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Regional identity in the Lake Counties: land tenure and the Cumbrian landscape.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Northern History
Issue number1
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)29-48
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Taking as its starting point Rackham's distinction between 'planned countryside' and 'ancient countryside', this paper argues that the distinctive character of the Cumbrian landscape can only be understood in the context of patterns of land tenure and their impact on the scale and pace of agrarian change during the Agricultural Revolution. Most of the 'planned countryside' in Cumbria was the result of parliamentary enclosure of former moorland, whereas areas of earlier enclosure largely have the characteristics of 'ancient countryside'. The survival of these older landscapes across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was linked to the survival of customary tenures, which prevented landlords from gaining direct control over their estates and contributed to a withdrawal of a gentry presence from much of rural Cumbria. Only where leases for years were found (on former demesnes and on some manors close to the Scottish Border) were landlords able to re-write the farming landscape during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.