Rural Life in Early Modern Europe IV

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  • Rural Life in Early Modern Europe IV: extract from Samuel Hartlib, 'The Compleat Husband-Man: or, A discourse of the whole art of husbandry; both forraign and domestick' (1659)
    • Places mentioned by Hartlib
      • Saltmarsh at Hole Haven in Essex
      • Isle of Axholme in north-west Lincolnshire
      • Fens of south Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon
      • Brill in Buckinghamshire Chilterns
      • Romney Marsh in Kent
    • Participants in Axholme
      • All upper-class people
        • Sir Philip Vernatti
        • Cavelleum Avis
        • Corneius Vermuyden
    • Agricultural Improvement in Hartlib's day
      • Growing population puts pressure on land
      • Landowners keen to exploit their estates
      • Problem of 'the poor' often linked to survival of waste
      • Great admiration of Dutch and Flemish improvements
    • Why did the ideas of theoretical writers, like Hartlib, on improvemed farming run ahead of practice?
      • Rural population quite conservative
      • Money was major constraining force for estate-owners and landowners
    • Who objected to improvements and why?
      • People on the ground
      • Landless people
      • Resistance in Axholm
        • Wider attack on their way of life
          • e.g. communal farmer, shooting wild fowl, fish
      • Resistance in parts of Lincolnshire
    • What gains to society did such improvements bring?
      • Growth of bigger farms
      • Bigger estates had money for improvements
        • Capital resources to improve farms
      • Increased food production
      • Arable farming
        • Better understanding of manuring and soils
    • Why were continental precedents so much admired in England in this period?
      • Dutch
        • Royalists (exiled to Holland following civil war) admired their farming system
        • Fellow protestants

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