title={COMMON RIGHTS TO LAND IN ENGLAND, 1475–1839},
  author={Gregory A. Clark and Anthony S. Clark},
  journal={The Journal of Economic History},
  pages={1009 - 1036}
  • G. Clark, A. Clark
  • Published 1 December 2001
  • Economics, History
  • The Journal of Economic History
We estimate the extent of common land in England from 1475 to 1839, treating charity land as a sample. We find common was only 27 percent of land in 1600. Thus there was little common beyond what Parliamentary acts later enclosed. More tentatively, common was only one-third of land even in 1500. Further, common land in 1600 was mainly stinted, excluding those without formal property rights. Common waste, to which the landless poor did have access, constituted a mere 4 percent of land, and was… 


ABSTRACT Using records from 113 manors in Yorkshire and elsewhere, this article surveys the changing role of manor courts in English local government over three centuries. These institutions allowed

Property Rights and Parliament in Industrializing Britain

During Britain’s industrialization, Parliament operated a forum where rights to land and resources could be reorganized. This venue enabled landholders and communities to exploit economic

Land rental values and the agrarian economy: England and Wales, 1500 1914

I use the rents and prices of land held by charities in England to estimate statistically nominal and real farmland rental values, including payments for tithe and taxes, from 1500 to 1912. The

Commons and the standard of living debate in Spain, 1860–1930

Biological living standards stagnated or even declined during the transition to modern economic growth. Although income per capita was increasing, other indicators, such as mortality rates or


The impact of the privatisation of the commons remains a contested topic throughout the social sciences. Focusing on the Spanish case, this article reviews the literature and provides an overall

Common lands and economic development in 19th and early 20th century Spain

This dissertation contributes to the long-standing debate between those who argue that the enclosure of the commons was as a precondition to foster economic growth and those who defend common

‘Inequality of Goods and Lands’ in Mortgaged Democracies: Paradigms and Effects of Global Comparative Law

The article reappraises the law’s ‘egalitarian commitment’ in an era of global inequality. It upholds that such an egalitarian predicament scarcely squares with the reality. Firstly, international

The Limits of Agricultural Growth

  • R. Duplessis
  • Economics, History
    Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe
  • 2019
During the long sixteenth century, discrepant trends marked European agriculture. Though data are not available for all areas, recent studies indicate that more intensive use of land and labor as

Educating About Enclosures and Common Lands and Waterways

This chapter undertakes a close examination of the progression of human understanding of land and water through the processes of enclosure. Enclosures are now considered a key element in the

Turnpike Trusts and Property Income: New Evidence on the Effects of Transport Improvements and Legislation in Eighteenth-Century England

Numerous Acts of Parliament changed the financing of transport infrastructure in eighteenth-century England. This paper examines the economic effects of turnpike acts, which greatly improved road



Land Hunger: Land as a Commodity and as a Status Good, England, 1500–1910

Abstract Historians believe that land in preindustrial societies was sought partly for status. Later land became a commodity like any other. Per unit of monetary return preindustrial land prices


It has often been argued that parliamentary enclosure decisively increased the wage dependence of English agricultural laborers, primarily by extinguishing their rights to keep cows on common land.

Enclosures, Common Rights, and Women: The Proletarianization of Families in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

  • J. Humphries
  • Economics, History
    The Journal of Economic History
  • 1990
This article argues against the mainstream view that eighteenth-century common rights were of little significance to working people. Markets in common rights and in their products provide an index of

Commons Sense: Common Property Rights, Efficiency, and Institutional Change

  • G. Clark
  • Economics, History
    The Journal of Economic History
  • 1998
Common property rights were widespread in English agriculture for at least 600 years. Since privatizing common fields allegedly produced huge profits in the eighteenth century, common land owners

The Enclosure of Open Fields: Preface to a Study of Its Impact on the Efficiency of English Agriculture in the Eighteenth Century

In 1700 much of the land of England was farmed under the ancient system of open fields. With its three great fields planted in a communally regulated rotation of crops, its common meadows and wastes,

In Defense of “Commons Sense”: Reply to Chapman

  • G. Clark
  • Economics, History
    The Journal of Economic History
  • 1999
Charity land, argues John Chapman, cannot tell us much about enclosure in general because charity land was unlike land in general. It was concentrated in parishes with little common waste. It was

Charities, Rents, and Enclosure: A Comment on Clark

  • J. Chapman
  • History, Economics
    The Journal of Economic History
  • 1999
Gregory Clark's conclusion that the financial advantages of enclosure have been exaggerated may well have some validity, but the evidence which he offers in support is far less convincing than he

Working Paper

The purpose of this article is to analyze the historical evolution of central banking in order to shed light on the role of central banks (CBs) in the current financial, ecological and health crises.

The Agricultural Revolution

Images courtesy of AFP, EPA, Getty Images, Reuters and Reuters.