By Joan Thirsk
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Extra info for Agricultural Regions and Agrarian History in England, 1500–1750
But agricultural changes are slow to achieve their full potential. So Professor Mingay sums up the now admittedly longer history of agricultural improvement thus: 'Considered in the broadest sense, the development of modern farming can be seen as stretching back into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, gathering pace in the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and proceeding at its fastest in the present century' [76, 1-3]. In other words, far-reaching agricultural change is here set within a much.
In the northern section, lining the Thames, more barley and turnips were grown on its lighter soils; in the vale proper, in the middle portion, wheat and beans better suited the heavier loams; the third belt to the south of these two was recognised as a frontier zone because here the vale land begins to rise up to join the chalk of the downs. Its agriculture was not significantly different from the rest of the clay vale [23, I, 326], and yet it was differentiated socially (see below). And agriculturally it had, in addition to its lighter loams, a greensand belt which was well suited for use as orchards.
The slump in grain prices between 1650 and 1750 cooled interest in that objective, but slowly promoted interest in special crops [23, n ]. This enthusiasm then evaporated when population rose again after 1750, and farmers returned to grain and livestock once more. Special crops revived yet again in the great agricultural depression at the end of the nineteenth century, from 1879 onwards. In each phase many of the same crops and systems were reviewed, but each time some progress was made in the details of management or their geographical spread.