The article addresses the question as to whether manorial estates in pre-plague England were responsive to market stimuli, as the authors of a 1993 study have argued based on a model originally proposed by the nineteenth century agricultural economist Johann von Thunen. By testing three hypotheses referring to the degree of commercial orientation, levels of intensity regarding various inputs, and the spatial configuration of field systems, the paper concludes that the productive profiles of these estates did not conform very closely to the expectations of von Thunen’s model. The explanation lies in the fact that, by having access to the seigneurial prerogative of tapping into their peasants’ resources, manorial estates were not hard pressed to maximize profitability through a drive towards efficiency.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.