The agrarian economy of Romney Marsh and its hinterland, with special reference to the Knatchbull estate, c. 1730-90

PhD Thesis

Davison, A. 2011. The agrarian economy of Romney Marsh and its hinterland, with special reference to the Knatchbull estate, c. 1730-90. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University History and American Studies
AuthorsDavison, A.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

This study explores the agrarian economy of Romney Marsh and its hinterland, c. 1730-90. It offers a fresh contribution to current knowledge in respect of landlord-tenant relations,
landholding structures and farming practice. Some 60 years are covered, framed within a wider context embracing two distinct and contrasting economic phases that characterized the long eighteenth century.

Special reference to the Knatchbull family affords in-depth insight into an eighteenth century Kentish landed estate, whose interests lay on the marsh and its hinterland. There is an appraisal of the character and values of Sir Wyndham Knatchbull in his official and unofficial roles at the
head of the community. Aspects of the Home Farm economy of Mersham Hatch are explored. Particular attention is paid to landlord-tenant relations, and the multi-dimensional nature of negotiations for substantial holdings on Walland Marsh. The impact of a windfall inheritance is seen when, from 1763, the seventh baronet succeeded to the estate.

Using early Land Tax evidence for the region, there is a comprehensive analysis of landownership and land occupation structures, c. 1746-90. An unusually large area is covered, for an exceptionally early period, adding substantially to current knowledge. Marsh tax evidence discloses landownership and land occupation structures on Walland/Denge, 1738-91. Used in tandem with the tax listings, the wider interests of ‘dual-regional’ farmers are more fully appreciated, and for whom knowledge has hitherto been confined to their operations on the marsh. These findings, together with the investigation of previously unexplored aspects of farming practice, offer fresh insight into the symbiotic relationship between the marsh and its hinterland.

The influence of ties of social obligation and market-led considerations on landlord-tenant relations are recurring themes. On the marsh, tenant initiative and market demand are seen as the main driving forces that re-shaped patterns of landholding over the period.

Publication process dates
Deposited14 Jan 2013
Output statusUnpublished
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