On the Peculiar Features of the Expropriation of English Peasantry in the 16th — Early 17th Centuries

Publication type Article
Status Published
EditionVolume 5 Issue 6 (29)
AbstractThe article is devoted to the problem of correlation between movement of enclosures and movement of entry fines’ rising in the process of the English peasantry expropriation (XVI c). It’s evident now, that the Tudor enclosures in England, although being rather violent in the center of the country, practically were not fixed in the manorial documents in the “marginal” areas (say, Lancashire and Wiltshire). The main factor of the peasant economy eviction was entry fines’ rising and intrusion of the gentry on the copyhold land. This process was not as evident for contemporaries as the process of enclosures, although it was more effective and widely spread, especially in the local areas of the pre-revolutionary England. In “marginal”, remote from the Center, regions of England specificity of the gentry’s penetration into customary land was rather peaceful. It had non-violent character, connected with permitting concern of manorial administration to admittance of the gentry on copyhold — factor, having been underestimated in our historiography, for until lately among native scholars prevailed thesis of a decisive role of enclosures. This thesis was based on the Soviet scholar’s attention to K. Marx’s conception concerning so-called previous accumulation and the process of expropriation of the peasantry as its key factor. However, practice of research of such representative and massive historical sources as manorial records and surveys shows that in remote regions of pre-revolutionary England the cases were quite different. This peculiar feature of previous accumulation should be researched further on. It would be useful and interesting either from the point of view of the local gentry’s elites’ formation. Was the intrusion of gentry provoked by objective economic reasons or by subjective desire of manorial lords to have reliable local social support?
KeywordsEngland, enclosures, ‘previous accumulation’, Early Modern time, social history, economical history, expropriation, peasantry, Marxism
Publication date18.11.2014
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