02 July 2012

Agricultural Records in Britain:16th-century events

I've been browsing the book Agricultural Records in Britain: A.D. 220 - 1977,
by Stratton and Brown. It goes through year-by-year with notes on crops, weather, disease and other significant features, notably the prices of farm goods.
The early information is scattered and brief. It starts:
220: A great frost in England is said to have lasted five months.
230: The Thames is said to have been frozen over in London for six weeks

Although it can be inferred from the text in several places there is no sourcing.

As a break from routine I'm abstracting a few items over the next four days.

Here are some of the 16th century entries I found more interesting:
1will500: Harvest no better than average, and much plague amongst the animals and men. Wool six shillings eight pence per tod (28 pounds).
1507: ... More mortality caused by the return of the sweating sickness. Hops were introduced from Flanders about this time. (Sweating sickness is also mentioned from 1483-1486).
1519:... More mortality from the sweating sickness.
1521: ... A decree was passed against the enclosure of land as sheep-walks.
1528: ... Grain was imported from Germany in autumn.
1551: ... The sweating sickness was again causing mortality among human beings.
1552: ... A law was passed against profiteering in corn.
1554: The export of wheat with or without a license was prohibited when the price rose to about six shillings and eight pence per quarter (4-1/2 hundredweight, or 504 pounds).
1556: Heavy human mortality in this and the next two years, perhaps through influenza.
1563: The export of grain was allowed again, and in the following year when wheat prices fell.
1566: Severe penalties enacted against the export of sheep.
1588: Although the gale off the south coast on May 30 which disabled the Spanish Armada, brought much rain, the summer was finer than previous ones.
1596: Famine throughout Europe. Food riots in England.

1 comment:

Hugh Reekie said...

The Fife FHS have recently published some Fife, Scotland, farm lease agreements 1650-1700 in their journal. These are useful for my research. Lets hope others will follow.usingura