Originally published in 1963. This is a book about landownership and agriculture in nineteenth-century England. It deals principally with the administration of large landed estates during the years from 1830 to 1870. The book also throws new light on the work of the Inclosure Commissioners, who, as a department of the central government, supervised agricultural improvements made by landowners who borrowed from the government and from land companies. Author David Spring argues that the British government intervened in agriculture much more than is commonly thought. In describing the hierarchy of estate management, Spring relies, wherever possible, on hitherto unused family papers and estate documents. Especially important is his material on the Dukes of Bedford and on the domestic economy and financial position of the Russell Family. The chapter titled "The Landowner," based on the seventh Duke of Bedford's correspondence with his agent, is a case study of a single estate and provides insight into the workings of a great landowner's mind. The remaining chapters, dealing with lawyers, land agents, and the Inclosure Commissioners, include other individual portraits. Among these are Christopher Haedy, the Duke of Bedford's chief agent; James Loch, king of estate agents in nineteenth-century England; Henry Morton, the Earl of Durham's land agent; and William Blamire and James Caird, two of the Inclosure Commissioners.
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