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Title: Rural change in north Wales during the period of the Industrial Revolution : livelihoods, poverty and welfare in Nantconwy, 1750-1860
Author: Richardson, Frances Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 3615
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores how a typical area of rural Wales participated in and was shaped by social and economic change during the period of the Industrial Revolution. It investigates how increasing numbers of people made a livelihood in the Caernarvonshire hundred of Nantconwy over the period 1750-1860, including the role of women in the local economy. A wide range of record types are used to explore inter-relationships between population growth, agriculture, proto-industry, the organisation of farming households, and the livelihoods of the poor. The thesis covers a key gap in the historical literature, as most studies of agrarian change at this period concentrate on England, and there has been little investigation of the experience in rural Wales. Unlike many parts of England where economic modernization was accompanied by growing inequality involving a transition from a household economy to a capitalist tripartite society of landowners, tenant farmers and landless wage labourers, Nantconwy experienced a growth of subsistence smallholding, as more people faced with a shortage of waged employment sought to make a livelihood from the land. Family by-employment and proto-industry also played a crucial role in the local economy. Bringing the commons and wastes into private ownership had relatively little impact on the poor, but smallholders' livelihoods were adversely affected after 1815 by the mechanization of spinning and declining earnings from stocking knitting. Living standards began to improve after 1830 with the expansion of male employment in slate quarrying, while the role of women on family farms was enhanced. Parishes evolved a low-cost system of poor relief which supported mainly older residents who were no longer able to quite make ends meet from the traditional cottager economy, while encouraging the young to leave the land or migrate to local towns or quarrying areas with better employment prospects.
Supervisor: Tiller, Kate Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Industrial revolution--Wales ; North ; Agriculture--Wales--Caernarvonshire--History ; Labor market--Wales ; North ; Women--Economic conditions--Wales ; North ; Caernarvonshire (Wales)--Rural conditions ; Wales ; North--Economic conditions--History--18th century ; Wales ; North--Economic conditions--History--19th century