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The role of demesnes in the trade of agricultural horses in late medieval England

Claridge, Jordan (2016) The role of demesnes in the trade of agricultural horses in late medieval England. Economic History Working Papers (251/2016). London School of Economics and Political Science, Economic History Department, London, UK.

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Abstract

This paper examines the role of demesnes – the farms of lords, as opposed to the lands of their peasant tenants – in the trade of agricultural horses in medieval England. The introduction of horse power is recognised to have been a major factor in the development of the medieval English economy, increasing labour productivity in farming and the efficiency of overland transport, but the infrastructures through which these animals were produced and distributed has remained poorly understood. This paper uses a national sample of over 300 manorial accounts from c.1300 to assess the role of demesnes in the production and distribution of working horses. It finds that demesnes were significant net consumers of horses, primarily relying upon the market for their supply. This illustrates that there was a well established market for these animals by c.1300, but also that these large institutional farms did not breed enough horses to sustain their own demand, let alone a surplus that could have supplied the market. Demesnes (and their managers) did, however, fill an important distributive role in the trade of agricultural horses by acting, perhaps inadvertently, as ‘middle men’ in marshaling the various channels of work horse acquisition and dispersion.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/home.aspx
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N5 - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries > N53 - Europe: Pre-1913
N - Economic History > N7 - Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, Technology, and Other Services > N73 - Europe: Pre-1913
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q1 - Agriculture > Q12 - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q1 - Agriculture > Q13 - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2016 11:38
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 00:04
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/68377

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