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>The association of miners with 'small' farming throughout the country has
been long understood, especially from during the 18 /19th centuries. But did
this association operate in the medieval period and how? Was it able to
operate when a large proportion of the population were 'tied up'
The simple answer to the question of dual occupation in the medieval period is
yes, there was a movement from mining into agricultural or more commonly the
reverse. But the circumstances would change with both time and the metals
being mined. For example, whilst dual occupation was probably the norm amongst
miners working silver-bearing ores in the north Pennines in the 12th century,
it was restricted amongst a work force employed in working similar ores under
Crown control in the late 13th century onwards. Manorial control was not
necessarily all embracing - miners working non-argentiferous ores under
customary law appear to have used the profits from lead sales as a source of
cash over which the lord had no control, other than his portion of the ore if
he was the mineral lord.
The subject of dual occupation was the subject of heated discussion between
Blanchard and Hatcher in the 1970s with comparisons made on the position of
tin and lead miners and their links to agriculture. See the short biblio.
Blanchard, I. S. W., 'The miner and the agricultural community in late
medieval England', Agric. Hist. Rev., 2nd Ser., 20 (1972), 93-106.
Blanchard, I. S. W., 'Rejoinder; Stannator Fabulosus,' Agric. Hist. Rev., 2nd
ser., 22 (1974), 62-74.
Blanchard, Ian. 'Labour productivity and work psychology in the English mining
industry 1400-1600', Econ. Hist. Rev., 2nd ser., 31 (1978), 1-24.
Hatcher, J., 'A diversified economy: late medieval Cornwall', Econ. Hist Rev.,
2nd ser., 12 (1969), 208-227.
Hatcher. J., Rural Economy and Society in the Duchy of Cornwall 1300 - 1500,
Hatcher, John. English Tin Production and Trade Before 1550, (Oxford, 1973).
Hatcher, J., 'Myths, miners and the agricultural community,' Agric. Hist.
Rev., 2nd ser., 22 (1974), 54-61
Dr Peter Claughton
Blaenpant Morfil, Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire, Wales SA66 7RE, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1437 532578 Fax: +44 (0)1437 532921 Mobile +44 (0)7831 427599 E-mail [log in to unmask]
Hon. University Fellow
SHiPSS (Centre for South Western Historical Studies)
University of Exeter
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