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Farming to Halves

The Hidden History of Sharefarming in England from Medieval to Modern Times

Farming to Halves by Elizabeth Griffiths
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Farming to halves is the English version of sharefarming, a system of letting land common in Europe and the New World, but thought not to have existed in England. Indeed Arthur Young claimed it was the point of difference between English and French agriculture, which explained the success of the former and failure of the latter. However, Young was mistaken: forms of sharefarming existed in all periods, at every level of society and across the length and breadth of the country. This discovery entirely alters our perceptions of English rural communities, the development of English agriculture and the relationships between landlords and tenants, and farmers in general. Sharefarming English style differed from that in Europe because it remained largely informal and rarely appears in documents. Even when it does appear, historians, misled by Arthur Young perhaps, have failed to recognize its significance. In this way, a stratum of farming life and activity has been lost. This book recovers that hidden history with far reaching and unexpected implications for our understanding of English rural life both in the past and present.
Palgrave Macmillan; July 2009
274 pages; ISBN 9780230240827
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Title: Farming to Halves
Author: Elizabeth Griffiths; Mark Overton
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