Food, Energy and the Creation of Industriousness: Work and Material Culture in Agrarian England, 1550–1780
Until the widespread harnessing of machine energy, food was the energy which fuelled the economy. In this groundbreaking 2011 study of agricultural labourers' diet and material standard of living, Craig Muldrew uses empirical research to present a much fuller account of the interrelationship between consumption, living standards and work in the early modern English economy than has previously existed. The book integrates labourers into a study of the wider economy and engages with the history of food as an energy source and its importance to working life, the social complexity of family earnings, and the concept of the 'industrious revolution'. It argues that 'industriousness' was as much the result of ideology and labour markets as labourers' household consumption. Linking this with ideas about the social order of early modern England, the author demonstrates that bread, beer and meat were the petrol of this world, and a springboard for economic change.
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account books acre Agricultural Revolution alehouse amount animals arable Arthur Young average barley Batchelor beef Berkshire bread brewing bushels butchers butter calculated calories Cambridge Cambridgeshire cattle cent cheese Clark cloth consumed consumption cost cows crops dairy day labourers diets drink E. A. Wrigley Early Modern England earnings eaten eighteenth century Ellis employment England English estimated farm labourers farmers figures gallon grain Gregory King harvest hearth Hearth Tax Hertfordshire hired household Ibid increased industrious kcal Kent King’s King’s Lynn labouring families land Latham Lincolnshire listed London malt meat median milk Moffet Muldrew Norfolk oatmeal oats Overton parish Parson Woodforde pasture pease pudding percentage period Phelps Brown pints Ploughing poor population pound probate inventories production pudding purchase qrtr rent sample servants in husbandry seventeenth century sixteenth small beer spinning strong beer sugar Table Thirsk Turner wages week wheat women workers workhouse Wrigley