Rural England 1840–1900

  • Merryn Williams


In the last sixty years of the nineteenth century the population of England and Wales more than doubled. But the numbers of those employed in agriculture kept dropping, in tens and hundreds of thousands, after the peak census year of 1851. In 1840 agriculture was the most important of all industries, absorbing over twenty per cent of the labour force. By 1900 it employed less than ten per cent and it was widely believed that if the present trends went on the countryside would soon be depopulated and British farming would come to an end.


Child Labour Agricultural Labourer Union Branch Southern County Landless Labourer 
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  1. 1.
    Sir James Caird, English Agriculture in 1850–1 (London, 1852) p. 517.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    J. D. Chambers and G. E. Mingay, The Agricultural Revolution 1750–1880 (London, 1966) p. 107.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    F. M. L. Thompson,, English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1963) p. 25.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Merryn Williams 1972

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  • Merryn Williams

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