s s h a d t o pay h i g h e r r e n t s w i t h o u t b e n e f i t o f an e n l a r g e d i n c o m e . The e c o n o m i c s o f m a r k e t p r o d u c t i o n w e r e , t h e r e f o r e , f a v o u r a b l e f o r t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l f a r m e r w h i l e b e i n g d i s a s t r o u s f o r t h e s u b - s i s t e n c e f a r m e r . These c o n d i t i o n s b e g a n t h e d i s s o l u t i o n o f t h e e g a l i t a r i a n p e a s a n t community and i t s r e p l a c e m e n t by i n d i v i d u a l l y - o p e r a t e d , m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d p r o d u c t i o n . 1 W . G . H o s k i n s , The M i d l a n d P e a s a n t : The E c o n o m i c and S o c i a l H i s t o r y o f a L e i c e s t e r s h i r e V i l l a g e , (London, 1 9 5 7 ) , p p . 1 0 6 - 7 . 43 I n many L e i c e s t e r s h i r e v i l l a g e s a few f a m i l i e s b e n e f i t e d f r o m t h e m i s f o r t u n e s o f t h e i r n e i g h b o u r s b y b e c o m i n g money- l e n d e r s t o t h e s e s t r u g g l i n g p e a s a n t s . D u r i n g t h e r e c u r r e n t d e a r t h s and f a m i n e s , mor tgaged l a n d was o f t e n f o r e c l o s e d and e x t r a p i e c e s o f l a n d were b o u g h t up b y t h e w e a l t h i e r p e a s a n t s . 1 The e x t r e m e l y a c t i v e l a n d m a r k e t i n L e i c e s t e r - s h i r e f r o m t h e l a t e r 1 5 7 0 ' s t o t h e 1 6 4 0 ' s made i t p o s s i b l e f o r t h e p r o g r e s s i v e , c a p i t a l i s t e l e m e n t s i n r u r a l s o c i e t y t o augment t h e i r h o l d i n g s and t o c r e a t e compact p a r c e l s o f l a n d . From t h e 1 5 1 0 ' s t o about 1580 e n c l o s u r e had p r o c e e d e d s l o w l y , b u t a f t e r 1580 t h e pace q u i c k e n e d once a g a i n . By 1640 n e a r l y one v i l l a g e i n t h r e e was e n t i r e l y e n c l o s e d and many o t h e r s were p a r t i a l l y e n c l o s e d . 2 I n t h e 1580 - 1640 s u r g e o f e n c l o s u r e s m a l l f a r m e r s who had managed t o c o n s o l i - d a t e t h e i r s t r i p s by p u r c h a s e o r exchange j o i n e d f o r c e s w i t h t h e s q u i r e a r c h y t o r e d u c e t h e s i z e and i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e common f i e l d s . B e n e f i c x a l m a r r i a g e s , s m a l l f a m i l i e s , p r i - m o g e n i t u r a l i n h e r i t a n c e and a f a i r degree o f b u s i n e s s acumen were a l l combined i n e l e v a t i n g t h e e n t e r p r i s i n g men who 1 R . H . Tawney, " H i s t o r i c a l I n t r o d u c t i o n " , T . W i l s o n , A D i s - c o u r s e Upon U s u r y , (London, 1 9 2 5 ) , p p . 2 4 - 7 . 2 V- C H . , I I , p p . 203 - 6 . 3 V . C H . . I I , p . 2 0 3 . 44 formed a t i n y v i l l a g e oligarchy. Indeed, throughout the 1580 - 1650 period there was a massive r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of income i n favour of the wealthier sections of the community. The high demand for farm produce which had p a r t i a l l y protected the f r a g i l e economic p o s i t i o n of many Leicester- shire peasant-farmers abated i n the middle decades of the seventeenth century. The combined e f f e c t of a slowdown of population growth and a revolution i n farming techniques hastened the movement away from arable farming i n most of Lei c e s t e r s h i r e . Farmers on the clay s o i l s were at a com- parative disadvantage i n marketing large-scale grain crops because t h e i r land was unsuitable for the use of legumes which meant that they did not benefit from the introduction of convertible husbandry. Of course, a few farmers could s t i l l s e l l t h e i r cereal crops i n the l o c a l markets, but th i s was merely a stop-gap measure. In response to the changing market conditions, many c a p i t a l i s t farmers i n Leicester- shire redirected t h e i r investment into pasture farming. The advance of c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i v e pasture farming placed enormous pressure on small landowners and the smaller tenant farmers. Small-scale grazing operations i n the pas- ture regions were unusual because landlords preferred to lease compact holdings to stable, professional tenants. 45 D a i r y f a r m i n g , h o w e v e r , r e q u i r e d f a r l e s s c a p i t a l i n v e s t - ment t h a t d i d s t o c k - b r e e d i n g , g r a z i n g o r f a t t e n i n g . T h i s l a b o u r - i n t e n s i v e a c t i v i t y f l o u r i s h e d i n t h e r i c h l a n d o f t h e r i v e r v a l l e y s where i t c o u l d be p r a c t i s e d i n s m a l l , e f f i c i e n t u n i t s . E n c l o s u r e f o r p a s t u r e was most i m p o r t a n t on t h e h e a v i e r c l a y s o i l s o f e a s t e r n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e , a l t h o u g h i t a l s o o c c u r r e d i n t h e w e s t e r n h a l f o f t h e c o u n t y . Between 1660 and 1760 73 p l a c e s v/ere e n t i r e l y e n c l o s e d , w h i c h when added t o t h e p r e - 1 6 4 0 e n c l o s u r e s meant t h a t b y 1760 " a t l e a s t 197 o u t o f 396 p l a c e s i n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e (50 p e r c e n t . ) were e n t i r e l y e n c l o s e d . " 1 I t has been e s t i m a t e d t h a t a b o u t 52% o f L e i c e s t e r s h i r e ' s t o t a l a c r e a g e v/as e n c l o s e d by p r i v a t e agreements be tween 1607 and 1730. I n many o p e n - f i e l d v i l l a g e s l a r g e s e c t i o n s o f l a n d were f e n c e d , removed f rom t h e demands o f communal f a r m i n g and f a r m e d p r i v a t e l y . The g r a z i e r became t h e dominant f o r c e i n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e f a r m i n g as " t h e movement tov/ards l a r g e - s c a l e g r a z i n g , h a d r e c e i v e d immense i m p e t u s f r o m t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s o n w a r d s . " These men 1 V . C H . , I I , p p . 223 - 5 . 2 W . G . H o s k i n s , "The L e i c e s t e r s h i r e Farmer i n t h e S e v e n t e e n t h C e n t u r y " , i n P r o v i n c i a l E n g l a n d : E s s a y s i n S o c i a l and E c o - nomic H i s t o r y , (London, 1 9 6 3 ) , p . 163 . 3 I b i d . , p . 165 . 46 "sp e c i a l i z e d not only i n wool but i n producing meat for the towns and i n p a r t i c u l a r for London.".1 The d i s s o l u t i o n of the s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t v i l l a g e economy meant that r u r a l society became polarized between the few who possessed land and c a p i t a l and the poverty-stricken multitude. The enterprising members of the peasantry rose to become either tenant-farmers or substantial freeholders who were wholly" engaged i n production f o r the market. The combination of low and f l u c t u a t i n g a g r i c u l t u r a l prices for more than a hundred years before 1750, and heavy taxation, e s p e c i a l l y between 1688 and 1715, o b l i t e r a t e d the indepen- dent status of many peasant landowners. They became i n - digent cottagers possessing a few acres and r e l y i n g upon seasonal employment at low wages to eke out a miserable l i v i n g . Enclosure for pasture, by reducing employment opportunities and forcing the uprooted peasants into over- crowded open-field v i l l a g e s , created r u r a l slums. In unen- closed v i l l a g e s the co-existence of numerous poor peasants alongside several substantial farmers was quite common. 1 V.C.H. , II,; p. 220. 2 G.E. Mingay, Enclosure and the Small Farmer i n the Age of the I n d u s t r i a l Revolution, (London, 1968), p. 29. 47 P a r l i a m e n t a r y E n c l o s u r e s o f t h e l a t e r e i g h t e e n t h c e n - t u r y p u t t h e f i n i s h i n g t o u c h e s t o d e v e l o p m e n t s t h a t h a d b e e n p r o g r e s s i n g s i n c e t h e f o u r t e e n t h c e n t u r y . E n c l o s u r e b y A c t o f P a r l i a m e n t i m p o s e d a h e a v y b u r d e n on t h e r e m a i n i n g s m a l l f a r m e r s i n s e v e r a l ways: t h e c o s t o f an A c t o f P a r l i a m e n t r o s e s t e a d i l y t h r o u g h o u t t h e l a t e r e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y ; s u p p l e m e n t a r y e x p e n s e s ( e . g . d i t c h i n g and f e n c i n g ) were h i g h ; t h e c o m p e n s a t i o n o f t h e t i t h e h o l d e r a l s o r e q u i r e d a r e l a t i v e l y l a r g e sum; and many p o s t - e n c l o s u r e h o l d i n g s v/ere t o o s m a l l t o be f a r m e d a t a p r o f i t . 1 I n W i g s t o n Magna, e n c l o s e d b y A c t i n 1766, 4 6 . 1 % o f t h e l a n d v/as h e l d i n 7 p a r c e l s o f o v e r 100 acres,- a n o t h e r 3 7 . 9 % v/as h e l d i n u n i t s o f 20 t o 100 a c r e s b y a n o t h e r 23 f a r m e r s . On t h e o t h e r hand, t h e r e m a i n i n g 67 a l l o t m e n t s c o m p r i s e d o n l y 16% o f t h e p a r i s h ' s t o t a l a r e a . A l t h o u g h t h e e n c l o s u r e o f t h e p a r i s h d i d n o t c r e a t e any g r e a t e r i n e q u a l i t y t h a n h a d ex- i s t e d b e f o r e h a n d , t h e p e a s a n t s ' l o s s o f t h e i r common r i g h t s d e a l t a d e a t h - b l o w t o t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l way o f l i f e . P a r - l i a m e n t a r y E n c l o s u r e f i n a l i z e d t h e t r i u m p h o f a g r a r i a n c a p i t a l i s m . Thus, b y t h e t i m e t h a t t h e I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u - t i o n commenced t h e p r o c e s s o f m o d e r n i z a t i o n i n r u r a l L e i - 1 M i n g a y , E n c l o s u r e and t h e S m a l l F a r m e r , pp. 22 - 5. 2 H o s k i n s , M i d l a n d P e a s a n t , pp. 253 - 4. 48 cestershire was complete. - 2 - In the medieval subsistence economy, household handi- c r a f t production and some g u i l d regulated production existed, but there was l i t t l e point i n producing a large volume of goods as long as there was no consumer market. The breakdown of the subsistence economy, however, was accompanied by^the creation of a class of c a p i t a l i s t f a r - mers who provided not only a food surplus to feed a popu- l a t i o n employed i n manufacturing consumer goods but also a market for manufactured products. But the transformation of 'secondary' production from the household handicraft stage to machine-powered, market-oriented modern i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y was retarded by the deliberate progress of a g r i - c u l t u r a l modernization which necessarily restrained the development of consumer demand. The modernization of i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y was also li m i t e d by inherent r e s t r i c t i o n s i n the techniques and the organization of production i t s e l f . Handicraft manu- facturing was characterized by the fact that the processes of production and d i s t r i b u t i o n were ca r r i e d out by one per- son whose economic horizons were necessarily limited. Handi- c r a f t producers were generally committed to q u a l i t y produc- 49 t i o n and r e l a t i v e l y h i g h p r i c e s . Moreover, s i n c e most workers engaged i n h a n d i c r a f t s possessed too l i t t l e c a p i t a l to expand the s c a l e of t h e i r o p e r a t i o n s , an enlargement of consumer demand c o u l d o n l y be s a t i s f i e d by the u t i l i z a t i o n of wage lab o u r . The emergence of wage labour not o n l y made i t p o s s i b l e to expand the s c a l e of p r o d u c t i o n , but a l s o r e - duced p r o d u c t i o n c o s t s , thus r u i n i n g the i n e f f i c i e n t j o u r - neyman manufacturers but c r e a t i n g a new c l a s s of s u c c e s s f u l e n t r e p r e n e u r s . These s u c c e s s f u l merchants not o n l y con- t r o l l e d p r o d u c t i o n by ' p u t t i n g out' work t o dependent craftsmen but a l s o dominated the merchandizing of the f i n i s h e d goods. T h i s form of economic o r g a n i z a t i o n was non- p r o g r e s s i v e inasmuch as most m e r c h a n t - c a p i t a l i s t s found i t p r o f i t a b l e to m a i n t a i n r e l a t i v e l y h i g h p r i c e s at the expense of f u r t h e r e n l a r g i n g the s c a l e of p r o d u c t i o n . The manu- f a c t u r e of i n e x p e n s i v e a r t i c l e s f o r a mass consumer market rendered the m e r c h a n t - c a p i t a l i s t s ' p r o f i t a b l e middleman p o s i t i o n o b s o l e t e i n s o f a r as such mass p r o d u c t i o n was s o l e l y r e s p o n s i v e to consumers' demands. In order to make the p r o d u c t i o n of cheap goods a p r o f i t a b l e venture, human s k i l l and e f f o r t had to be r e p l a c e d by r a p i d , r e g u l a r , p r e c i s e and t i r e l e s s machines. The s e p a r a t i o n of c a p i t a l and labour, the p r o d u c t i o n f o r a mass consumer market and the use of machine power were, t h e r e f o r e , the three most 50 prominent c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of modern i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y . I t was only about 1570 that the prac t i s e of k n i t t i n g jersey or worsted hosiery became common i n England. The hand-knitting industry was connected with the home market; i t was not an export trade. By the middle of the seven- teenth century hand-knitting was well established as a Leicestershire^domestic industry i n which k n i t t i n g was 'put out' to women by hosiers who organized the production and d i s t r i b u t i o n of the f i n i s h e d products. 1 Even at this early date, the hand-knitting industry was characterized by the subordination of labour to c a p i t a l . The k n i t t i n g frame was invented i n 1587 by William Lee. It was a highly s p e c i a l i z e d machine which was made up of over 2,0,00 separate pieces of s t e e l , wood and lead each requiring p r e c i s i o n craftsmanship. It was a f i r s t - r a t e technological breakthrough which enabled a framework k n i t t e r to do "1000 to 1500 stitc h e s a minute, compared with about 100 s t i t c h e s a minute i n hand k n i t t i n g . " However, the I R.A. McKinley, ed., A History of the County of Leicester, Vol. -IV, i n R.B. Pugh, ed., The V i c t o r i a History of the Counties of England, (London, 1958), pp. 9 0 - 2 . The hand- k n i t t i n g industry i n Leicestershire was merely of l o c a l im- portance; the national center of the industry was i n Norfolk. 51 f i r s t k n i t t i n g f r a m e s c o s t a p r o h i b i t i v e £ 80 p e r f r a m e so t h a t t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f t h i s m a c h i n e i n t o g e n e r a l u s e was r e t a r d e d . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e e a r l i e s t m o d e l s o f t h e k n i t t i n g f r a m e r e q u i r e d two o p e r a t i v e s w h i c h meant t h a t l a b o u r c o s t s w ere a n o t h e r f a c t o r l i m i t i n g i t s d i s s e m i n a t i o n . N o n e t h e - l e s s , t h e demand f o r k n i t t i n g f r a m e s c r e a t e d a s u b s i d i a r y f r a m e - m a k i n g i n d u s t r y w h i c h n o t o n l y i m p r o v e d L e e ' s p r o t o - t y p e so t h a t i t c o u l d be w o r k e d b y a s i n g l e o p e r a t i v e b u t a l s o r e d u c e d i t s c o s t . 1 C o s t r e d u c t i o n was r a p i d a f t e r t h e m i d d l e o f t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y . The "frame and i m p l e - ments" o f G e o r g e Pogson, a s i l k s t o c k i n g w e a v e r o f D i s h l e y n e a r L o u g h b o r o u g h , were v a l u e d a t £ 31 i n t h e i n v e n t o r y o f p h i s b e l o n g i n g s made i n 1660. By t h e e a r l y e i g h t e e n t h c e n - t u r y t h e c o s t o f a f r a m e ha d b e e n g r e a t l y r e d u c e d s i n c e i n 1718 " t h e v a l u e o f two f r a m e s i n t h e p o s s e s s i o n o f a f a r m e r and f r a m e s m i t h c f S e l s t o n , N o t t i n g h a m s h i r e was o n l y E 8 and 1 J.D. Chambers, "The W o r s h i p f u l Company o f Framework K n i t t e r s (1657 - 1778)", E c o n o m i c a , 27, (1929), pp. 296 - 312. 2 L e i c e s t e r s h i r e C o u n t y R e c o r d s O f f i c e , I n v e n t o r i e s , 1660 ( B e f o r e t h e A r c h d e a c o n ) , 2 66. A man v/ho owned a m a c h i n e w o r t h E 31 c a n n o t be c o n s i d e r e d t o be a p a u p e r , a l t h o u g h he may h a v e b e e n a d i s p o s s e s s e d p e a s a n t - f a r m e r who h a d l i q u i - d a t e d h i s a s s e t s i n o r d e r t o engage i n a t r a d e w h i c h was i n d e p e n d e n t o f t h e l a n d . 52 E 7 1 0 s . r e s p e c t i v e l y . " 1 Bu t even a frame c o s t i n g as l i t t l e as £ 10 must have been o u t o f r e a c h o f most c o t t a g e r s . These h i g h i n i t i a l c a p i t a l c o s t s , t h e r e f o r e , n e c e s s a r i l y e n a b l e d t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f m a c h i n e - w r o u g h t h o s i e r y t o be d o m i n a t e d f r o m t h e o u t s e t b y men w i t h l a r g e c a p i t a l f u n d s . These c a p i t a l i s t h o s i e r s were a b l e " t o c o n t r o l t h e h i r i n g o u t o f f rames t o d o m e s t i c c r a f t s m e n ; and a l t h o u g h t h e dom- e s t i c s y s t e m c o n t i n u e d d e s p i t e t h e new m a c h i n e , i t c o n t i n u e d on t h e b a s i s o f t h e o w n e r s h i p o f t h e i n s t r u m e n t s o f p r o d u c - t i o n by c a p i t a l i s t s and t h e h i r e o f t h e s e i n s t r u m e n t s t o o t h e i n d i v i d u a l p r o d u c e r . " The money f rom t h e d o m e s t i c w o r k e r s 1 f rame r e n t a l s d e f r a y e d a l a r g e p a r t o f t h e h o s i e r s ' c a p i t a l c o s t s . The s u b o r d i n a t i o n o f t h e l a b o u r e r t o t h e c a p i t a l i s t h o s i e r was i n t e n s i f i e d b y t h e p r a c t i s e o f g i v i n g work o n l y t o t h o s e c r a f t s m e n who p a i d a frame r e n t . M o r e - o v e r , t h e f a c t t h a t t h e k n i t t i n g frame was i n i t i a l l y u sed t o p r o d u c e l u x u r y goods ( i . e . s i l k s t o c k i n g s ) e n a b l e d a s m a l l g r o u p o f L o n d o n - b a s e d m e r c h a n t - h o s i e r s t o c o n t r o l t h e e x p o r t o f f i n i s h e d goods by m a i n t a i n i n g c l o s e c o n t a c t w i t h t h e i r c o n s u m e r s ' c h a n g i n g t a s t e s . 1 "Chambers, I b i d . , p„ 2 98 . 2 M . Dobb, S t u d i e s i n t h e Development o f C a p i t a l i s m , (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 3 ) , p . 146 . 53 In order to safeguard t h e i r p r o f i t a b l e position, the London-based oligarchy of c a p i t a l i s t - h o s i e r s twice secured government orders of incorporation enabling them to exer- cise control over the whole framework k n i t t i n g industry. The 1663 charter of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters invested governing powers i n a closed, s e l f - p e r - petuating body of o f f i c i a l s . 1 Through the use and abuse of t h e i r incorporated powers, a small group of wealthy merchant-hosiers completely dominated the hosiery trade for as long as the Company's authority was respected. By imposing a scale of exorbitant fees on the journeyman members of the Company for the employment of apprentices the oligarchy put large-scale production beyond the reach of the smaller craftsmen, but the wealthy masters ignored these apprenticeship regulations whenever i t was i n t h e i r i n t e r e s t to do so. The royal patent also gave the Company supervisory powers to f o r b i d the export of k n i t t i n g frames thus securing a large measure of protection from foreign competition for the framework k n i t t i n g industry. In addi- ti o n , the Company v/as empowered to f i x prices and f i n e any hosiers who t r i e d to undercut the established rate. 1 Chambers, Ibid. , pp. 303 -• 5. 54 Framework k n i t t e r s outside London were not independent producers insofar as they manufactured luxury goods that were .sold through the London merchant-hosiers. The Company ex- pressed the interests of the London oligarchy by keeping the p r o v i n c i a l masters f i r m l y under control. However, the Com- pany's authority was e f f e c t i v e l y challenged when p r o v i n c i a l masters used the k n i t t i n g frame to produce cheap woollen or cotton stockings. By turning t h e i r attention to the domestic w market for these cheaper goods, the country manufacturers not only escaped from t h e i r subjection to the London merchant- hosiers, but also rendered the Company i n e f f e c t i v e , i n that i t s power had been dependent upon a commitment to luxury production. ^ The country manufacturers were mainly located i n Derby- shire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. In the Midlands there were favourable conditions that reduced production costs. Because both food and accommodation cost less than i n London, wages could be commensurately lower than those paid to London workers. Many operatives combined framework k n i t t i n g with either r u r a l labouring or the c u l t i v a t i o n of a small plot of land, and as framework k n i t t i n g merely pro- vided a supplement to t h e i r regular income, they could be paid very low wages. Proximity to the supply of coarse, 55 i n e x p e n s i v e M i d l a n d w o o l f u r t h e r r e d u c e d t h e p r o d u c t i o n c o s t s . I n a d d i t i o n , t h e r e d u c e d p u r c h a s e p r i c e o f f rames e n a b l e d h o s i e r s t o employ more o p e r a t i v e s , and t h e f r a m e - r e n t a l s t h a t t h e s e men were p a y i n g p r o v i d e d t h e h o s i e r s w i t h a n o t h e r s o u r c e o f income w h i c h c o u l d be p l o u g h e d b a c k i n t o t h e p u r c h a s e o f s t i l l more k n i t t i n g f r a m e s . F u r t h e r - more , an improvement i n t h e k n i t t i n g frame i t s e l f had made i t p o s s i b l e f o r , a s i n g l e man t o o p e r a t e i t . The p r o c e s s o f m e c h a n i c a l k n i t t i n g was f u r t h e r s i m p l i f i e d w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t a p p r e n t i c e s h i p o r p r o l o n g e d t r a i n i n g became u n n e c e s s a r y . These d e v e l o p m e n t s v/ere b e h i n d t h e p r o d i g i o u s i n c r e a s e i n t h e number o f f rames i n - t h e t h r e e M i d l a n d c o u n t i e s : f r o m 140 i n 1664 t o 3500 i n 1 7 2 7 . 1 I n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e , t h e a c c e l e r a t e d pace o f e n c l o s u r e f o r p a s t u r e i n t h e s e c o n d h a l f o f t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y p r o d u c e d a l a r g e c l a s s o f wage l a b o u r e r s . These men, u n a b l e t o f i n d employment i n t h e i r n a t i v e v i l l a g e s , d r i f t e d i n t o t h e r e m a i n i n g o p e n - f i e l d v i l l a g e s where t h e y formed a l a r g e p o o l o f u n d e r e m p l o y e d l a b o u r . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e p o p u l a t i o n i n t h e s e o p e n - f i e l d v i l l a g e s , s u c h as W i g s t o n Magna i n t h e Soar v a l l e y s o u t h o f L e i c e s t e r , " h a d l o n g ago o u t g r o w n t h e a v a i l - 1 Chambers , J . D . , The V a l e o f T r e n t , p . 13 . a b l e s u p p l y o f l a n d , and w o u l d have done so even had t h e r e been no g r o w i n g c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f l a n d i n f e w e r and f e w e r hands . " ' ' " T h u s , a g r i c u l t u r a l m o d e r n i z a t i o n h a d f r e e d l a b o u r f o r i n d u s t r i a l employment . P r o v i n c i a l h o s i e r s w i t h k n i t t i n g f r ames t o r e n t were a t t r a c t e d b y t h e c h e a p , u n s k i l l e d and u n a p p r e n t i c e d l a b o u r o f t h e r u r a l p o o r . Framework k n i t t i n g . was an i d e a l f o r m o f employment f o r a b s o r b i n g t h e p o o r and d i s p o s s e s s e d as i t was c a r r i e d on w i t h a minimum o f e q u i p - merit : a h i r e d f r a m e , w o o l s u p p l i e d b y t h e h o s i e r and a s m a l l w o r k s h o p were a l l t h a t was n e c e s s a r y . By 1750 f r a m e - w o r k k n i t t i n g was a p r o m i n e n t component o f t h e economy o f L e i c e s t e r s h i r e a s ' t h e r e were 1 ,000 f rames i n L e i c e s t e r and p r o b a b l y a n o t h e r 2 , 0 0 0 f rames s c a t t e r e d among t h e i n d u s t r i a l v i l l a g e s . 3 The i n t r o d u c t i o n o f f ramework k n i t t i n g i n t o t h e c o u n t y town o f L e i c e s t e r was s i m i l a r t o t h e p r o c e s s o f i n d u s t r i a l i - z a t i o n i n many L e i c e s t e r s h i r e v i l l a g e s . I n d e e d , L e i c e s t e r was r e a l l y an o v e r g r o w n v i l l a g e as i t s m i d - s e v e n t e e n t h c e n - •1 H o s k i n s , M i d l a n d P e a s a n t , p . 228 . The f i r s t k n i t t i n g frame t o r e a c h L e i c e s t e r s h i r e h a d b e e n s e t up i n H i n c k l e y , a n o t h e r o p e n - f i e l d v i l l a g e w i t h a s u r f e i t o f i n d i g e n t c o t t a g e r s , a b o u t 1640. ( V . C . H . , I I I , p . 2 . ) 2 H o s k i n s , M i d l a n d P e a s a n t , p . 22 7. 3 V. C H . , I I I , p . 3 . 57 t u r y p o p u l a t i o n was o n l y about 5 , 0 0 0 . D i s p o s s e s s e d f a m i l y f a r m e r s f r o m t h e e n c l o s e d v i l l a g e s o f e a s t e r n L e i c e s t e r - s h i r e and t h e o v e r c r o w d e d v i l l a g e s o f t h e Soar v a l l e y had d r i f t e d i n t o L e i c e s t e r i n s e a r c h o f w o r k . From 1678 t o .1730, 57% o f t h e m i g r a n t a p p r e n t i c e s h a d come f r o m l e s s t h a n 10 m i l e s away, w h i l e 60% o f t h e y o u t h s a p p r e n t i c e d i n L e i c e s t e r h o s i e r y t r a d e s came f r o m t h e i m m e d i a t e a r e a . 1 ' A p p r e n t i c e - s h i p ' h a d , h o w e v e r , a b r o a d range o f meaning i n t h e l a t e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h a t was dependent upon t h e c l a s s o f t h e a p p r e n t i c e and t h e t e rms o f h i s a p p r e n t i c e s h i p . On t h e one h a n d , s u b s t a n t i a l f a r m e r s f rom n e a r b y a g r i c u l t u r a l v i l l a g e s s u c c e e d e d i n e s t a b l i s h i n g t h e i r y o u n g e r sons i n t h e h o s i e r y b u s i n e s s b y a p p r e n t i c i n g them t o w e a l t h y m e r c h a n t - h o s i e r s . These p e o p l e j o i n e d t h e r a n k s o f t h e c a p i t a l i s t h o s i e r s a f t e r t h e i r a p p r e n t i c e s h i p was c o m p l e t e d . On t h e o t h e r h a n d , a p p r e n t i c e s h i p v/as o f t e n a f o r m o f cheap l a b o u r as i t was " i n t h i s i n d u s t r y t h a t we come a c r o s s t h e f i r s t c o l l e c - t i v e i n d e n t u r e s o f a p p r e n t i c e s h i p , by a r rangement b e t w e e n m a n u f a c t u r e r s and p a r i s h e s . I t was a good o p p o r t u n i t y f o r the. p a r i s h t o g e t r i d o f i t s w o r k h o u s e c h i l d r e n and i t e n - 1 V . C . H . , I V , p . 193 . H o s k i n s , M i d l a n d P e a s a n t , p p . 257 - 9 . 2 H o s k i n s , M i d l a n d P e a s a n t , p . 2 58 . 58 a b l e d t h e m a n u f a c t u r e r t o o b t a i n f r e e l a b o u r , and t h u s f o r c e down t h e wages o f a d u l t w o r k e r s . " 1 I n d u s t r i a l employment caused a s t a r t l i n g s o c i o l o g i c a l i n n o v a t i o n : men were a b l e t o e a r n f u l l wages a t an e a r l y age w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t i t was common f o r i n d u s t r i a l e m p l o y - ment and e a r l y m a r r i a g e t o go h a n d - i n - h a n d . We have a l r e a d y n o t e d t h a t t h e age a t m a r r i a g e . a c t e d , i n a g r i c u l t u r a l c o m m u n i t i e s , as- a v o l u n t a r y method o f b i r t h - c o n t r o l b e c a u s e men d i d n o t e s t a b l i s h h o u s e h o l d s u n t i l t h e y h a d an i n d e p e n d - e n t s o u r c e o f i n c o m e . But t h e g e n i u s o f i n d u s t r i a l e m p l o y - ment was t h a t i t p r o v i d e d young men w i t h enough money t o g e t m a r r i e d and s u p p o r t a f a m i l y . However , f ramework k n i t t e r s were p a i d s u b s i s t e n c e - l e v e l wages so t h a t c o n t e m p o r a r i e s n o t e d a c l o s e a s s o c i a t i o n be tween t h e coming o f r u r a l i n - d u s t r y and a r i s e i n t h e p o o r r a t e s . R u r a l i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n was a p r o m i n e n t f e a t u r e o f t h e L e i c e s t e r s h i r e economy d u r i n g t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y . The absence o f i n s t i t u t i o n a l c h e c k s , s u c h as t h e r i g i d c o n t r o l Of s e t t l e m e n t by l a n d l o r d s and p a r i s h o f f i c e r s , had f a c i l i - t a t e d t h e r e l a t i v e o v e r - p o p u l a t i o n o f o p e n - f i e l d v i l l a g e s . 1 P . M a n t o u x , The I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n i n t h e E i g h t e e n t h C e n t u r y , (New Y o r k , . 1 9 6 5 ) , p . 193 . 59 The indigent cottagers supplied the cheap labour that was c r u c i a l to the success of domestic industry. In Wigston Magna, for example, at least one-third of the v i l l a g e ' s population i n 1765 were i n d u s t r i a l workers, renting frames and being paid subsistence wages. 1 The I n d u s t r i a l Revolu- t i o n had l i t t l e impact i n Leicestershire u n t i l the mid- nineteenth century when framework k n i t t i n g was f i n a l l y organized within factory walls. This f i n a l stage i n the transformation of k n i t t i n g from handicraft to machine industry was achieved only af t e r steam power had replaced human e f f o r t xn d r i v i n g the k n i t t i n g frame. 1 Hoskins, Midland Peasant, p. 22 8. 2 V.C.H., III , p. 16. 60 CHAPTER I I I THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH PROMOTED SOCIO-ECONOMIC DIFFERENTIATION: THE EMERGENCE OF AGRICULTURAL COMMERCIALIZATION I N FRAMLAND AND RURAL INDUSTRIALIZATION I N WEST GOSCOTE, 1660 - 80 . Modern i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y was i n i t i a t e d o n l y a f t e r a more e f f i c i e n t d i v i s i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l l a b o u r had c r e a t e d a f o o d s u r p l u s and h a d t h e r e b y e n a b l e d l a b o u r and c a p i t a l t o be r e d e p l o y e d i n t o s u c h s e c o n d a r y u n d e r t a k i n g s as manu- f a c t u r i n g and s e r v i c e i n d u s t r i e s . Our e x a m i n a t i o n o f n a - t i o n a l and r e g i o n a l e c o n o m i c deve lopment has shown t h a t t h i s e c o n o m i c m o d e r n i z a t i o n began on a s u b s t a n t i a l s c a l e d u r i n g t h e m i d d l e o f t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y . I n t h i s c h a p t e r we w i l l examine s p e c i f i c , l o c a l c o n d i t i o n s i n two n e i g h - b o u r i n g p a r t s o f L e i c e s t e r s h i r e d u r i n g t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s and 1 6 7 0 ' s . By t h i s t i m e one can a l r e a d y see t h e b i f u r c a t i o n o f s o c i a l and e c o n o m i c o r g a n i z a t i o n t h a t was t o be i n t e n s i - f i e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e p r o t o - i n d u s t r i a l p e r i o d . I n t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s f a r m i n g was t h e p r i m a r y e c o n o m i c a c t i v i t y o f t h e b u l k o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n i n b o t h F r a m l a n d and West Gos - c o t e . A p a r t f r o m s u c h t r a d i t i o n a l v i l l a g e c r a f t s m e n as t h e b l a c k s m i t h o r t h e c a r p e n t e r , t h e r e was v e r y l i t t l e i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y . By t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s , h o w e v e r , the a g r a r i a n s o c i e t y o f F r a m l a n d was v e r y w e a l t h y i n c o m p a r i s o n w i t h t h e p o v e r t y - A / / 1 Vale o f B e l v o i r 2 . L i g h t S e l l s . o f North-east Framlend 3 Wreak v a l l e y 4 Eastern Uplandt ; 5 fifelland v a l l e y G L i a s s i c Clay S o i l Ji&st L e i c e s t e r s h i r e 7 Sot.r / a l l e y 3 Coal ivieasures 9 Charir.vccd F o r e s t 10 L e i c e s t e r Forest 11 Remainder c f .vest L e i ce r t e r s h i r e 61 stric k e n v i l l a g e s i n West Goscote. In order to explain the d i s p a r i t y of wealth d i s t r i b u t i o n between these two regions we must review the d i s s i m i l a r progress of a g r i c u l t u r a l modernization. We w i l l then see that the ori g i n s of a g r i - c u l t u r a l commercialization i n Framland and of i n d u s t r i a l i - zation i n West Goscote resulted from t h e i r peculiar re- sponses to p a r t i c u l a r socio-economic cris e s within t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l economic systems. Moreover, we w i l l observe that these fundamental economic transformations occurred when the pressures of adversity had forced men to abandon t h e i r habitual a c t i v i t i e s . - 1 - In Framland hundred perhaps 60% of the land belonged to the b e l t of L i a s s i c clay s o i l s which covered the eastern h a l f of the county. 1 None of th i s land was i n f e r t i l e a l - though there were places where i t was heavy and, therefore, d i f f i c u l t to c u l t i v a t e . Enterprising farmers on the clay s o i l s became graziers rather than cereal farmers because t h e i r land was more productive v/hen i t was used f o r pasture than v/hen i t was c u l t i v a t e d . The other 40% of the land i n Framland was a mixture of sandstone and limestone which was 1 See the accompanying map on s o i l structure. 62 l i g h t e r and more e a s i l y worked than the dominant clay s o i l s which surrounded i t on three sides. However, as th i s land was more susceptible to nitrogen depletion than the clay s o i l s i t required substantial f e r t i l i z a t i o n i f i t was to r e a l i z e i t s f u l l p o t e n t i a l . In t h i s section we w i l l see that when circumstances forced farmers to become e f f i c i e n t , s p e c i a l i z e d producers, they could only do so i f they suited t h e i r land with a complementary form of husbandry. Subsistence farming i n Framland broke down f i r s t on the l i g h t s o i l s which were worn out by continuous c u l t i v a t i o n . 1 Without the aid of legumes, farmers on t h i s type of land had to practise a form of mixed farming i n which t h e i r animals' manure replenished the nitrogen that was extracted from the s o i l by t h e i r cereal crops. Mixed farming was, however, beyond the economic competence of the small farmer since, by demanding that a large part of his land be put to pasture, i t required him to own a large number of animals. 1 By the l a t e r fourteenth century the v i l l a g e s on the l i g h t s o i l s were poor as evidenced by the fa c t that they v/ere a l - ready sparsely populated, a f t e r having been the most densely populated part of Leicestershire at the time of the Domesday survey i n 1036. . U n t i l the l a t e r seventeenth century t h i s region v/as among the most t h i n l y populated parts of Leices- t e r s h i r e . (V.C.H., II I , pp. 131, 135, 133, 143.). 63 Many members o f t h e t r a d i t i o n a l p e a s a n t s o c i e t y were d i s - e n f r a n c h i s e d b e c a u s e t h e y c o u l d n o t adap t t o t h e nev/ demands w h i c h p r e s s e d upon them a f t e r t h e y had c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e s o i l ' s n i t r o g e n d e p l e t i o n . A f t e r t h e s m a l l f a m i l y f a r m e r s had l o s t t h e i r t e n a n c i e s t h e s y s t e m o f l a n d h o l d i n g was r e o r g a n i z e d and t h e l a n d v/as r e n t e d t o a s m a l l e r number o f c a p i t a l i s t f a r m e r s . T h i s p r o c e s s was w e l l a d v a n c e d b y t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s when 6 o f t h e 13 p a r i s h e s on t h e l i g h t s o i l b e l t had been t o t a l l y e n c l o s e d . 1 E n c l o s u r e i n t h e l i g h t s o i l b e l t o f F r a m l a n d was f o r m i x e d f a r m i n g and not f o r permanent p a s t u r e , so t h a t w h i l e t h e v i l l a g e s s h r a n k t h e y were no t d e s e r t e d . There w e r e , on t h e a v e r a g e , o n l y 3 6 . 3 h o u s e h o l d s p e r p a r i s h . The labour- f o r c e was r e d u c e d b e c a u s e t h i s e n c l o s u r e was a c c o m p a n i e d b y t h e c r e a t i o n o f l a r g e farms w h i c h u t i l i z e d l a b o u r more e f f i c i e n t l y . I n o u r e x a m i n a t i o n o f p r o b a t e i n v e n t o r i e s f o r t h e y e a r s 1660 t o 1670 we f o u n d t h a t o n l y 26.32% o f t h e 1 The d a t e s a t w h i c h e n c l o s u r e was f i n a l i z e d f o r t h e s e 6 p a r i s h e s were as f o l l o w s : B e s c a b y (1538 ) ; C r o x t o n K e r r i a l ' (1538) ; E a t o n (1575 ) ; S t o n e s b y (1579 ) ; E a s t v / e l l (1656) ; and Goadby Marwood ( 1 6 3 8 - 7 4 ) . ( V . c . H . , I I I , p p . 254 - 9 . ) 2 See A p p e n d i x 1 f o r t h e s o u r c e o f t h i s f i g u r e and t h o s e f o l l o w i n g w h i c h r e l a t e t o t h e s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e o f t h e l i g h t s o i l r e g i o n o f F r a m l a n d . 64 e s t a t e s from t h i s area were worth l e s s than E 25. The r e l a t i v e absence of poor people was a l s o noted i n the Hearth Tax r e t u r n s of 1670 i n which 2 5.6% of the households were exempted because of t h e i r p o v e r t y . However, i n the 6 par- i s h e s which were e n c l o s e d by the mid-seventeenth'century the p o v e r t y r a t e was o n l y 17% as compared to 2 9% f o r the unenclosed p a r i s h e s . Although the f a m i l y farmer was b e i n g r e p l a c e d by the m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d commercial farmer, t h i s process was not complete by the 1660's. Indeed, the l a r g e s t p a r t of the p o p u l a t i o n , 43.43%, was composed of s m a l l independents whose e s t a t e s v a r i e d i n s i z e from £ 2 5 to £ 100. However, almost 75% of t h i s group owned goods worth l e s s than £ 50 s u g g e s t i n g t h a t t h e i r independence was very f r a g i l e . In the l i g h t s o i l area of Framland the wealthy farmer had become the most important f i g u r e by the 1660's. 30.28% of the i n v e n t o r i e s from t h i s r e g i o n were made f o r people who owned more than £ 100.in p o s s e s s i o n s a t the time of t h e i r death. In a d d i t i o n , t h i s group c o n t r o l l e d 75.32% of the moveable wealth, and s i n c e the la n d was the primary source of wealth i t f o l l o w s t h a t perhaps 75% of the land was b e i n g farmed i n l a r g e u n i t s by the 1660's. 65 The i n a b i l i t y o f s u b s i s t e n c e f a r m e r s t o s u r v i v e on t h e l i g h t s o i l s had, t h e r e f o r e , e n a b l e d t h e m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d com- m e r c i a l f a r m e r t o become t h e . c h a r a c t e r i s t i c u n i t o f produc- t i o n . W h i l e t h e mixed f a r m i n g w h i c h t h e y p r a c t i s e d v/as a d e f i n i t e improvement o v e r t h e d i s a s t r o u s system o'f s u b s i s - t e n c e f a r m i n g , i t was not an e s p e c i a l l y p r o d u c t i v e form o f husbandry. These l i g h t s o i l f a r m e r s were n o t t a k i n g advant- age o f t h e i r l a n d ' s t r a c t a b i l i t y o r i t s f r e e d r a i n i n g q u a l i t i e s . M i x e d f a r m i n g was a r e m e d i a l measure r a t h e r than an a c t i v i t y w h i c h promoted an i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n o f c u l t i v a t i o n . The t e c h n i c a l a s p e c t o f f a r m i n g i n t h i s r e g i o n began t o be modernized sometime i n t h e l a t e r s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y , a f t e r the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f c o n v e r t i b l e husbandry had e n a b l e d the l i g h t s o i l f a r m e r s to s p e c i a l i z e t h e i r p r o d u c t i o n by be- coming c e r e a l f a r m e r s . A r a b l e husbandry demanded a l a r g e r l a b o u r f o r c e t h a n mixed f a r m i n g had needed, w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t t h e p o p u l a t i o n o f the l i g h t s o i l s i n c r e a s e d 2 5 % between 1705 and 1801 compared w i t h an i n c r e a s e o f o n l y about 4% i n the g r a z i n g r e g i o n s o f e a s t e r n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e . 1 On t h e c l a y s o i l s i n Framland a g r i c u l t u r a l e f f i c i e n c y c o u l d o n l y be a c h i e v e d when t h e l a n d v/as used f o r p a s t u r e 1 V.C.H., I I I , p. 155. 66 f a r m i n g . Because t h e y were d i f f i c u l t t o work and p o o r l y d r a i n e d , most c l a y s o i l s were n o t s u i t a b l e f o r i n t e n s i v e , m a r k e t - o r i e n t e d c e r e a l p r o d u c t i o n . S u b s i s t e n c e f a r m e r s d i d n o t , h o w e v e r , p o s s e s s enough c a p i t a l t o e s t a b l i s h t h e m s e l v e s as p a s t u r e f a r m e r s . A g r i c u l t u r a l c o m m e r c i a l i z a t i o n c o u l d n o t , t h e r e f o r e , p r o c e e d u n t i l t h e f a m i l y f a r m e r s were r e - p l a c e d b y c a p i t a l i s t g r a z i e r s whose a c t i v i t i e s were c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e w o r l d o f c a s h and c r e d i t . I n r e s p o n s e t o t h e p r i c e r i s e o f t h e s i x t e e n t h and s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s , l a n d l o r d s demanded h i g h e r r e n t s f rom t h e i r t e n a n t s . ' ' " The s m a l l e r t e n a n t s were p l a c e d i n a t e r r i b l y d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n b e c a u s e many o f them c o u l d n o t e a r n more money f r o m t h e i r f a r m s ' p r o d u c e . Those f a m i l y f a r m e r s who were u n a b l e t o meet t h e demands f o r h i g h e r r e n t s d i d n o t g e t t h e i r l e a s e s r e n e w e d . T h e i r l a n d was r e n t e d t o 1 Of c o u r s e , l a n d l o r d s c o u l d o n l y demand h i g h e r r e n t s i f t h e i r l a n d was n o t h e l d b y c o p y h o l d o f i n h e r i t a n c e t e n u r e . The t e rms o f t e n a n c y have not been d i s c o v e r e d ; h o w e v e r , t h e speed w i t h w h i c h t h e b e l t o f h e a v y c l a y s o i l was e n c l o s e d supports t h e c o n t e n t i o n t h a t l a n d l o r d s were n o t r e s t r a i n e d by t h e i r t e n a n t s ' l e g a l r i g h t t o t r a d i t i o n a l r e n t a l p a y m e n t s . I n d e e d , i t was i n t h e l a n d l o r d s ' i n t e r e s t t o have h i s l a n d e n c l o s e d f o r p a s t u r e i n v i e w o f t h e f a c t t h a t t h i s t y p e o f f a r m c o u l d be r e n t e d f o r a l m o s t t h r e e t i m e s as much as o p e n - f i e l d a r a b l e , - b e t w e e n 9 s . 6 d . and l i s . an a c r e a g a i n s t 3 s . 6 d . an a c r e i n t h e m i d - s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y a t D a l b y - o n - t h e - W o l d s , t h e p a r i s h a d j o i n i n g M e l t o n Mowbray on t h e s o u t h . (V. C H . , I I , p . 2 2 5 . ) 67 men who c o u l d p r o v i d e l a n d o w n e r s w i t h more money. Whereas t h e r e o r g a n i z a t i o n o f l a n d h o l d i n g v/as c o m p l e t e d d u r i n g t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y i n t h e v i l l a g e s on t h e h e a v y c l a y s o i l s o f t h e Wreak v a l l e y and t h e E a s t e r n U p l a n d s , i t d i d n o t r e a c h f u l f i l m e n t i n t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r u n t i l a f t e r t h e P a r l i a m e n t a r y A c t s f o r E n c l o s u r e o f t h e l a t e r e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y h a d d i v i d e d t h e t r a d i t i o n a l common f i e l d s i n t o i n d i v i d u a l f a r m s . The d i s e n f r a n c h i s e m e n t o f t h e s u b s i s t e n c e f a r m e r was v e r y r a p i d i n t h e Wreak v a l l e y and t h e E a s t e r n U p l a n d s . By t h e end o f t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y o n l y 3 o f t h e 18 p a r i s h e s on t h e h e a v y c l a y s o i l s v/ere n o t f u l l y e n c l o s e d . F u r t h e r - more , o f t h e s e 3 u n e n c l o s e d p a r i s h e s a t l e a s t one , S t a p l e - f o r d , had e x p e r i e n c e d some movement away f r o m o p e n - f i e l d f a r m i n g b y 1 6 0 3 . 1 Much o f t h e e n c l o s e d l a n d v/as d e v o t e d t o g r a z i n g : a c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i v e a c t i v i t y w i t h a b u i l t - i n b i a s i n f a v o u r 1 The d a t e s when e n c l o s u r e was c o m p l e t e d i n t h e s e 15 p a r i s h e s were as f o l l o w s : M e l t o n Mowbray (1601) ; K i r b y B e l l a r s (1536) ; C o l d O v e r t o n (1631) ; L i t t l e D a l b y ( b e f o r e 1679) ; B u r t o n L a z a r s (1649) ; Thorpe A r n o l d (1601-1700 ) ; W y f o r d b y ( 1 6 1 2 - 7 4 ) ; Saxby ( 1 6 7 4 - 1 7 3 6 ) ; Wymondham (by 1 6 0 7 ) ; Edmonthorpe (by 1 6 0 7 ) ; B u c k m i n s t e r (1579) ; S e w s t e r n (1597) ; C o s t o n ( 1 6 3 4 - 9 ) ; G a r t h o r p e (1674) ; and Sysonby ( e a r l y s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y ) . ( V . C . H . . I I , p p . 254 - 9 . ) . 68 of large-scale enterprise. Because pasture farming created l i t t l e employment for the dispossessed, those people who could not adapt to the agrarian economy's new structure were driven o f f the land. Between 1603 and 1676 the population of the enclosed v i l l a g e s of the Wreak v a l l e y and the Eastern Uplands was declining, 12% and 31% r e s p e c t i v e l y . 1 Leaving aside the market town of Melton Mowbray, the purely a g r i c u l - t u r a l v i l l a g e s ^ i n this region had an average of only 30 house- holds each. 2 The dispossession of the poor farmers was well advanced by 1670 when only 19.2 7% of the households i n t h i s area were exempted from payment of the Hearth Tax because of poverty. Our figures on the d i s t r i b u t i o n of wealth i n the 1660's showed that men with estates valued at more than £ 100 com- posed 30.7% of the population i n the v i l l a g e s on the clay s o i l s . This group controlled 78.2% of the community's wealth. The following examination of the structure of livestock owner- ship i n Melton Mowbray w i l l i l l u s t r a t e the concentration of wealth into the hands of a p a r t i c u l a r kind of farmer - the 1 V. CH. , III, pp. 144 - 5. 2 See- Appendix 2 for the source of t h i s figure and those following which relate to the s o c i a l structure of the heavy clay region of the Wreak v a l l e y and the Eastern Uplands. 69 g r a z i e r . 1 23 o f t h e 57 i n v e n t o r i e s f r o m M e l t o n n o t e d t h a t t h e d e c e a s e d h a d owned a t l e a s t one s h e e p . I n 22 o f t h e s e i n v e n t o r i e s t h e r e was a r e c o r d o f t h e number o f t h e d e c e a s e d ' s s h e e p : 9 p e o p l e owned f e w e r t h a n 19 sheep ; a n o t h e r 9 p e o p l e h e l d b e t w e e n 20 and 99 s h e e p ; and 4 men owned more t h a n 100 s h e e p . The 4 men who e a c h had f l o c k s o f more t h a n 100 sheep owned 68% o f t h e t o t a l ; t h o s e w i t h m e d i u m - s i z e d f l o c k s h a d 26.8%; w h i l e t h e s m a l l men h e l d o n l y 5.7% o f t h e t o t a l . The o w n e r s h i p o f c a t t l e and h o r s e s f o l l o w e d a l o n g t h e same l i n e s : 17 p e o p l e owned f e w e r t h a n 5 a n i m a l s a p i e c e ; 13 h e l d be tween 5 and 19 b e a s t s ; and a n o t h e r 5 men owned more t h a n 20 a n i m a l s e a c h . The w e a l t h i e s t man i n t h e communi ty , Edward S t o k e s , a m e r c e r who d i e d i n 1669, owned a n i m a l s w o r t h £ 1,2 7 3 . He h a d 591 h o g s , 445 s h e e p , 16 o x e n , 9 h o r s e s and 41 h e a d o f c a t t l e . H i s i n v o l v e m e n t i n a r a b l e f a r m i n g v/as l i m i t e d t o 8 a c r e s o f b a r l e y and a n o t h e r 8 a c r e s o f peas and beans w h i c h 1 T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n was g a t h e r e d f r o m t h e p r o b a t e i n v e n t o r i e s made f o r M e l t o n Mowbray r e s i d e n t s be tween 1660 and 1630. The i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e l a r g e s t f a r m e r s may have been u n d e r e s t i m a t e d i n v i e w o f t h e f a c t t h a t men who h e l d l a n d i n more t h a n one c o u n t y h a d t h e i r i n v e n t o r i e s r e g i s t e r e d i n London a t t h e vChancery . The L e i c e s t e r s h i r e i n v e n t o r i e s a r e l o c a t e d i n t h e L e i c e s t e r s h i r e C o u n t y R e c o r d O f f i c e i n L e i c e s t e r . 2 S t o k e s ' e s t a t e had t h e t o t a l v a l u e o f E 1 ,449 . ( L e i c e s t e r - s h i r e . C o u n t y R e c o r d O f f i c e , I n v e n t o r i e s , 1669, 1 4 . ) . 70 were v a l u e d a t E 30 . The f a c t t h a t S t o k e s had i n v e s t e d 87.8% o f h i s c a p i t a l i n t o h i s l i v e s t o c k u n d e r l i n e s t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f g r a z i n g i n t h e a g r i c u l t u r a l economy o f t h e c l a y s o i l s . I n t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s t h e r u r a l economy o f t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r was n o t e n t i r e l y d e v o t e d t o p a s t u r e f a r m i n g . D u r i n g t h e e a r l y s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y i t s r i c h c l a y l a n d was renowned f o r i t s a r a b l e q u a l i t i e s . Because o p e n - f i e l d f a r m i n g was a f l e x i b l e s y s t e r j i t was p o s s i b l e f o r a few g r a z i e r s t o remove t h e m s e l v e s f r o m i t s demands w i t h o u t r u i n i n g t h e r e m a i n i n g f a m i l y f a r m e r s . I n t h e p a r i s h o f B o t t e s f o r d , f o r e x a m p l e , g r a z i e r s and f a m i l y f a r m e r s seemed t o have c o - e x i s t e d . 1 O n l y 1 p a r i s h o f t h e 11 i n t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r was f u l l y 2 e n c l o s e d d u r x n g t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y . By s u c c e s s f u l l y p r a c t i s i n g a r a b l e h u s b a n d r y t h e s m a l l men were a b l e t o h o l d o n t o t h e i r l a n d d u r i n g t h e s e v e n t e e n t h 1 I n B o t t e s f o r d t h e r e were 8 p e o p l e w i t h p o s s e s s i o n s v a l u e d a t more t h a n E 200 as a g a i n s t o n l y 3 p e o p l e o f s i m i l a r w e a l t h i n t h e o t h e r 10 p a r i s h e s i n t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r . See A p p e n d i x 3 f o r t h e s o u r c e o f t h i s f i g u r e and t h o s e f o l l o w i n g w h i c h r e l a t e t o t h e s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e o f t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r . 2 P l u n g a r was c o m p l e t e l y e n c l o s e d by 1612. O t h e r e n c l o s u r e was n o t e d i n t h e e x t r a - p a r o c i a 1 a r e a o f B e l v o i r w h i c h was f u l l y e n c l o s e d b y 1734, w h i l e some e n c l o s u r e t o o k p l a c e i n Hose and N e t h e r B r c u g h t o n i n . 1605 and 1651 r e s p e c t i v e l y . (V. C H . , I I , p p . 254 - 9 . ) . 71 c e n t u r y . The s u c c e s s f u l s u r v i v a l o f t h e p e a s a n t r y was e v i d e n t i n t h e 1670 H e a r t h Tax r e t u r n s w h i c h 80.33% o f t h e h o u s e h o l d s were a b l e t o p a y . The v i l l a g e s i n t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r e a c h h a d , on t h e a v e r a g e , a l m o s t t w i c e as many h o u s e h o l d s as t h e p u r e l y a g r i c u l t u r a l , e n c l o s e d v i l l a g e s o f t h e Wreak v a l l e y and t h e E a s t e r n U p l a n d s - 5 4 . 7 compared t o 30 . The c o m m e r c i a l i z a t i o n o f t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r ' s a g r i - c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y was c o m p l e t e d o n l y a f t e r t h e P a r l i a m e n t a r y E n c l o s u r e s o f t h e l a t e r e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y when t h e l a n d was d i v i d e d i n t o s e p a r a t e f a r m s , t h e r e n t s were t r e b l e d , g r a z i n g became t h e p r e d o m i n a n t f o r m o f h u s b a n d r y and t h e s m a l l f a m i l y f a r m e r was f o r c e d t o g i v e up h i s f a r m , l o o k i n g e l s e - where f o r e m p l o y m e n t . 1 The i n a b i l i t y o f f a m i l y f a r m e r s t o p r a c t i s e a r a b l e h u s b a n d r y i n t h e Wreak v a l l e y , t h e E a s t e r n U p l a n d s and t h e l i g h t s o i l b e l t i n F r a m l a n d r e s u l t e d i n t h e i r r e p l a c e m e n t b y . l a r g e - s c a l e f a r m e r s who were no t p r e s s e d by i m m e d i a t e s u b - s i s t e n c e r e q u i r e m e n t s and c o u l d s u i t t h e i r l a n d w i t h a 1 W . G . H o s k i n s , "The L e i c e s t e r s h i r e C r o p R e t u r n s o f 1 8 0 1 " , i n . H o s k i n s , e d . , S t u d i e s i n L e i c e s t e r s h i r e A g r a r i a n H i s t o r y , ( L e i c e s t e r , 1 9 4 9 ) , p p . 131 - 3 . I t was n o t e d i n t h i s a r t i c l e t h a t t h e Duke o f R u t l a n d owned l a n d i n and a r o u n d t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r w o r t h E 2 1 , 0 0 0 p e r y e a r i n 1809 . A p p a r e n t l y t h e Duke had been moved t o e n c l o s e h i s l a n d by P a r l i a m e n t a r y A c t i n o r d e r t o make i t more p r o f i t a b l e . 72 c o m p l e m e n t a r y f o r m o f h u s b a n d r y . I n c o n t r a s t , t h e commer- c i a l i z a t i o n o f t h e V a l e o f B e l v o i r ' s a g r a r i a n economy was h e l d b a c k b y t h e p e a s a n t f a r m e r s ' i n a b i l i t y t o p r a c t i s e a r a b l e h u s b a n d r y on i t s r i c h c l a y s o i l s . The e s t a b l i s h - ment o f modern , e f f i c i e n t f a r m i n g i n F r a m l a n d o c c u r r e d , t h e r e f o r e , a f t e r t h e f a m i l y f a r m e r s . w e r e d i s p o s s e s s e d b y e i t h e r t h e i r own i n e f f i c i e n c y o r t h e i r l a n d l o r d s ' r e l u c - t a n c e t o p u t up w i t h t h e i n a d e q u a t e income t h e y p r o v i d e d tr h i m . - 2 - The q u a l i t y o f t h e l a n d i n West G o s c o t e f e l l i n t o two d i s s i m i l a r and d i s t i n c t c a t e g o r i e s : p o o r and v e r y g o o d . 1 The r o c k y , b a r r e n s o i l o f Charnwood F o r e s t and t h e West L e i c e s t e r s h i r e C o a l Measure s c o v e r e d p e r h a p s 60% o f West G o s c o t e . The f e r t i l e s o i l o f t h e S o a r r i v e r v a l l e y e x - t e n d e d o v e r t h e o t h e r 40% o f West G o s c o t e . Charnwood h a d n e v e r been a r o y a l f o r e s t b u t h a d been d i v i d e d among t h e a d j a c e n t manors as a p a r t o f t h e i r m a n o r i a l w a s t e . B u t t h e s o i l i n Charnwood F o r e s t was v e r y p o o r q u a l i t y , b a d l y d r a i n e d and i m p o s s i b l e t o c u l t i v a t e b e c a u s e o f i t s s t o n y c o m p o s i t i o n . I t was o n l y s u i t a b l e 1 See t h e accompany ing map on s o i l s t r u c t u r e . 73 f o r rough p a s t u r e . N o n e t h e l e s s , t h e F o r e s t was u s e f u l t o t h e p e a s a n t r y o f t h e s u r r o u n d i n g v i l l a g e s who p a s t u r e d t h e i r a n i m a l s i n i t . 1 I n a d d i t i o n , t h i s u n i n h a b i t e d w a s t e - l a n d was p r o b a b l y one o f t h e havens c h o s e n b y s q u a t t e r s o r o t h e r m a s t e r l e s s men whose numbers mushroomed d u r i n g t h e s i x t e e n t h and s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s . " D r i v e n p a r t l y b y t h e d e p o p u l a t i o n o f o l d - e s t a b l i s h e d v i l l a g e s , p a r t l y by t h e r a p i d r i s e o f p o p u l a t i o n and m o r c e l l a t i o n o f t h e i r a n c e s t r a l t e n e m e n t s , and i n p a r t by t h e a t t r a c t i o n o f new i n d u s t r i e s l i k e m i n i n g and s m e l t i n g , many l a b o u r e r s were d r i f t i n g away f r o m t h e o l d c e n t e r s o f r u r a l p o p u l a t i o n i n t h i s p e r i o d , and r e s e t t l i n g t h e m s e l v e s , w h e r e v e r l a n d r e m a i n e d u n a p p r o - p r i a t e d , i n r o y a l f o r e s t s , on sandy h e a t h s , and b e s i d e wooded s p a c e s . " P o v e r t y was a l s o a m a j o r p r o b l e m i n t h e p a r i s h e s s i t u a t e d on t h e C o a l M e a s u r e s . The p e a s a n t r y were u n a b l e t o w r e s t t h e i r s u b s i s t e n c e needs f r o m t h e r e g i o n ' s s andy , a c i d i c s o i l . A l l 9 p a r i s h e s on t h e C o a l Measure s e x p e r - i e n c e d some e n c l o s u r e d u r i n g t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y w i t h a t l e a s t 4 o f them b e i n g f u l l y e n c l o s e d b e f o r e 1 V . - C . H . , I I , p p . 2 69 - 9 . 2 A . E v e r i t t , " F a r m L a b o u r e r s " , i n T h i r s k , e d . , A g r a r i a n H i s t o r y , p . 409 . 74 1710."'" By e n c l o s u r e , l a n d l o r d s s a l v a g e d some income f r o m t h e i r l a n d . Because t h e l a n d v/as u n s u i t a b l e f o r c u l t i v a - t i o n , t h e p o p u l a t i o n ' s m a i n s o u r c e o f employment v/as i n t h e c o a l m i n e s . The L e i c e s t e r s h i r e mines h a d g r e a t l y e x - panded t h e s c a l e o f t h e i r o p e r a t i o n s i n r e s p o n s e t o t h e g r o w i n g demand f o r d o m e s t i c f u e l w h i c h emerged d u r i n g t h e l a t e r s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y a f t e r t h e n a t u r a l f o r e s t s h a d b e e n r a p a c i o u s l y denuded . The grov/th o f m i n i n g c r e a t e d e m p l o y - ment f o r l a n d l e s s l a b o u r e r s . Of t h e p r o b a t e i n v e n t o r i e s , 37.7% v/ere r e c o r d e d f o r p e o p l e whose p o s s e s s i o n s were v a l u e d a t l e s s t h a n £ 2 5 . 3 S i m i l a r l y , i n t h e 1670 H e a r t h Tax r e - t u r n s , 37.3% o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n were g r a n t e d e x e m p t i o n f rom payment o f t h e t a x . N e a r l y tv/o h o u s e h o l d s i n e v e r y f i v e v/ere c o n s i d e r e d t o be d e s t i t u t e b y t h e i r c o n t e m p o r a r i e s . There was , t h e r e f o r e , a l m o s t t w i c e as much p o v e r t y i n t h e 1 The f o l l o w i n g p a r i s h e s were f u l l y e n c l o s e d b e f o r e 1710: Ashby de l a Zouch (1601) ; C o l e O r t o n (1638) ; P a c k i n g t o n (1609 ) ; and W h i t v / i c k (by 1 7 0 4 ) . I n a d d i t i o n , e n c l o s u r e was f i r s t n o t e d f o r t h e f o l l o w i n g p a r i s h e s b e f o r e 1700: B r e e d o n on t h e H i l l (1541) ; C h a r l e y F o r e s t (1618) ; U l v e r s c r o f t (1540) ; W o r t h i n g t o n (1506 ) ; and Woodhouse Eaves ( 1 6 5 6 ) . ( V . C . H . , I I , p p . 254 - 9 . ) . 2 V . C . H . , I I I , p p . 3 2 - 4 . 3 See A p p e n d i x 4 f o r the s o u r c e o f t h i s f i g u r e and t h o s e f o l l o w i n g w h i c h r e l a t e t o t h e s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e o f t h e p o o r s o i l r e g i o n o f West G o s c o t e . 75 mining region as i n the purely a g r i c u l t u r a l v i l l a g e s of Framland i n which only 20% o f the population were exempted from paying the Hearth Tax. Moreover, the average inventory from the mining region was worth only 50% of the average inventory i n the enclosed v i l l a g e s i n which the grazier figured so largely. By the 1 6 6 0 's, when mining had become a major economic endeavour i n the poor s o i l b e l t of West Goscote, i n d u s t r i a l poverty was already present. The farmland i n the a l l u v i a l v a l l e y of the Soar was very r i c h and f e r t i l e : "The broad flo o d plains produced hay as well as summer pasture, and i t v/as often the supply o f winter fodder that limited stock-rearing. The gravel terraces provided excellent settlement s i t e s with a r e l i a b l e water-supply as well as good, well drained loams for arable farming. 1 , 1 As a r e s u l t of these b e n e f i c i a l conditions, the Soctr v a l l e y had been the most densely populated region i n Leicester- shire, at least since the Domesday survey of 1086 . Since w i l l i n g immigrants had always been available to f i l l any vacant tenancies, the t r a d i t i o n a l system of peasant farming was able to survive u n t i l the seventeenth century. Then, the population boom of the later sixteenth century caused an excessive subdivision of landholdings and the f r a g i l e 1 V.C.H., III, p. 1 3 1 . 76 f a b r i c of peasant society was destroyed. The deleterious e f f e c t s of population growth on the peasant communities of the Soar v a l l e y can be seen most c l e a r l y i n Loughborough. An e c c l e s i a s t i c a l census made i n 1563 found that there v/ere 2 77 households i n Loughborough. If we assume that there were 4.75 persons per household then the population of Loughborough was 1,316 at t h i s time. 1 In 1603 another survey, the Liber C l e r i , recorded that there were 1,200 communicants i n Loughborough. Non-conformity was n e g l i g i b l e . By using a r a t i o of 2.8 communicants per house- hold we found that there were 430 households i n the parish. In a period of f o r t y years the population had r i s e n 62.3%; to 2,042 persons. 2 A large part of t h i s increase must have been absorbed by Loughborough's agrarian economy. In 1563 the Soar v a l l e y was the most densely populated farmland i n Leicestershire with over 20 households per 1000 acres. The population explosion of the next f o r t y years, i n t e n s i f i e d 1 V.C.H., III, p. 166. The assumption that each household had 4.75 persons v/as the re s u l t s of the research of Peter sLaslett which found that household size i n England had re- mained almost constant from the mid-sixteenth century to 1911. ("Size and Structure of the Household i n England over Three Centuries", Population Studies, XXIIl/2, (1969), pp. 199 - 223.). - . 2 V.C.H., III, pp. 142 - 3; 168. 77 t h i s l a n d - p o p u l a t i o n r a t i o t o more t h a n 35 h o u s e h o l d s p e r 1000 a c r e s . 1 The s a t u r a t i o n p o i n t seemed t o have b e e n r e a c h e d b y a b o u t 1603 b e c a u s e by 1670 t h e t o w n ' s p o p u l a t i o n had d e c l i n e d s l i g h t l y as t h e r e were 17 f ewer h o u s e h o l d s a t t h e l a t e r d a t e . The p o p u l a t i o n had c o n t r a c t e d t o 1 , 9 6 1 , a d e c l i n e o f 4%. 2 The H e a r t h Tax r e t u r n s f o r 1670 r e c o r d e d t h a t 178 o f t h e t o w n ' s 413 h o u s e h o l d s v/ere so p o o r t h a t t h e y were exempted f r o m p a y i n g t h e t a x . 3 P o v e r t y - s t r i c k e n h o u s e - h o l d s , 43% o f t h e t o t a l , were more t h a n t w i c e as common i n Loughborough as t h e y were i n M e l t o n Mowbray. The i m p a c t o f a d d i t i o n a l p e o p l e meant t h a t e i t h e r l a n d h o l d i n g s were d i v i d e d and i n e q u a l i t y among t h e f a r m e r s became more common o r e l s e an enormous l a b o u r i n g p o p u l a t i o n grew up i n L o u g h b o r o u g h . P r o b a b l y a c o m b i n a t i o n o f t h e s e two a l t e r n a t i v e s o c c u r r e d . The r e d u c e d o u t p u t f r o m t h e f a rms o f many c o t t a g e r s were t o o s m a l l t o s u s t a i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s . I n o r d e r t o p u r c h a s e enough f o o d t o c o n t i n u e l i v i n g t h e s e men were d r i v e n i n t o e i t h e r wage l a b o u r o r 1 1 V . C . H . , I I I , p p . 138; 143 . 2 V . C . H . , I I I , p . 171 . 3 See A p p e n d i x 5 f o r t h e s o u r c e o f t h i s f i g u r e and t h o s e f o l l o w i n g w h i c h r e l a t e t o t h e s o c i o - e c o n o m i c s t r u c t u r e o f t h e v i l l a g e s i n t h e S o a r v a l l e y . 78 mortgaging t h e i r land. In the Loughborough inventories for the years 1660 - 1680 there was a remarkably large amount of money from outstanding debts credited to people's estates. Altogether 75 out of 134 noted that the deceased had money owing to him upon his death. 2 3 of these people had lent out sums t o t a l l i n g £ 2,760. Undoubtedly some of the town's wealthier residents had benefitted from t h e i r neighbour's misfortunes by f i r s t lending them money and then receiving s t r i p s of land when payments could not be met. Those house- holds whose landholdings were reduced by such foreclosures did not, l i k e t h e i r counterparts i n Framland, get thrown off the land. The f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l enabled the cottager to r e a l i z e large y i e l d s from his few s t r i p s of land. Further- more, the f a c t that many farmers turned t h e i r attention to dairy farming was advantageous to the cottager since t h i s labour-intensive enterprise created part-time employment which gave him additional income. Perhaps the land was alienated s t r i p by s t r i p i n which case the process of a t t r i - t i o n would have been prolonged. The existence of a very large number of indigent cottagers combined with the s u r v i v a l of many family farmers to f r u s t r a t e most attempts to reor- ganize the common f i e l d s into large, individually-operated farms. Enclosure v/as not an important phenomenon i n the Soar v a l l e y during the seventeenth century as only 1 place 79 was f u l l y e n c l o s e d , w h i l e 2 o t h e r s e x p e r i e n c e d some e n c l o s u r e . 1 Because t h e p o o r were n e i t h e r t h r o w n o f f t h e l a n d n o r g i v e n n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l w o r k , endemic underemployment was common i n t h e v i l l a g e s o f t h e Soar v a l l e y d u r i n g t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s . The p o r t i o n o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n w h i c h s o l d i t s l a b o u r was c a u g h t be tween t h e S c y l l a o f a low demand f o r l a b o u r and C h a r y b d i s o f t h e o v e r s u p p l y o f l a b o u r e r s . P o v e r t y was , t h e r e f o r e , a m a j o r p r o b l e m i n the v i l l a g e s o f t h e Soar v a l l e y i n t h e 1 6 6 0 ' s . 40 .5% o f t h e i n v e n t o r i e s were made f o r p e o p l e whose e s t a t e s were v a l u e d a t l e s s t h a n £ 2 5 . A n o t h e r 21.4% o f t h e i n v e n t o r i e s were made f o r p e o p l e whose p o s s e s s i o n s were w o r t h b e t w e e n £ 25 and £ 50 . Thus , 61.9% o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n , t h r e e h o u s e h o l d s i n f i v e , v/ere e i t h e r i n d i g e n t o r u n c o m f o r t a b l y c l o s e t o p o v e r t y . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e p r o b l e m o f p o v e r t y i n t h e Soar v a l l e y was compounded b y t h e f a c t t h a t t h e v i l l a g e s were v e r y l a r g e w h i c h meant t h a t , 1 B e l t o n was f u l l y e n c l o s e d by 1625, w h i l e T h u r c a s t o n and Long W h a t t o n e x p e r i e n c e d some e n c l o s u r e i n t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y , f i r s t n o t e d i n 1600 and 1664 r e s p e c t i v e l y . How- e v e r , some e n c l o s u r e h a d t a k e n p l a c e i n t h e Soar v a l l e y i n e a r l i e r t i m e s : D i s h l e y was f u l l y e n c l o s e d by 1529 and Wan- l i p was d e s c r i b e d as b e i n g an " o l d e n c l o s u r e " i n 162 5, w h i l e - a s e c t i o n o f C a s t l e D o n i n g t o n had been i m p a r k e d i n 1482. ( V . C . H . , I I , p p . 2 54 - 9 . ) . 80 i n absolute terms, there were a great many poor people i n each v i l l a g e . There were an average of 104 households per parish with the r e s u l t that each parish had an average of 42 households which were indigent. In comparison, the smaller v i l l a g e s i n Framland, which had an average of only 45 households and a poverty rate of 2 0%, had an average of only 9 indigent households. Primary pqverty, s i g n i f i e d by the ownership of possessions worth less than £ 10, was a much greater pro- blem i n the Soar v a l l e y that i n the enclosed v i l l a g e s of the Wreak v a l l e y and the Eastern Uplands. In the Soar v a l l e y 18.3% of the inventories were made for people who can be considered destitute. Whereas i n the enclosed v i l l a g e s on the heavy clay s o i l s i n Framland only 7.3% of the population were i n such s t r a i t s . Mien we look at this problem i n absolute terms, primary poverty i n the average v i l l a g e i n the Soar v a l l e y can be seen to be an even more serious s o c i a l e v i l . There were 18.9 destitute households per parish i n the Soar v a l l e y compared to 3.4 destitute households in the Framland v i l l a g e s which were devoted to grazing. Thus, primary poverty was almost six times as common i n the economically backwards v i l l a g e s as i t was i n v i l l a g e s which were a g r i c u l t u r a l l y commercialized. Poverty 81 i n the Soar v a l l e y was q u a l i t a t i v e l y d i f f e r e n t from that i n Framland because the poor existed as a class which s t i l l played a role i n the region's economy i n comparison to the irrevelance of t h e i r counterparts to the grazing economy of Framland. The progress of a g r i c u l t u r a l s p e c i a l i z a t i o n i n the Soar v a l l e y was hindered by the cottagers' i n a b i l i t y to survive on the -produce from a few s t r i p s of land, supple- mented by the income which they received from part-time wage labour. In order to supply subsistence needs a con- siderable amount of land was not available for conversion to dairy pasture. Moreover, the wealthier farmers were reluctant to devote t h e i r attention s o l e l y to dairy farming as long as they could p r o f i t a b l y supply the cottagers' and labourers' demands for food. The commercialization of the Soar v a l l e y ' s agrarian economy was not completed by the 1660's because arable husbandry and subsistence farming could be succ e s s f u l l y practised on i t s r i c h a l l u v i a l s o i l . The Soar valley's socio-economic p r o f i l e i n the 1660's was characterized by a substantial number of poverty-stricken households. .Many of these households were destitute; a l l of them were underemployed. The existence of a large number of poor people was, at once, both cause and e f f e c t of the 82 a g r a r i a n economy ' s b r e a k d o w n . S t a g n a t i o n was i n e v i t a b l e as l o n g as new forms o f employment were n o t f o u n d t o remedy t h i s s i t u a t i o n . The abundance o f l a b o u r e r s who were d e s - p e r a t e l y i n need o f employment and s u p p l e m e n t a r y i n c o m e , h o w e v e r , a t t r a c t e d c a p i t a l i s t h o s i e r s who needed cheap l a b o u r i n o r d e r t o e s t a b l i s h t h e f ramework k n i t t i n g i n d u s t r y . I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n was n o t o n l y a r e s p o n s e t o t h e a g r a r - i a n economy ' s b reakdown b u t became a p o w e r f u l r e a s o n f o r i t s c o n t i n u e d s t a g n a t i o n . I n a d d i t i o n t o c r e a t i n g a w h o l l y new f o r m o f employment w h i c h drew l a b o u r e r s away f r o m t h e i r a l m o s t t o t a l dependence upon f a r m w o r k , i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n t r i g g e r e d a g r o w t h i n t h e r a n k s o f t h o s e l a n d l e s s wage w o r k e r s who h a d t o p u r c h a s e t h e i r f o o d and s u s t e n a n c e . I n L o u g h b o r o u g h , f o r e x a m p l e , t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f f ramework k n i t t i n g was a c c o m p a n i e d b y r a p i d p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h . The p o p u l a t i o n w h i c h f o r 70 y e a r s h a d been s t a g n a n t , s h o t u p - w a r d s b e t w e e n 1670 and 1705. I n t h e s e 35 y e a r s t h e town added 556 p e o p l e , an i n c r e a s e o f 29%. The r a p i d g r o w t h c o n t i n u e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y and by 1801 Loughborough h a d 4 , 6 0 3 r e s i d e n t s . 1 The b u l k o f t h i s g r o w t h 1 V . C . H . , I I I , p . 145 . 83 was divor c e d from the land. Indeed, growth was p o s s i b l e only i n s o f a r as the town's economy became n o n - a g r i c u l t u r a l . The a g r a r i a n economy's response to the enlarged demand f o r food was i n c o n c l u s i v e : on the one hand the fortunes of the farmers producing f o r the market were promoted, but on the other hand the c o t t a g e r s ' a b i l i t y to r e t a i n t h e i r p a r c e l s of land was r e i n f o r c e d w i t h the r e s u l t t h a t the r e o r g a n i - z a t i o n of the land i n t o l a r g e , e f f i c i e n t productive u n i t s was f r u s t r a t e d . 84 SUMMARY The r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l e n t e r p r i s e was a t r e m e n d o u s l y i m p o r t a n t s t a g e i n e c o n o m i c m o d e r n i z a t i o n . I t has been c o g e n t l y n o t e d t h a t " a n o b l i g a t o r y p r e - c o n d i t i o n f o r t h e c o n t i n u o u s e x p a n s i o n o f c i t i e s and a s p e c i a l i s t w o r k f o r c e must be a f o o d s u r p l u s ; however s m a l l a p e r c e n t a g e o f t h e t o t a l c r o p t h i s s u r p l u s r e p r e s e n t e d , i t had t o be p r e s e n t and i t ' h a d t o be r e l i a b l e . " 1 As a r e s u l t o f t h e r e v o l u t i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l t e c h n i q u e s and o r g a n i z a t i o n w h i c h was i n i t i a t e d d u r i n g t h e s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h i s p r e - c o n d i t i o n was s a t i s f i e d . I n d e e d , u n t i l t h e p o p u l a t i o n boom o f t h e l a t e r e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y , E n g l a n d e x p o r t e d c e r e a l s . A new d i v i s i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r a l l a b o u r emerged i n t h e c e n t u r y p r i o r t o t h e I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n d e s p i t e t h e f a c t t h a t a p o o r s y s t e m o f d i s t r i b u t i o n k e p t t h e r e s u l t s o f a g r i c u l t u r a l i n n o v a t i o n f r o m b e i n g f e l t i m m e d i a t e l y t h r o u g h - o u t t h e c o u n t r y . I n a d d i t i o n t o f e e d i n g more p e o p l e , t h e c r e a t i o n o f l a r g e c e r e a l ' s u r p l u s e s d i r e c t l y a f f e c t e d t h e many m a r g i n a l p r o d u c e r s who f o u n d t h a t when g r a i n p r i c e s were f a l l i n g 1 E . L . J o n e s and S . J . W o o l f , " I n t r o d u c t i o n " , i n J o n e s and W o o l f , e d s . , A g r a r i a n Change and Economic D e v e l o p m e n t , p . 14. 85 t h e y e i t h e r had t o i n n o v a t e o r e l s e be s l o w l y f o r c e d out o f f a r m i n g i n t o the l a b o u r market. The p e r i o d between 1660 and 1750 w i t n e s s e d t h e f i n a l d e c l i n e o f t h e s m a l l owner- o c c u p i e r s and t h e s m a l l t e n a n t f a r m e r s . . The d i s a p p e a r a n c e of t h e p e a s a n t r y d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d was caused by a com- b i n a t i o n o f low and f l u c t u a t i n g p r i c e s , heavy t a x a t i o n p a r t i c u l a r l y 'between 1688 and 1715, as w e l l as t h e i n e x o r - a b l e p r e s s u r e s o f the market economy w h i c h i n t e n s i f i e d t h e d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n and s t r a t i f i c a t i o n w i t h i n the p e a s a n t r y . The f a c t t h a t l a n d l o r d s f a v o u r e d l e a s i n g t h e i r l a n d i n l a r g p a r c e l s meant t h a t t h e p r o c e s s o f c o n c e n t r a t i o n was a c c e l e r a t e d : s m a l l t e n a n t s e x p e r i e n c e d d i f f i c u l t i e s i n h a v i n g t h e i r l e a s e s renewed. By t h e l a s t y e a r s o f t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h e t r a d i t i o n a l , s u b s i s t e n c e f a r m e r had ceased t o e x i s t w h i l e t h e numerous s m a l l p e a s a n t s had been c o n v e r t e d i n t o v/age-earners. The f o r m a t i o n o f an enormous p o o l o f underemployed l a b o u r was a most i m p o r t a n t b y - p r o d u c t o f a g r i c u l t u r a l m o d e r n i z a t i o n . No l o n g e r d i d most men have t o s t r u g g l e i : w i t h t h e l a n d i n o r d e r t o f e e d t h e m s e l v e s . As a r e s u l t o f t h e r e v o l u t i o n i n f a r m i n g t h e most n e c e s s a r y form o f economic a c t i v i t y c o u l d be performed by a f r a c t i o n o f t h e community. The remainder o f t h e l a b o u r f o r c e was f r e e d f o r 86 employment i n such 'secondary' a c t i v i t i e s as b u s i n e s s , i n d u s t r y and s e r v i c e . The products o f these 'secondary' a c t i v i t i e s v/ere demanded and bought by the prosperous farmers whose p u r c h a s i n g power was of g r e a t s i g n i f i c a n c e i n s u s t a i n i n g i n f a n t i n d u s t r i e s . Areas i n v/hich domestic i n d u s t r y l o c a t e d had been unable t o become a g r i c u l t u r a l market producers. R u r a l i n - d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n ; , t h e r e f o r e , emerged i n response to a c r i s i s w i t h i n the a g r a r i a n economy. Because the t e c h n i c a l aspect of domestic i n d u s t r y was u s u a l l y simple i t c o u l d e a s i l y be combined w i t h p a r t - t i m e a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s . C o t t a g e r - l a b o u r e r s purchased g r a i n i n the l o c a l market w h i l e u s i n g t h e i r land to p r o v i d e t h e i r f a m i l i e s v/ith m i l k and cheese. Labourers w i t h two sources o f income were cushioned from the uneven demands of the labour market. The man whose s o l e source of income came from i n d u s t r i a l employment, however, was i n a p r e c a r i o u s p o s i t i o n because' he had no i n s u r a n c e t o t i d e him over d u r i n g slow p e r i o d s . The s u b s e r v i e n c e of labour to c a p i t a l was i n s t i t u t i o n - a l i z e d by the e x p l o i t a t i v e p r a c t i c e of underemploying a v e r y l a r g e number of outworkers. P r o d u c t i o n was c o n t r o l l e d by a merchant c a p i t a l i s t who 'put out' work to c o t t a g e r s , paying them a p i e c e - r a t e to perform simple, r e p e t i t i v e 87 -? o p e r a t i o n s . The r u r a l d o m e s t i c w o r k e r c o u l d b e p a i d a v e r y s m a l l wage s i n c e h i s l i v i n g c o s t s w e r e l o w w h i l e h i s n e e d f o r w o r k was g r e a t . I n t h i s way t h e w o r k i n g m a n ' s d e s i r e t o a g i t a t e f o r h i g h e r wages was r e s t r a i n e d b y h i s k n o w l e d g e t h a t he was o n l y t o o d i s p e n s a b l e . He h a d t o a c c e p t w h a t h e was o f f e r e d . F u r t h e r m o r e , i t was i n t h e c a p i t a l i s t s ' i n t e r e s t t o move h i s e n t e r p r i s e away f r o m h i g h - w a g e c e n t e r s l i k e L o n d o n . The r e l a t i v e l a c k o f i n - d u s t r i a l c o n c e n t r a t i o n , t h e r e f o r e , p r e s e n t e d l a b o u r d i s - s i d e n t s w i t h f o r m i d a b l e p r o b l e m s i n o r g a n i z i n g o p p o s i t i o n t o w o r k i n g c o n d i t i o n s . S i n c e t h e b r u n t o f t h e d e f i c i t c o u l d b e p a s s e d o n t o t h e l a b o u r f o r c e , t h e s t r u c t u r e o f i n d u s t r i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n f r e e d t h e e n t r e p r e n e u r f r o m i n - c u r r i n g l o s s e s d u r i n g t r a d e r e c e s s i o n s , w h i l e d u r i n g t i m e s o f h e a v y demand , h e c o u l d c a l l o n t h e l a r g e r e s e r v o i r o f u n d e r e m p l o y e d l a b o u r e r s who w e r e o n l y t o o h a p p y t o b e f u l l y e m p l o y e d f o r a c h a n g e . S u c h a l o o s e f o r m o f b u s i n e s s o r g a n i z a t i o n was w e l l - a d a p t e d t o i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y s o l o n g as i n d u s t r i a l t e c h n o l o g y r e m a i n e d b a c k w a r d s , r e l y i n g o n m a n - p o w e r r a t h e r t h a n m a c h i n e - p o w e r . I n p a r t i c u l a r , o u r e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e s o c i o - e c o n o m i c t r a n s - f o r m a t i o n o f L e i c e s t e r s h i r e h a s shown t h a t e c o n o m i c m o d e r n i z a t i o n was a c h i e v e d i n two w a y s : F r a m l a n d b e c a m e 88 a g r i c u l t u r a l l y commercialized as farmers became devoted to improving t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r , s p e c i a l i z e d form of a g r i c u l - t u r a l enterprise; while i n West Goscote the breakdown of the agrarian economy created conditions which resulted i n r u r a l i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . 89 STATISTICAL APPENDICES I n t r o d u c t i o n The 1670 H e a r t h Tax r e t u r n s and p r o b a t e i n v e n t o r i e s were t h e s o u r c e s f r o m w h i c h t h e s o c i o - e c o n o m i c p r o f i l e s o f t h e f a r m i n g c o m m u n i t i e s were d r a w n . The H e a r t h T a x . r e t u r n s have b e e n r e p r i n t e d i n t h e V . C . H . , I I I , p p . 170 - 2. The p r o b a t e i n v e n t o r i e s were s t u d i e d a t t h e L e i c e s t e r s h i r e County R e c o r d O f f i c e i n L e i c e s t e r . These documents , made by a man ' s n e i g h b o u r s s h o r t l y a f t e r h i s d e a t h , summar ized t h e d e c e a s e d ' s p o s s e s s i o n s and e s t i m a t e d t h e i r v a l u e , somet imes a r t i c l e by a r t i c l e , b u t more o f t e n i n g r o u p s s u c h as l i v e s t o c k , f u r n i t u r e , h o u s e h o l d u t e n s i l s , r e a d y money and c r e d i t , as w e l l as h i s c r o p s e i t h e r i n t h e g r o u n d o r i n s t o r a g e . I n an economy w i t h o u t b a n k i n g f a c i l i t i e s men showed t h e i r t h r i f t i n a c c u m u l a t i n g t h o s e t h i n g s w h i c h p a s s e d a t t h e i r d e a t h . 1 T h u s , p r o b a t e i n v e n t o r i e s p r o v i d e t h e h i s t o r i a n w i t h an e x t r e m e l y r a r e i n s i g h t i n t o t h e d i s - t r i b u t i o n o f w e a l t h i n r u r a l c o m m u n i t i e s . / ; : : : - The raw s t a t i s t i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n has been u sed t o c o n - s t r u c t t h r e e t a b l e s : T a b l e I r e p e a t s t h e 1670 H e a r t h Tax 1 R . H . Tawney, " H i s t o r i c a l I n t r o d u c t i o n " , T . W i l s o n , A D i s - c o u r s e Upon U s u r y , (London, 1925), p p . 103 - 4. 90 returns in order to show the relative prevalence of poverty in the various regions and to show the size of the popula- tion in each parish so that we can create an average parish size; Table II described the distribution of population among different economic stations; and Table III recons- tructs the average community for each region, showing how many households from this average parish were found in the various economic stations. By creating ideal parishes for our 5 regions we can contrast their socio-economic profiles, and therefore see their dissimilar progress towards agri- cultural modernization. The ideal or standard parish was, in fact, very rare, but for the purposes of analysis i t is a necessary conceptual tool. REGION SOIL TYPE DEGREE OF AGRICULTURAL MODERNIZATION ( late 17th century) Wreak Val ley HEAVY CLAY SOIL and the Eastern Uplands - MELTON MOWBRAY - d i f f i c u l t to c u l t i v a t e - poor dra in ing Subsistence farming long since superseded; agr icul- t u r a l l y commercialized grazing VALE OP BELVOIR RICH CLAY SOIL - not d i f f i c u l t to c u l t i v a t e - l i a b l e to f looding Subsistence farming was prac t i sed on the Vale ' s r i c h c lay s o i l - very l i t t l e progress towards a g r i c u l t u r a l commer- c i a l i z a t i o n NORTH-EAST FRAMLAND Soar Va l ley - LOUGH- BOROUGH LIGHT UPLAND SOIL - easy to work - free dra in ing - suscept ible to n i t rogen deplet ion Unsuitable to subsistence farming because of sus- c e p t i b i l i t y to nitrogen dep le t ion ; a g r i c u l t u r a l l y commercialized - mixed farming FERTILE ALLUVIAL SOIL Rich s o i l enabled subs i s - exce l l en t arable loams easy to work* f e r t i l e good meadowland on r i v e r banks tence farmers to survive ; large numbers o f cottager-labourers REMAINDER of COAL MEASURES Unsuitable for subsis- WEST GOSCOTE - t h i n a c i d i c s o i l tence, arable farming. - poor for arable Coal mining. CHARNWOOD FOREST - hard stony s o i l that was impossible to c u l t i v a t e 91 ENCLOSURE (before 1700) 15 of 18 parishes f u l l y enclosed; 1 other p a r i s h p a r t i a l l y enclosed SIZE OF AVERAGE VILLAGE (households 1670) 30 Melton Mow- bray, the mar- ket town, had 430 households WEALTH DISTRIBUTION Average (Inventory 1660*s) E 112 7s. COMMENTS Wealthiest area , l i t t l e poverty . Large-scale commercialized g raz ing . Enclosure n e g l i g i b l e as only 1 o f 11 parishes f u l l y enclosed; 2 other parishes experienced some enclosure 54.9 £ 75 Persistence of peasant farming 6 of 13 parishes completely enclosed 36.3 E 92 8s. Wealthy reg ion ; mixed farming 2 of 15 v i l l a g e s enclosed by 1530's; 1 more v i l l a g e enclosed by 1625; 2 other v i l l a g e s experienced some enclosure i n l a t e r 17th century 81.4 Loughborough, the market town, had 413 households £ 68 10s. High r e c e p t i v i t y to i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n because desperate a g r i c u l t u r a l poverty pushed people in to i n d u s t r i a l labour A l l 9 parishes experienced some enclosure; 4 parishes f u l l y enclosed 62.2 £ 57 10s. Commitment to coa l mining; rough graz ing 92 Table I Par i sh Paying Exempt To ta l Bescaby* - ' - - Branston 27 10 37 Croxton K e r r i a l 37 12 49 Eastwel l 22 - 22 Eaton 28 10 28 Goadby Marwood 20 3 23 Harston 18 7 25 Knipton 22 15 37 Sal tby 25 8 33 Seal ford 41 26 67 Sproxton 36 5 41 Stonesby 27 4 31 Waltham on the Wolds 50 21 71 351 74.4% 121 25,6% 472 At the time o f the 1670 Hearth Tax each. Appendix 1 Table II Table I I I Value of Possessions £ 0 - 1 0 10 - 25 25 - 50 50 - 100 100 - 200 200 - 500 500 over People 9 11 24 9 12 10 _1 76 Tota l Value C 48.60 199.05 861.90 624.60 1,746.05 3,010.50 533.55 % of % of Population Wealth 11.8 14.5 31.6 11.8 15.8 13.2 1.3 . . 7 2.8 12.3 8.9 24.8 42.9 7.6 Value of Possessions C 0 - 1 0 10 - 25 25 - 50 50 - 100 100 - 200 200 - 500 500 over Households 4.6 5.7 12.4 4.6 6.2 5.2 .6 7,024.25 average £ 92 8s. the average s ize of the 12 inhabited parishes i n the b e l t o f l i g h t s o i l i n Framland was 39.3 households 1 Bescaby had been completely enclosed and depopulated by 1538 and became a part of the par i sh of Saltby (W.G. Hoskins, "The L e i c e s t e r s h i r e Crop Returns o f 1801", i n Hoskins, e d . , Studies i n Le ices ter sh i re Agrarian Hi s tory , p . 151. 93 Par i sh Ab Kett leby Buckutinster Burton Lazars Cold Overton Coston Edmonthorpe Garthorpe Kirby B e l l a r s L i t t l e Dalby Helton Mowbray Saxby Sewstern Somerby Stapleford Sysonby Thorpe Arnold Wyfordby Wymondham Table I Paying Exempt Tota l 26 4 30 10 10 6 9 9 6 2 9 56 3 6 11 Value of Appendix 2 Table II Tota l 25 30 20 22 15 23 25 18 284 18 30 39 29 7 24 16 40 691 24 165 35 40 26 31 24 29 27 27 340 21 36 50 29 7 24 16 64 856 Possessions Value % of % of £ People E Population Wealth 0 - 10 10 51.05 7.3 .3 10 - 25 27 463.20 19.7 3.0 25 - 50 34 1,148.55 24.8 7.5 50 - 100 24 1,677.10 17.5 10.9 100 - 200 19 2,763.75 13.9 17.9 200 - 500 19 5,882.65 13.9 38.2 500 over 4 3,403.45 2.9 22.1 137 15,389.75 • average C 112 7s. Table I I I Value of Possessions £ Households Socio-economic p r o f i l e o f the purely a g r i c u l t u r a l v i l l a g e s which had an average of 30 households each. 0 - 10 2.1 10 - 25 5.9 25 - 50 7.5 50 - 100 5.2 100 - 200 4.2 200 - 500 4.2 500 over .8 The 18 parishes which were located i n the Wreak v a l l e y and on the Eastern Uplands had a t o t a l of 856 households i n 1670. The average s i z e of each par i sh was, therefore , 47.6 households. However, i f we only look at the purely a g r i c u l t u r a l v i l l a g e s then the average s i ze of these parishes was 30 households each. The market town of Melton Mowbray had 340 households, making i t more than 10 times as large as the pure ly agr icu l - t u r a l v i l l a g e s which surrounded i t . Poverty was not a serious problem i n e i ther Melton Mowbray or the surrounding v i l l a g e s as only 16.5% of Melton's res idents and 21.1% of the people l i v i n g i n the grazing v i l l a g e s were exempted from paying the Hearth Tax. 80.7% 19.3% 94 Table I 80.3% 19.7% In the 10 parishes of the Vale of Be lvo i r there were 549 households i n 1670. Each par i sh had, therefore , an average of 54.9 households. Value of Appendix 3 Table II To ta l Table I I I Value o f 1 Par i sh Paying Exempt Tota l Possessions £ People Value £ % of Population % of Wealth Possessions £ Households Barkestone 29 9 38 0 - 1 0 9 55.80 9.2 .7 0 - 10 5.0 Bottesford 52 15 67 10 - 25 19 291.60 19.4 4.0 10 - 25 10.6 Harby 49 5 54 25 - 50 27 977.20 27.6 13.3 25 - 50 15.2 Hose 42 20 62 50 - 100 19 1,330.50 19.4 18.1 50 - 100 10.6 Long Glawson 75 11 86 100 - 200 13 1,702.10 13.3 23.2 100 - 200 7.3 Muston 35 14 49 200 - 500 11 2,991.40 11.2 40.7 200 - 500 6.1 Nether Broughton 47 8 55 500 over « -^> 500 over Plungar 19 8 27 98 7,347.60 Redmile 43 6 49 average £ 75 0s. Strathern 50 441 12 108 62 549 1 The extra-parochia l area of B e l v o i r , the residence of the Manners family who were the Dukes of Rutland, was not included i n the 1670 Hearth Tax re turns . Table I Parish Paying Exempt Total Ashby de l a Zouche 167 49 216 Breedon on the H i l l 29 24 53 Cole Orton 38 39 77 Charley Forest 8 4 12 Packington 40 13 53 Seal 21 21 UIverscroft 7 - 7 Whitwick 42 17 59 Woodhouse Eaves 32 41 73 Worthington 46 67 113 430 254 684 62.7% 37.3% The 10 parishes i n the poor s o i l region of West Goscote had 684 resident households ate the time of the Hearth Tax i n 1670. Each parish had, on the average, 68.4 households. i 95 Appendix 4 Table II Value of Total Possessions Value % of £ People £ Population o - 10 20 95.10 15.4 10 - 25 29 488.85 22.3 25 - 50 36 1,280.30 27.7 50 - 100 20 1,356.30 15.4 100 - 200 20 > 3,055.40 15.4 200 - 500 . 5 1,199.85 3.8 130 7,475.79 average £ 57 10s. Table I I I Value of % of Possessions Wealth £ Households 1.3 0 - 1 0 10.5 6.5 10 - 25 15.2 17.1 2 5 - 5 0 19.1 18.1 50 - 100 10.5 40.9 100 - 200 10.5 16.1 200 - 500 2.5 500 over 96 Table I Par i sh Paying Exempt To ta l Belton 47 21 68 Cas t le Donington 99 51 150 Diseworth 57 26 83 Dishley Thorpe Acre 15 6 21 Hathern 61 11 72 Kegworth 63 50 113 Lockington 20 21 41 Long Hhatton 44 31 75 Loughborough 235 178 413 Mountsorrel 84 84 168 Osgathorpe 21 9 30 Quorndon 61 50 111 Shepshed 120 33 153 Thurcaston 24 12 36 Wanlip 12 4 16 966 587 1,553 62.2% 37.8% The average s i z e of the 15 parishes i n the Soar V a l l e y was 103.6 households each. Loughborough, the market town, had 413 house- holds i n 1670. I f we exclude i t from con- s i d e r a t i o n , then the average s i ze of the remaining 14 parishes was 81.4 households each. Appendix 5 Table I I Value of T o t a l Possessions Value % Of £ People £ Populat 0 - 1 0 56 326.10 18.3 10 - 25 68 1,134.80 22.2 25 - 50 65 2,345.95 21.4 50 - 100 63 3,760.20 17.3 100 - 200 41 5,637.30 13.4 200 - 500 19 5,301.55 6.2 500 over 4 2,266.85 1.3 306 20,962.75 average £ 68 10s. Table I I I Value o f % of Possessions Wealth £ Households 1.5 0 - 1 0 18.9 5.4 1 0 - 2 5 22.9 11.2 2 5 - 5 0 22.4 17.9 50 - 100 17.9 26.9 100 - 200 14.0 25.3 200 - 500 6.7 10.8 500 over 1.3 97 BIBLIOGRAPHY A l l i t e m s i n t h e B i b l i o g r a p h y a r e a v a i l a b l e i n t h e L i b r a r y o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , e x c e p t t h o s e marked w i t h an a s t e r i s k . 1. PRIMARY SOURCES * O r i g i n a l M a n u s c r i p t s i n t h e L e i c e s t e r County R e c o r d O f f i c e : P r o b a t e I n v e n t o r i e s , 1660 - 1680. 2 . 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