SAC # 72

Sharefarming in England: A Hidden History



TIME | 22 September 2009, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | Suite 12, upstairs at the Centre for Innovation, 87 St. David St.

SPEAKER | Elizabeth Griffiths


The absence of sharefarming in England has long been a basic principle of economic history. The belief is that sharefarming, based on the New Zealand, was introduced to England in the 1980s, as a way of getting round anti-landlord legislation which guaranteed tenants security of tenure for 3 generations. However, with my experience of sharemilking in New Zealand, I was able to recognise sharefarming agreements in 17th century estate records which had completely eluded English historians unfamiliar with the practice. A research project from 2005-7 has produced a chronology of sharefarming in England and modified our understanding of the role played by the English landlord tenant system in English agricultural development. The results have just been published in a book, Farming to Halves: The Hidden History of Sharefarming in England from medieval to modern times.

About the Speaker

Elizabeth Griffiths spent 4 years sharefarming in England in New Zealand, before completing a PhD at the University of East Anglia in 1987. From 2003-5 she worked with Dr. Jane Whittle of Exeter University on the household accounts of Lady Alice Le Strange of Hunstanton, and then persuaded Professor Mark Overton of the need for a research project on sharefarming in England. The result is a book, Farming to Halves: The Hidden History of Sharefarming in England from Medieval to Modern Times, just published by Macmillan Palgrave.


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