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wood-pasture


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The term used to describe those agricultural districts where the farming economy was significantly different from champion land which was farmed on the open‐field system. Such districts often had only small areas devoted to open fields; instead most of the land was in closes and used for pastoral activities, such as the rearing of cattle or dairying. The neighbouring woods were often extensive and were a source of grazing rights on the commons. Settlement was not confined to nucleated villages, but was scattered in hamlets and isolated farmsteads. Wood pasture districts often had specific social characteristics, notably light manorial control, numerous freeholders, and sometimes a predilection for religious and political dissent, and for rural industry. See Joan Thirsk (ed.), The Agrarian History of England and Wales, iv: 1500–1640 (1967).

Subjects: History.


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