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Land, family and community in Wingham and its environs: an economic and social history of rural society in East Kent from C.1450-1640

Andrewes, E. Jane (1991) Land, family and community in Wingham and its environs: an economic and social history of rural society in East Kent from C.1450-1640. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86122) (KAR id:86122)


The thesis is a social and economic study of five contiguous parishes in East Kent, which for the most part formed the estate of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Wingham, the central community of this area, a market village, quasi small town in an area of hamlet communities and isolated farms situated mid way between Canterbury and the port of Sandwich. The topography of this area and its importance as a determining factor in the social and economic structure is outlined. Lordship in this area and the structure of the Wingham estate is traced through the medieval period to the 17th century, revealing the disintergration of an unusally large, medieval, ecclesiastical estate and the emergence of the small estate pattern, more typical of East Kent. The nature o fthese estates continuity and change among resident gentry families and their status, wealth and influence in the locality is considered. The changing pattern of landholding and the ground plan of farms is uncovered, indicating both compact, enclosed units and farms with dispersed arabic parcels in open fields and detached marshland; the influence of demographic trends and inheritance strategies is discussed suggesting long term piecemeal consolidation. The economic structure of this area, situated within the relatively urbanised south east is considered in terms of agriculture, family farms, rural trade occupations, a rural cloth industry, marketing, consumption and local credit. It revealed an intensive and flexible agrarian system with individual autonomy and diversity in family enterprises. The nature of community is examined in terms of general population trends, place and community focus, neighbourhood relationships, networks and urban connections. This study depended on a variety of local sources, in particular a rich survival of probate records, which made possible a biographical method reconstruction and use of case studies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86122
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: History; East Kent
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:29 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2021 15:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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