The new farming methods that so radically changed English agriculture in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were not adopted immediately by all farmers. The rate of improvement was uneven, not only between one farmer and another, but between different farming regions.
This book suggests an approach to the problem of regional agricultural change and the factors which determined the different rates of change. Dr Grigg begins by describing the differences between the agricultural regions of South Lincolnshire - that is the two parts of Kesteven and Holland, an area fairly typical of eastern England - at the end of the eighteenth century. These were differences not only of land use and soil type but of landownership and farm size, productivity and location. The diffusion and adoption of new methods in each region is considered against the general economic background of the late eighteenth century and the boom conditions of the period of the Napoleonic Wars.
The later part of the book traces the rate of farming improvement in the less favourable price conditions after 1815, and finds a marked contrast between this period and the preceding forty years.The way in which the agricultural geography of the area was changed by the new methods is discussed, and in addition Dr Grigg shows how the conditions of each agricultural region affected farmers' response to the new methods.
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