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The housing of peasant livestock in England, 1200–1520

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The pastoral dimension of peasant farming needs more investigation. The main focus of recent research has been on the number of peasant animals and the application of their manure in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. This enquiry extends the discussion to include husbandry and management, concentrating on the housing of animals, before and after 1350. A combination of archaeological and documentary evidence is used to assess demesne buildings (as a standard for comparison) and accommodation for peasant livestock. The evidence comes from documents relating to the maintenance of buildings, archaeological excavation and survey, and architectural history. Byres, stables, sheepcotes, and other buildings are identified, some built to a high standard. Their numbers seem limited, though there may be some under-recording. Peasant animals were kept in yards, pens, and shelters, and in severe weather are likely to have been placed in barns, which were multi-functional buildings. Peasants could not afford as many specialist buildings as the demesne, but adapted to their circumstances, and followed their own methods for managing the livestock and their manure.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Agricultural History Review is the leading journal for the publication of original research in all aspects of agricultural and rural history. First published in 1953, 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 P. S. Warde, University of Cambridge, UK, who is responsible for articles, and Dr J. R. Morgan, University of Bristol, UK, 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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