Institutional change and property rights before the Industrial Revolution: the case of the English Court of Wards and Liveries, 1540-1660

Sean Bottomley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Secure property rights are usually considered to be essential for sustained economic development. In England, it is debated whether property rights have been secure since the medieval period or if they were only established after the Glorious Revolution. In this context, the paper examines the Court of Wards, which from 1540 to 1646 administered the Crown's right to take custody of children and their lands when these were held by feudal-military tenures. The paper shows that wardship was a common occurrence, its exactions arbitrary but often heavy, and that it reduced the value of lands held by these tenures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-274
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Economic History
Volume83
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

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