Stints and sustainability: managing stock levels on common land in England, c.1600–2006

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Abstract:

Stinting – the numerical limitation of grazing rights – was one of the primary methods of governing livestock numbers on common land in England. This paper charts the growth of stinting, explores the reasons behind its introduction, and considers the role of stinting in the sustainable management of grazing reserves and in the evolution of concepts of property rights on common land since the medieval period. It is argued that growing pressure on grazing was only one driver behind the introduction of stinting and that some stinted rights in upland northern England originated in agistment on private forest pastures. The paper also considers the consequences of stinting, one of which was to convert a common right of pasture into a more adaptable, transferable and potentially profitable commodity, which could be severed from the holding to which it originally belonged, breaking a link which lay at the heart of the law on commons.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Agricultural History Review is the leading journal for the publication of original research in all aspects of agricultural and rural history. First published in 1952, the Review reflects the diversity of approaches which are possible in rural history. Its editors welcome submissions in any aspect of the history of agriculture, rural society and rural economy over the past millennium. Whilst it is not concerned with current policy debates, it is interested in considering discussions of the historical dimensions of current problems in rural society and food supply. The Review is especially strong in British rural history, but actively seeks submissions in European and American rural history and has no bar on submissions concerning the remainder of the world. It is also the journal of record for book reviews in the discipline.

    Agricultural History Review has an international editorial board. The current editors are Professor R. W. Hoyle, University of Reading, UK who is responsible for articles, and Professor H. R. French, University of Exeter who serves as editor for book reviews. The Review is fully peer-refereed.

    Agricultural History Review is published by the British Agricultural History Society from whom personal subscriptions may be obtained.
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