Population, Migration, and Socio-Economic Change in Two Provincial Counties: Leicestershire and Rutland, 1700-1834
This thesis investigates population, migration, and socio-economic change in the provincial counties of Leicestershire and Rutland, in the period 1700-1834. It aims to enhance our knowledge of the broad national processes of industrialisation, demographic growth, and agricultural decline, specifically by examining how they were experienced and produced at narrow regional levels, within two counties. Leicestershire and Rutland both underwent transformative agricultural changes in this period, through parliamentary enclosure and specialisation in pastoral agriculture, while Leicestershire also developed its key cottage industry: framework knitting. These processes are at the heart of this thesis, which focuses especially on parliamentary enclosure and related themes of agrarian change, regional specialism, and labour mobility. Through analysis of parish records, the thesis takes a multi-thematic approach, specifically with three core chapters. The first of these uses baptism registers to examine population in parishes affected by parliamentary enclosure, considering the role of rural industry for shaping the size and distribution of population. The second uses settlement examinations to explore the decline of farm service, further analysing agricultural decline in relation to enclosure, while also considering farm service in relation to gender and the Old Poor Law. The third uses the indentures of pauper apprentices to examine migration, bringing the thesis more directly into the spotlight of the Old Poor Law, while also contributing to historiography on female apprenticeship. The three core chapters, together, aim to reveal nuanced insights into the complex interplay of factors that brought about wider processes of demographic and socio-economic change, thereby contributing to our knowledge of how Britain in this period progressed on its trajectory from an agricultural to an industrial nation.
Supervisor(s)Roey Sweet; Bernard Attard
Date of award2022-01-20
Author affiliationSchool of History, Politics, and International Relations
Awarding institutionUniversity of Leicester