Charities, rents, and enclosure: a comment on Clark

John Chapman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Gregory Clark's conclusion that the financial advantages of enclosure have been exaggerated may well have some validity, but the evidence which he offers in support is far less convincing than he supposes. There are serious problems with some of the basic assumptions which he makes in reaching his conclusion. Clark's argument rests on three interlinked propositions. First, he states that "For the years after 1720 the predominant way that common land became private was through the process of parliamentary enclosure." Second, he proposes that the charities' experience of enclosure equates with the general experience.3 Third, given these two propositions, he argues that the rent patterns shown in the records of the charities before and after enclosure offer a valid picture of the "gain" from enclosure as a whole. None of these propositions can stand unchallenged.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)447-450
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Economic History
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999


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