Policing the Commons in the Vale of York, c.1550–c.1850

  • Brodie Waddell
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 2)


This chapter examines the management of the shared landscape in the early modern Vale of York. It shows how communities and higher authorities attempted to police arable and pastoral common land as well as shared ‘infrastructure’ (roads, drains, fences). In most Yorkshire villages, the primary unit of governance was the manor court, and this paper demonstrates the vital role that it continued to play, even in the eighteenth century. An analysis of over one hundred sets of regulations from 23 lowland manors reveals the changing character of local landscape management over the course of three centuries.


Eighteenth Century Manorial Record Late Eighteenth Century Early Modern Period Common Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am very grateful to the late Rena Fenteman and her trustees as well as the Borthwick Institute for Archives at University of York for their generous funding and assistance during my research. This chapter is a revised version of part of a longer study published as Waddell (2011). I thank the Borthwick Institute for permission to republish this here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History, Classics and Archaeology BirkbeckUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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