Wild places & wild people: a short history of common land
Britain’s common land has often been considered a wild place for wild people – Professor Angus Winchester explains how it played a key role in local economies and communities
Common land – land which wasn’t settled or farmed – used to exist right across Britain, and provided a vital shared resource for local communities. However, it was also seen by some as a wild place for wild people, and over the centuries, was gradually ‘improved’ or enclosed. Speaking with David Musgrove, Professor Angus Winchester highlights common land’s rich and complex history, arguing that it provided a key resource for fuel, building materials, foraging and hunting, as well as being a place where communities gathered, games were played, fairs were held, and political dissent occurred.
Angus Winchester is the author of Common Land in Britain: A History from the Middle Ages to the Present Day (Boydell & Brewer, 2022)
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