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Production and Consumption in Early Modern Berkshire, 1650-1750

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In “Production and Consumption in English Households, 1600-1750”, Overton and colleagues test theoretical models for the pre-industrial economy of early modern England. They conclude that ‘capitalism’ did not develop in a uniform linear manner by contrasting Kent, which integrated fully into the metropolitan economy, with Cornwall, which experienced relative impoverishment compared to Kent. This paper argues that the county-wide approach adopted by Overton and colleagues conceals as much as it reveals, and uses hearth tax data and probate inventories from different ecological regions of Berkshire to highlight the great local diversity that could be found within a single county.

This talk is part of the Economic and Social History Seminars series.

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