The price rise between 1500 and 1650
In the price rise between 1500 and 1650, the Gentry and Yeoman benefited and the Fourth Sort lost out. This is because the Gentry and Yeomen owned a lot of land. If you owned a lot of land, you became richer and those with smaller amounts of land, didn’t. This is because agricultural prices and wages went up, although wages did not go half as much as the prices. From 1500 to 1650 agricultural wages tripled, but agricultural prices went up by just over six times its original amount. Although it wasn’t until 1550 that there was a noticeably large difference between the two, by 1650 agricultural prices were around double the wages.
People like the Yeomen or Gentry owned enough land to make a very large profit as they didn’t just use their land to feed themselves, but rented it out to usually poorer people and sold crops that were grown on it. Obviously, as the prices went up the amount of money the Gentry and Yeomen earned from the land went up too. The price rise was bad news though, for Labourers and Husbandman who had very little land of their own and had to buy their food from the market. Because prices rose but wages didn’t, they could afford even less food than usual. They lost out and became even poorer, where as Gentry and Yeoman became richer because of the large profit they made.
The population increase meant that Gentry and Yeomen benefited and Poor People and Younger Sons lost out. Between 1538 and 1650 the population grew very fast. This caused the above problem of prices rising, as more people wanted land. The population rise meant there were more children to feed in each household, which caused more difficulties for poorer families. Younger sons lost out as the eldest son inherited his parents’ land which meant as the younger children grew up they had to find their own land. A lot of them left their villages to find land elsewhere or many went to other towns, often London, where they hoped to find work.
Gentry and Yeomen made more profits though, as there were more children to feed so more food was bought at markets. Gentry and Yeoman had more food sales, and the demand for land meant prices went up, causing poorer famalies to become even poorer still. Gentry and Yeoman started Farming for Profit when they realised they could make more money. They could do this by buying several strips of land together, rather than what they were doing – buying strips in different fields.
It was more efficient and beneficial for them to have all their strips together, so they started using some of their profits to buy out the neighbouring strips (usually owned by Husbandman.) Husbandman were obviously grateful for any extra money that came their way and so eagerly took up the opportunity to sell their strip of land. A while later they would realise they had no means of working their own land to grow food for the family to eat, as they sold the land for extra money, which had been quickly used up. This meant they needed more money to buy food from the market, and so started working on other people’s land for wages. This of course meant they were no longer Husbandman but Labourers and were poorer than ever.
Gentry and Yeoman on the other hand started buying out whole loads of strips and gradually accumulated all the land in that particular field. They had more crops to sell and so made more profit and became richer and richer. Farming for profit meant Gentry and Yeoman became richer while Husbandman became poorer. The final step that effected Gentry, Yeoman and The Fourth Sort was the Enclosure of Land. This was when Gentry and Yeoman started Enclosing bits of Common Land in fences, and using it to grow more crops/graze animals and so on. This effected Labourers and more of the poorer people as they used this land to graze any animals they owned themselves.
They also used it as a place to gather fuel from, like wood. Common Land did not belong to, and could be used by anyone unless it was enclosed with fences, and that meant it could not be used by anyone except the person that enclosed it in the first place. Gentry and Yeoman gradually enclosed more and more Common Land and made more money from it, yet the poorer people, for example the Labourers, became worse off as they had no land to graze their animals, or anywhere to gather fuel from. Over all, Gentry and Yeoman became richer and the Fourth Sort became poorer, because of the price rise of 1500-1650 and the population increases and other events that happened over the years.