Prof. John H. Munro


F. Common or Open Fields: Further Readings



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F. Common or Open Fields: Further Readings
1. Paul Vinogradoff, The Growth of the Manor (London, 1905).
2. Frederic Seebohm, The English Village Community Examined in its Relations to the Manorial and Tribal Systems and to the Common or Open Field System of Husbandry, 4th edn. (London, 1905).
3. H.L. Gray, English Field Systems (Cambridge, Mass. 1915).
4. E.C.K. Gonner, Common Land and Inclosure (1921; reissued with an introduction by E.L. Jones, London, 1968).
* 5. Paul Vinogradoff, Villainage in England (London, 1923), part ii: ‘The Manor and the Village Community’, chapter I; ‘The Open Field System and the Holdings’, pp. 223-58; chapter II, ‘Rights of Common’, pp. 259-77. See also chapters V and VI.
** 6. Marc Bloch, Les caractères originaux de l'histoire rurale française, 2 vols. (Oslo, 1931; reissued Paris, 1952 and 1964); in English translation as French Rural History: An Essay on its Basic Characteristics, trans. by Janet Sondheimer (Berkeley, Calif. 1966), chapter 2, pp. 35-64.
7. T.A.M. Bishop, ‘Assarting and the Growth of the Open Fields’, Economic History Review, 1st ser. 6 (1935-36), 13-29; reprinted in E.M. Carus-Wilson, ed., Essays in Economic History (London, 1954), Vol. I, pp. 26-40.
8. C. S. Orwin, ‘Observations on the Open Fields’, Economic History Review, 1st. ser. 8 (1937-38), 125-35.
** 9. C.S. and C.A. Orwin, The Open Fields (1938; 2nd edn. Oxford, 1954), Introduction especially (pp. 1-14), and chapters I-V, pp. 15-68, especially III, ‘The Open Fields’, pp. 30-52.
* 10. M.A. Havinden, ‘Agricultural Progress in Open-Field Oxfordshire’, Agricultural History Review, 9 (1961), 73-83. An important article for demonstrating that open fields did not necessarily prove to be a barrier to change, at least in early-modern England. Also in:
(a) W.E. Minchinton, ed., Essays in Agricultural History, Vol. I (1968), pp. 147-60.
(b) E.L. Jones, ed., Agriculture and Economic Growth in England, 1650-1815 (1967), pp. 66-79.
* 11. Lynn White, Medieval Technology and Social Change (Oxford, 1962), chapter II, ‘The Agricultural Revolution of the Early Middle Ages’, pp. 39-78, esp. pp. 41-57. Rather simplistic and outdated, but still interesting.
12. W. G. Hoskins and L. Dudley Stamp, The Common Lands of England and Wales (London, 1963). Chapters 1 - 4; especially chapter 1, ‘Common Land and Its Origin’, pp. 3-13; and chapter 3, ‘Common Land and the Peasant Economy’, pp. 44-52.
** 13. Joan Thirsk, ‘The Common Fields’, Past and Present, no. 29 (Dec. 1964), 3-25. The article that initiated the still current debate.
14. W.O. Ault, Open-Field Husbandry and the Village Community: A Study of Agrarian By-Laws in Medieval England (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, new series, vol. 55, Philadelphia, 1965).
* 15. Jan Z. Titow, ‘Medieval England and the Open-Field System’, Past and Present, no. 32 (1966), 86-102. The first major attack on Thirsk.
* 16. Joan Thirsk, ‘The Origin of the Common Fields’, Past and Present, no. 33 (1966), 142-47. Her strong reply to Titow.
* 17. George C. Homans, ‘The Explanation of English Regional Differences’, Past and Present, no. 42 (1969), 18-34. Continuing the Thirsk-Titow debate.
18. A.H.R. Baker, ‘Some Terminological Problems in Studies of British Field Systems’, Agricultural History Review, 17 (1969).
19. Jerome Blum, ‘The European Village as Community: Origins and Functions’, Agricultural History, 45 (1971), 158- .
20. D.N. McCloskey, ‘The Enclosure of Open Fields: Preface to a Study of its Impact on the Efficiency of English Agriculture in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of Economic History, 32 (1972), 15-35. Though chiefly pertaining to a later period, still relevant to the question of medieval common fields, particularly since McCloskey subsequently became a very major participant in this debate. See below nos.
* 21. Michael Postan, The Medieval Economy and Society: An Economic History of Britain in the Middle Ages (1972), chapter 4: ‘Land Use and Technology’, pp. 41-72.
22. W.O. Ault, Open-Field Farming in England (London, 1972).
23. A.R.H. Baker and R.A. Butlin, eds. Studies of the Field Systems in the British Isles (Cambridge, 1973). Studies by various authors, by regions. See in particular, chapter 14: Baker and Butlin, ‘Conclusion: Problems and Perspectives’, pp. 619-56.
24. Jon Cohen and Martin Weitzman, ‘A Mathematical Model of Enclosure’, in Mathematical Models in Economics, ed. J. and W. Los (Warsaw, 1974), pp. 419-31. Relevant to the subject of common fields and their economic rationale.
25. Edmund King, Peterborough Abbey, 1086-1310: A Study in the Land Market (London, 1975). Though not on the origins of the common fields, this study shows how peasant holdings could be re-arranged through purchase, sale, and transfers.
* 26. Robert A. Dodgshon, ‘The Land-Holding Foundations of the Open-Field System’, Past and Present, no. 67 (May 1975), 3-29. Reprinted in T. H. Aston, ed., Landlords, Peasants and Politics in Medieval England (Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 6-32.
** 27. William N. Parker and Eric L. Jones, eds., European Peasants and Their Markets: Essays in Agrarian Economic History (Princeton, 1975). See the following essays:

* a) Richard C. Hoffmann, ‘Medieval Origins of the Common Fields’, pp. 23-71.


*** b) Donald McCloskey, ‘The Persistence of English Common Fields’, pp. 93-120.
c) D.N. McCloskey, ‘The Economics of Enclosure: A Market Analysis’, pp. 123-60.
* d) Jon Cohen and Martin Weitzman, ‘Enclosure and Depopulation: a Marxian Analysis’, pp. 161-76. See also the following:
28. Jon Cohen and Martin Weitzman, ‘A Marxian Model of Enclosures’, Journal of Development Economics, 1 (1975), 287-336. Also relevant to the economics of common fields.
29. Stefano Fenoaltea, ‘The Rise and Fall of a Theoretical Model: the Manorial System;’ and also, ‘Authority, Efficiency, and Agriculture Organization in Medieval England and Beyond’, both in Journal of Economic History, 25 (1975), 386-409, and 693-718, respectively.
** 30. Donald N. McCloskey, ‘English Open Fields as Behavior Towards Risk’, Research in Economic History, 1 (1976), 124-71.
31. Stefano Fenoaltea, ‘On a Marxian Model of Enclosures’, Journal of Development Economics, 3 (1976), 195-98. An attack on Cohen and Weitzmann, with their reply:
Jon Cohen and Martin Weitzman, ‘Reply to Fenoaltea’, pp. 199-200.
32. Stefano Fenoaltea, ‘Risk, Transactions Costs, and the Organization of Medieval Agriculture’, Explorations in Economic History, 13 (April 1976), 129-51. Challenges McCloskey's thesis in nos. 27 and 30.
* 33. Donald McCloskey, ‘Fenoaltea on Open Fields: A Reply’, Explorations in Economic History, 14 (Oct. 1977), 405-10.
34. J.A. Yelling, Common Field and Enclosure in England, 1450-1850 (London, 1977). Important survey; but arranged geographically rather than chronologically.
* 35. Michael Mazur, ‘The Dispersion of Holdings in the Open Fields: An Interpretation in Terms of Property Rights’, Journal of European Economic History, 6 (1977), 461-71. See no. 36 below.
* 36. Donald McCloskey, ‘Scattering in Open Fields: a Comment’, and
Michael Mazur, ‘Scattering in Open Fields: A Reply’, both in
Journal of European Economic History, 9 (1980), 209-14, and 215-18, respectively.
37. Bruce M. Campbell, ‘Population Change and the Genesis of Common Fields on a Norfolk Manor’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser. 33 (1980), 174-92.
38. Bruce M. Campbell, ‘The Regional Uniqueness of English Field-Systems: Some Evidence from Eastern Norfolk’, Agricultural History Review, 9 (1980),
* 39. Carl J. Dahlman, The Open Field System and Beyond: A Property Rights Analysis of an Economic Institution (Cambridge, 1980). A very major recent contribution to this debate, providing a viable economic alternative to the McCloskey model.
* 40. Trevor Rowley, ed., The Origins of Open Field Agriculture (Totawa, N.J., 1981). Collected studies. See especially:
a) David Hall, ‘The Origins of Open-field Agriculture: The Archaeological Fieldwork Evidence’, pp. 22-38.
b) H. S. A. Fox, ‘Approaches to the Adoption of the Midland System’, pp. 64 - 111.
** c) Bruce Campbell, ‘Commonfield Origins: The Regional Dimension’, pp. 112-29. Very important contribution, linking communal open fields to manorialism.
d) Robert Dodgshon, ‘The Interpretation of Subdivided Fields: A Study in Private or Communal Interests?’ pp. 130-44.
e) Victor Skipp, ‘The Evolution of Settlement and Open-field Topography in North Arden down to 1300’, pp. 162-83.
** 41. J.A. Yelling, ‘Rationality in Common Fields’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser. 35 (1982), 409-15. Very important critique of both the McCloskey and Dahlman models.
* 42. Donald McCloskey, ‘Corn at Interest: The Extent and Cost of Grain Storage in Medieval England’, American Economic Review, 74 (1984), 174 - 87.
43. Richard M. Smith, ‘Families and Their Land in an Area of Partible Inheritance: Redgrave, Suffolk, 1260-1320’, in R. M. Smith, ed. Land, Kinship and Life-cycle (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 135-96.
44. Alan Nash, ‘The Size of Open Field Strips: A Reinterpretation’, The Agricultural History Review, 33 (1985), 32-40.
45. H. S. A. Fox, ‘The Alleged Transformation from Two-field to Three-field Systems in Medieval England’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser. 39 (Nov. 1986), 526-48.
* 46. Donald McCloskey, ‘Open Fields of England: Rent, Risk, and the Rate of Interest, 1300 - 1815’, in David W. Galenson, ed., Markets in History: Economic Studies of the Past (Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 5 - 51. A further refinement of the McCloskey model.
47. Mark Bailey, ‘Sand into Gold: The Evolution of the Foldcourse System in West Suffolk, 1200 - 1600’, The Agricultural History Review, 38 (1990), 40 - 57.
48. John Komlos and Richard Landes, ‘Anachronistic Economics: Grain Storage in Medieval England’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser. 44 (February 1991), 36 - 45. An attack on McCloskey. See the following reply and rejoinder.
49. Donald N. McCloskey, ‘Conditional Economic History: A Reply to Komlos and Landes;’ and John Komlos and Richard Landes, ‘Alice to the Red Queen: Imperious Econometrics’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser. 44 (February 1991), 128 - 136.
* 50. Donald N. McCloskey, ‘The Prudent Peasant: New Findings on Open Fields’, Journal of Economic History, 51 (June 1991), 343-55. McCloskey again!
51. M. M. Cosgel, ‘Risk Sharing in Medieval Agriculture’, Journal of European Economic History, 21: (Spring 1992), 99 - 110.
52. Eric Kerridge, The Common Fields of England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992). A survey that has not pleased all agrarian historians.
* 53. Rosemary L. Hopcroft, ‘The Origins of Regular Open-Field Systems in Pre-Industrial Europe’, Journal of European Economic History, 23:3 (Winter 1994), 563-80.
54. Barry Harrison, ‘Field Systems and Demesne Farming on the Wiltshire Estates of Saint Swithun’s Priory, Winchester, 1248 - 1340’, Agricultural History Review, 43:i (1995), 1-18.
55. Gregory Clark and Anthony Clark, ‘Common Rights to Land in England, 1475 - 1839', Journal of Economic History, 61:4 (December 2001), 1009-36.
56. Martina De Moor, Leigh Shaw-Taylor, and Paul Warde, eds., The Management of Common Land in North-West Europe, c. 1500 - 1850 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2002).
a) Angus J. L. Winchester, ‘Upland Commons in Northern England’, pp. 33-57.
b) Leigh Shaw-Taylor, ‘The Management of Common Land in the Lowlands of Southern England’, pp. 59-85.
57. Gary Richardson, ‘What Protected Peasants Best? Markets, Risk, Efficiency, and Medieval English Agriculture’, Research in Economic History, 21 (2003), 299 - 356.
58. Cliff T. Bekar and Clyde G. Reed, ‘Open Fields, Risk, and Land Divisibility’, Explorations in Economic History, 40:3 (July 2003), 308-25.

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