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Title: Landownership in Cumbria, c.1680-c.1750
Author: Beckett, John Vincent
ISNI:       0000 0001 3453 4156
Awarding Body: University of Lancaster
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 1975
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The importance of landownership in pre-industrial society has never been in dispute. The aim of this thesis is to analyse the evidence of a single region - Cumbria - in the light of the current debate about the pattern of landownership and its underlying causes. Chapter one reviews the debate as it has developed over the past three decades, and is followed by three chapters analysing the social groups - peers, gentry and yeomanry - and six case studies. In the conclusion the trends which have emerged in Cumbria are compared and contrasted with the pattern of English landownership established in chapter one. It is argued that the drift of property was towards the greater gentry and the 'new' gentry - who included Whitehaven merchants - partly because the peers virtually abdicated from the market, and partly because of a decline among the lesser gentry. Although this appears to conform to established patterns at 'national' level, the reasons for it do not, and might be peculiar to Cumbria. Indeed the dangers of generalising over the whole country have been stressed because of the variations in prevailing economic conditions. It has been shown, for example, that the Land Tax had little real impact. The strict settlement, the increased availability of mortgage facilities and the tenure of government office all had some affect, but were not crucial for the pattern in Cumbria, while efficient estate management and agricultural improvement were significant on very few estates. Far more important were the difficulties of obtaining credit and the cost of mining ventures. It has not been claimed that a study of one region invalidates the general arguments, merely that it represents one piece in a jigsaw which is perhaps more complicated than historians have suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available