Background. The research topic is relevant due to the fact that in Russian historiography until now has not conducted an analysis of the dynamics of agrarian legislation in England of the Tudor era (1485–1603). A special study of this legislation will make it possible to better understand the mechanisms of the economic and social policy of the absolute monarchy in the era of the decay of feudalism and the genesis of capitalism. The purpose of the work is based on the results of a study of domestic and English historians of agrarian legislation of the early Tudors to trace the further development of agrarian legislation in the middle and second half of the XVI century.
Materials and methods. When fulfilling the tasks in the context of the dialectical method of cognition, using analysis and synthesis, a study was carried out of the content of parliamentary statutes in relation to enclosures, royal proclamations and other sources, as well as special literature of domestic and English-speaking authors. This approach allowed us to trace the dynamics of the agrarian legislation of the English monarchs of the Tudor dynasty.
Results. The content of parliamentary statutes and royal proclamations on containment of enclosures was investigated, which allowed to determine both the reasons for their substantial changes and the changes themselves, as well as to determine their social consequences for the English village of the early Modern period.
Conclusions. Parliamentary statutes, royal proclamations regarding enclosures were generally aimed at restricting landlords from the conversion of arable land to peasants with their subsequent eviction. They contained provisions prescribing the conversion of pastures to arable land, limiting the size of manorial housekeeping, farms, the number of sheep, etc. The latest Elizabethan agrarian laws were more detailed, including a number of new points that reflected the agrarian realities in the country. The cabinet of Elizabeth I Tudor begins to realize the need for economic methods of regulating the enclosure process, but also the need to preserve and develop sheep husbandry. This determined the preservation of loopholes in the laws for fencers. It was this, and not only their poor performance by local officials, as was previously believed, that caused the process of enclosing peasant lands with the evacuation of the peasants themselves, to continue. At the same time, agricultural legislation restrained the pace of this process. It encouraged landlords more often to resort to legal methods of evicting peasants, in particular, by increasing fain, as well as conclude fencing agreements with their peasants. All these factors contributed to the transition from a system of open fields to a separate system of husbandry parts’ the peasantry and the creation of economic conditions for the spread of farming, and hence the transition to capitalist methods of management.
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