Contrasting rural communities: The experience of South Yorkshire in the mid-nineteenth century.

HOLLAND, Sarah. (2013). Contrasting rural communities: The experience of South Yorkshire in the mid-nineteenth century. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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This thesis re-evaluates the Mills model of 'open' and 'closed' villages by applying it to a new geographical area: Doncaster in South Yorkshire. The Doncaster district is a particularly neglected area in terms of village typology and mid nineteenth century rural and agrarian history. The thesis is based upon the study of six village case studies, all in close proximity to the market town of Doncaster, which differed in terms of landownership and land type. Using a range of comparable and widely available nineteenth century sources, including Census Enumerators' Books, trade directories, newspapers and government reports, in addition to estate records where they survive, three thematic chapters examine how and why agriculture, agricultural employment, industry and micro-commerce developed and differed in the six villages. From this analysis, three main arguments of the Mills model are evaluated. Firstly, that the characteristics of villages with and without concentrated landownership were different (classificatory). Secondly, that landownership and landowners were directly responsible for the characteristics of the villages (causal). Thirdly, that the actions of landowners in estate villages had a negative effect on multi-freeholder villages, and made the former dependent on the latter (dependency).The limitations of the Mills model for understanding village typology are demonstrated. Firstly, variation between villages with similar landowning structures, and change within a relatively short period of time, affect the classification of villages. Secondly, leadership and land type were important causal factors, in addition to differentiated rather than homogenised landownership. Thirdly, the inter-relationships stimulated by the market town in terms of marketing facilities, agricultural societies, trades and crafts, hiring fairs and forums for debate, and the availability of raw materials, skills and labour collectively undermine Mills' notion of one-way dependency between 'open' and 'closed' villages. This thesis suggests alternative frameworks to the sharp dichotomy of the Mills model, which have wider applicability. It argues that a continuum, a sequence along which subtle differences are placed between the two extremes, is a better representation of the characteristics of different villages as it demonstrates variation and change. This contribution is further consolidated by the construction of a diagrammatic framework that places the village at the heart of the complex processes of cause, effect and inter-relationships.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Verdon, Nicola [0000-0002-3538-9496]
Thesis advisor - Lewis, Merv
Thesis advisor - Cain, Peter
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2013.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:07

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