Historical Bibliography

A bibliography of texts useful for researching the history of common land in England and Wales.  The list includes general texts on common land use, cultural and agrarian history, and preservation; texts which describe specific regions or commons; and texts which include evidence of manorial governance and/or bylaws.  Please note, this list is under development and will be regularly updated.


Aitchison, J. W. (1990) ‘The commons and wastes of England and Wales 1958-1989’, Area 22 (3), pp. 272-7

Aitchison J. and Gadsden G.S.D. (1992) ‘Common Land’ in W. Howarth and C. P. Rodgers (eds), Agriculture Conservation and Land Use: law and policy issues for rural areas, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, pp. 165-185

Aldred, D. H. (1990) Cleeve Hill: the history of the common and its people, Stroud: Alan Sutton

Allen, R. (1997) ‘The battle for the common: politics and populism in mid-Victorian Kentish London’, Social History, 22 (1), pp. 61-77

Allison, K. J. (1957) ‘The sheep-corn husbandry of Norfolk in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’, Agricultural History Review 5, pp. 12-30

Anon. (1720) The Law of Commons and Commoners or a Treatise shewing the Original and Nature of Common, 2nd edition, London

Ault, W. O. (1960) ‘Village assemblies in medieval England’, Album Helen Maud Cam, i. pp. 13-35.  Louvain: Studies Presented to the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions XXIII

Ault, W. O. (1965) Open Field Husbandry and the Village Community: a study of agrarian by-laws in medieval England, Philadelphia:  Transactions of American Philosophical Society, new ser. 55, pt.7.

B[anks], R. W. (1880) ‘The Grange of Cwmtoyddwr’, Archaeologia Cambrensis 4th ser. XI, pp. 30-50.

Balderston, R. R., & M. (n.d.), Ingleton: Bygone and Present, Skipton: Simpkin & Marshall

Batterick, E. (1987) Guardian of the Lakes: A History of The National Trust in the Lake District from 1946, Kendal: Westmorland Gazette

Birtles, S. (1998) ‘The impact of commons registration: a Norfolk study’, Landscape History 20, pp. 83-97

Birtles, S. (1999) ‘Common land, poor relief and enclosure: the use of manorial resources in fulfilling parish obligations 1601-1834’, Past and Present 165, pp. 74-106

Blackstone, W. (1792) Commentaries on the Laws of England, Vol. 2 available online at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/blackstone.asp

Bonfield, L. (1996) ‘What did English villagers mean by “customary law”?’, in Z. Razi and R. Smith (eds), Medieval Society and the Manor Court. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 103-16

Bowden, M., Brown, G. and Smith, N. (2009) An Archaeology of Town Commons in England: ‘A very fair field indeed’, Swindon: English Heritage

Brown, G. (2009) Herdwicks: Herdwick sheep and the English Lake District, Kirkby Stephen: Hayloft

Clayden, P. (2003) Our common land: the law and history of common land and village greens, Henley-on-Thames, Open Spaces Society

Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (n.d.) ‘The Making of the Elan Valley Landscape’ at http://www.cpat.org.uk/projects/longer/histland/elan/evintr.htm

Cosgrove, D. and Daniels, S. (eds) (1988) The iconography of landscape: essays on the symbolic representation, design and use of past environments, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Cousins, J. (2009) Friends of the Lake District: the early years, Lancaster: Centre for North West Regional Studies

Cowell, B. (2002) ‘The Commons Preservation Society and the campaign for Berkhamsted Common, 1866-70’, Rural History 13 (2), pp. 145-61

Cunningham, W. (1910) ‘Common Rights at Cottenham and Stretham in Cambridgeshire’, Camden Miscellany XII (Camden Society, 3rd series, volume XVIII), pp. 169-296

Davies, E. (1980) ‘Hafod, Hafoty and Lluest: their distribution, features and purpose’, Ceredigion 9 (1), pp. 1-41.

Davies, W. (1815) General View of the Agriculture and Domestic Economy of South Wales Volume I, London

De Moor, M., Shaw-Taylor, L. and Warde, P. (eds) (2002) The Management of Common Land in North West Europe, c. 1500-1850, Turnhout: Brepols

de Soissons, Maurice (1993) Brancaster Staithe: the story of a Norfolk fishing village, Brancaster: Woodthorpe Publishing

Dilley, R. S. (1973) ‘Common land in Cumbria, 1500-1850’, MPhil. thesis, University of Cambridge

Dilley, R. S. (1991) ‘Agricultural Change and Common Land in Cumberland 1700-1850’, Ph.D thesis, McMaster University.

Done, A. and Muir, R. (2001) ‘The Landscape History of Grouse Shooting in the Yorkshire Dales’, Rural History 12(2), pp. 195-210

Everitt, A. (2000) ‘Common land’, in J. Thirsk (ed.), The English Rural Landscape, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 210-35

Fleming, A. (1998) Swaledale: Valley of the Wild River, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Fraser, C. M. and Emsley, K. (eds) (1977) Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield Vol. I (1639-40), Leeds: Yorkshire Archaeological Society

French, H. R. (2003) ‘Urban common rights, enclosure and the market: Clitheroe Town Moors, 1764-1802’, Agricultural History Review, 51(1), pp. 40-68

Gadsden G. D. (1988) The Law of Commons, London: Sweet and Maxwell

Gardner, A. (1942) Britain’s Mountain Heritage and its Preservation as National Parks, London: Batsford

Getzler, J. (1997) ‘Judges and hunters: law and economic conflict in the English countryside, 1800-60’, in C. Brooks and M. Lobban (eds), Communities and Courts in Britain 1150-1900, London: Hambledon, pp. 199-228.

Hallam, H. E. (1963) ‘The fen bylaws of Spalding and Pinchbeck’, Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society 10, pp. 40-56.

Hardin, G. (1968) ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science 162, pp1243-8.

Harrison, C. (1997) ‘Manor courts and the governance of Tudor England’, in C. Brooks and M. Lobban (eds), Communities and Courts in Britain 1150-1900, London: Hambledon, pp. 43-59

Hart, W. H. and Lyons, P. A. (eds) (1884-93) Cartularium Monasterii de Ramseia, Rolls Series 79 (3 vols).

Healey, J. (2012) ‘The political culture of the English commons, c1550-1650’, Agricultural
History Review
60 (2) pp. 266-87.

Hill, C. (ed.) (1973) Winstanley: ‘The Law of Freedom’ and other writings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Hindle, S. (2003) ‘“Not by bread only”? Common right, parish relief and endowed charity in a forest economy, c.1600-1800’, in S. King and A. Tomkins (eds), The Poor in England 1700-1850: an economy of makeshifts, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 39-75.

Hobsbawm, E. (1983) ‘Introduction: Inventing Traditions’ in E. Hobsbawm, and T. Ranger (eds) The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Honore, A, (1961) ‘Ownership’ in Guest A. (ed.), Oxford Essays in Jurisprudence, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hoskins, W. G. and Stamp, L. D. (1963) The Common Lands of England and Wales, London: Collins

Howells, E. (2005) Good Men and True: The Lives and Tales of the Shepherds of Mid Wales, Aberystwyth: privately printed

Humphries, J. (1990) ‘Enclosures, common rights, and women: the proletarianization of families in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries’, Journal of Economic History 50 (1), pp. 17-42

Hunter, R. (1897) ‘The Movement for the Inclosure and Preservation of Open Lands’, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 60 (2), pp. 360-431

Hurle, P. (2007) The Forest and Chase of Malvern, Chichester: Phillimore

Johnson, D. (2008) Ingleborough Landscape and History, Lancaster: Carnegie

Leland, J. (1964) The Itinerary of John Leland, ed. L. Toulmin Smith, London: Centaur Press (5 volumes)

Liddell, W. H. (1966) ‘The private forests of south-west Cumberland’, Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, new ser. 66, pp. 106-30

Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica, London: Sinclair-Stevenson

Natural England (2008a) Trends in Pastoral Commoning in England: a study for Natural England (The Pastoral Commoning Partnership with H&H Bowes)

Neeson, J. M. (1993) Commoners: common right, enclosure and social change in England, 1700-1820, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Norden, J. (1618) The Surveiors Dialogue, London

Ostrom, E. (1990) Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Pollard, S. (1997) Marginal Europe: The Contribution of Marginal Lands Since the Middle Ages, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Poos, L. R. and Bonfield, L. (1998) Select cases in manorial courts 1250-1550: Property and family law, London: Selden Society Vol. CXIV

Postgate, M. R. (1973)  ‘Field systems of East Anglia’, in A. R. H. Baker and R. A. Butlin (eds), Studies of Field Systems in the British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 281-324

Ravensdale, J. R. (1974) Liable to Floods: village landscape on the edge of the fens, AD 450-1850, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Reay, B. (1996) Microhistories: demography, society and culture in rural England, 1800-1930, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Ritvo, Harriet (2009) The Dawn of Green: Manchester, Thirlmere and modern environmentalism, London: University of Chicago Press

Roach, P. C. (ed.) (1959) A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely, Volume III, London: Victoria County Histories

Robinson, L. (ed.) (1990) Court Rolls of Manor of Wakefield, 1651-2, Yorkshire Archaeological Society: Wakefield Court Rolls Series, VIII

Rodgers, C. P., Straughton, E. A., Winchester, A. J. L., and Pieraccini, M. (2011) Contested Common Land: Environmental Governance Past and Present, London: Earthscan

Royal Commission (1958) Royal Commission on Common Land 1955-1958: Report (P.P. 1958, Cmnd. 462)

Sabine, G. H. (1965) The works of Gerrard Winstanley, New York: Russell & Russell

Schama, S. (1996) Landscape and Memory, London: Fontana Press

Searle, C. E. (1993) ‘Customary tenants and the enclosure of the Cumbrian commons’, Northern History 29, pp. 126-53

Shannon, W. D. (2009) ‘Approvement and Improvement in Early-Modern England: enclosure in the lowland wastes of Lancashire, 1500-1700’.  PhD thesis, Lancaster University

Shaw Lefevre, G. (1894) English Commons and Forests, London: Cassell

Shaw-Taylor, L. (2002) ‘The management of common land in the lowlands of southern England’, in De Moor et al (2002), pp. 59-85.

Short, B. (1999), ‘Conservation, class and custom: lifespace and conflict in a nineteenth-century forest environment’, Rural History 10 (2), pp. 127-54

Silvester, R. J. (2004) ‘The commons and the waste: use and misuse in mid-Wales’, in I. D. Whyte and A. J. L. Winchester (eds), Society, Landscape and Environment in Upland Britain, Birmingham: Society for Landscape Studies, pp. 53-66

Silvester, R. J. (2007) ‘Landscapes of the poor: encroachment in Wales in the post-medieval centuries’, in P. S. Barnwell and M. Palmer (eds), Post-Medieval Landscapes, Macclesfield: Windgather Press. Landscape History after Hoskins, Volume 3, pp. 55-67

Smout, T. C. (2000), Nature Contested: Environmental History in Scotland and Northern England since 1600, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Steers J. A. (ed.), (1960) Scolt Head Island, Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons

Steers, J. A. (1936) ‘Some notes on the North Norfolk Coast from Hunstanton to Brancaster’, The Geographical Journal 87(1), pp. 35-46

Straughton, E. (2008) Common Grazing in the Northern English Uplands, 1800-1965: A history of national policy and local practice with special attention to the case of Cumbria, Lampeter & Lewiston: Edwin Mellen

Suggett, R. (2005) Houses and History in the March of Wales: Radnorshire 1400-1800, Aberystwyth: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

Summerfield, G. (ed.) (1990) John Clare: Selected Poetry, London: Penguin

Sydenham, A. (2006) Commons and Village Greens – the new law, Dorchester: Lime Legal

Thirsk, J. (2007) Food in Early Modern England, London: Hambledon Continuum

Thomas, K. (1983) Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800, London: Allen Lane

Thompson, E. P. (1991) Customs in Common: Studies in Popular Culture, London: Penguin

Turner, M. (1980), English Parliamentary Enclosure: its historical geography and economic history, Folkestone: Archon Books

Turner, M., Beckett, J. and Afton, B. (2003) ‘Agricultural Sustainability and Open-Field Farming in England, c.1650-1830’, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 1 (2), pp. 124-140

Wade Martins, S. (2004) Farmers, Landlords and Landscapes: Rural Britain, 1720 to 1870, Macclesfield: Windgather

Waddell, B. (Dec 2011) Landscape and Society in the Vale of York, c.1500-1800 (York: Borthwick Papers, no. 120), 56pp.

Waddell, B. (June 2012) ‘Governing England through the Manor Courts, c.1550-1850’, Historical Journal, 55:2, pp. 279-315

Ward, A. (1997) ‘Transhumance and settlement on the Welsh uplands: a view from the Black Mountain’, in N. Edwards (ed.), Landscape and Settlement in Medieval Wales, Oxford: Oxbow Monograph 81, pp. 97-111

Whyte, N. (2009), Inhabiting the Landscape: place, custom and memory, 1500-1800, Oxford: Windgather Press

Williamson, T. (2006) East Anglia (England’s Landscape Volume 2), London: HarperCollins for English Heritage

Wilmot, S. (1990) The Business of Improvement: agriculture and scientific culture in Britain, c.1700-c.1870, Historical Geography Research Series No. 24.

Wilson, O. and Wilson, G. (1997) ‘Common cause or common concern? The role of common land in the post-productivist countryside, Area 29(1), pp. 45-58.

Winchester, Angus J. L. (1984), ‘Peat storage huts in Eskdale’, Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, new ser. 84, pp. 103-115. Reproduced online with the kind permission of the author and publisher.

Winchester, A. J. L. (1987) Landscape and Society in Medieval Cumbria, Edinburgh: John Donald

Winchester, A. J. L. (2000) The Harvest of the Hills: rural life in northern England and the Scottish Borders, 1400-1700, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Winchester A.J.L. (2002) ‘Upland Commons in Northern England’, in De Moor et al. (2002), pp. 33-57

Winchester, A. J. L. (2006) ‘Village byelaws and the management of a contested common resource: bracken (Pteridium Aquilinum) in Highland Britain, 1500-1800’, Digital Library of the Commons at http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/archive/00001772/

Winchester, Angus J. L. (2006), ‘Common Land in Upland Britain: tragic unsustainability or utopian community resource?’ , first published in Umwelt und Geschichte in Deutschland und Grossbritannien: Environment and History in Britain and Germany, ed by Franz Bosbach, Jens Ivo Engels, and Fiona Watson (Prince Albert Studies Volume 24, Munich: K. G. Sauer, 2006); reproduced by the kind permission of the Prince Albert Society.

Winchester, A. J. L. (2007) ‘Baronial and manorial parks in medieval Cumbria’, in R. Liddiard (ed.), The Medieval Park: new perspectives, Macclesfield: Windgather Press.

Winchester, A. J. L. (2008) ‘Statute and local custom: village byelaws and the governance of common land in medieval and early-modern England’, Digital Library of the Commons at http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/archive/00004046/

Winchester, A. J. L. and Straughton, E. A. (2010) ‘Stints and sustainability: managing stock levels on common land in England, c.1600-2006’, Agricultural History Review 58 (1), pp. 29-47.

Wmffre, I. (2009) ‘Toponymy and land-use in the uplands of the Doethïe valley (Cardiganshire)’, in H. James and P. Moore (eds.), Carmarthenshire and Beyond: studies in history and archaeology in memory of Terry James Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Monograph Series Volume 8, pp. 270-83.

Wood, A. (1997) ‘The place of custom in plebeian political culture: England, 1550-1800’, Social History 22 (1), pp. 46-60.

Woodward, D. (1998) ‘Straw, bracken and the Wicklow whale: the exploitation of natural resources in England since 1500’, Past and Present 159, pp. 43-76.

Wordsworth, W. (2004) Guide to the Lakes, ed. Ernest de Sélincourt with preface by Stephen Gill.  London: Frances Lincoln.

Wrightson, K. (2007) ‘The “decline of neighbourliness” revisited’, in N. L. Jones and D. R. Woolf (eds.), Local Identities in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 19-49.