For most of the period between 1792 and 1815 Britain was at war with France. Interest in agricultural improvement was already growing strongly across England by the start of the wars and many forward-thinking landowners (including many of the clergy) were devising and adopting new methods and supporting enclosure of common land. A rising population and increasing poverty made increased productivity vital. War with France in 1792 made the need the greater and provided an opportunity to press for Government action to speed up change.
The government had little knowledge regarding the state of agriculture and agricultural output and agreed to the establishment of a Board of Agriculture, which would both support innovation and examine the state of agriculture across the country. From the work of the board and its surveyors two reports were produced for almost every county in England. The first report for Cambridgeshire, produced by Charles Vancouver, is one of the best and most thorough of any in the country.
This volume considers the work of the Board of Agriculture and the two reports on the county as well as other correspondence which shows Cambridgeshire, was slower to change than some of its neighbouring counties such as Norfolk. In Cambridgeshire farmers remained wedded to the old ways and to open field farming.
Price: £ 34.50
iv, 288 pages ; black and white illustrations and maps ; hardback.
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Since retiring from a career as a mental health nurse and NHS manage, William Franklin has devoted much of his time to researching the local landscape and agricultural history of Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire.