History of ecological living in Britain?

Adrian Peter Toole adrian at sweetbriar.demon.co.uk
Sun Mar 11 23:34:55 GMT 2001

Hi RC162

Yes, Yes, Yes, but one really has to go back to the real Middle Ages,
i.e. before the Norman Conquest. That time was little documented of
course but try a recent book:

The Year 1000, Robert Lacey & Danny Danziger, Little Brown and Company,
ISBN 0 316 64375 0.

Or Peter Laslett's classic, which I was only ever able to get hold of
from a library, The world we Have Lost (1965).
However he followed this up with: The World We Have Lost: Further
Explored, 3rd ed. (1984), which is itself out of print but available
through: http://www.ihgs.ac.uk/institute/bookshop.html.

In the original book he quoted no less an authority than Karl Marx;

"The Bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put
 an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has
 pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound
 man to his 'natural superiors,' and left remaining no other
 nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than
 callous cash payment. It has drowned the most heavenly
 ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of
 philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical
 calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange
 value; and, in place of the numberless indefeasible
 chartered freedoms, it has set up that single unconscionable
 freedom--Free Trade."

Makes you think doesn't it? anyway I'm getting away from your question! 

For a description of how the independent life of the English peasant was
finally destroyed:  The Agricultural Labourer 1760-1832 by J.L. Hammond
and Barbara Hammond, Alan Sutton Publishing.

A good example of 'local' production is in forestry products. there is
an extensive publication list on this subject but I recommend:

Oliver Rackham, Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape, Pheonix (
originally J.M.Dent), ISBN: 1 85799 455 8

Oliver Rackham, The Last Forest, J.M.Dent, ISBN 0-460-86089-5

For practical guidance on forestry: Woodlands, a practical Handbook,
British trust for Conservation Volunteers, ISBN 0 9501643 7 2

I have no doubt that you can find recent evidence of close economic ties
with local environmental resources, and permaculturalists are still
working at it! I can put you in touch with one if you wish.

Good Luck 

In message <98b0u8+d0il at eGroups.com>, RC162 at mercury.anglia.ac.uk writes
>Ive been reading some books on BioRegionalism. The literature is 
>entirely American.  They keep on refering to Native Americans as  
>examples of cultures whose identity was firmly based in the nature of 
>the region.  I think that in order for an eco-village to create and 
>maintain a culture of sustainability its members have to have an 
>understanding of the local ecology and ways in which to make a viable 
>business in harmony with this.  What do I mean?  In Cambridge there 
>is a shop 'Botanicus' which is planning to produce local herbal 
>concoctions such as shampoo soap etc. from herbs grown in harmony 
>with nature in Cambridgeshire as opposed to shipping them in from the 
>Czech Republic which it currently does.  This could be seen as a 
>bioregional business.  What I really want to know and hope that one 
>of you can help me with is  in the history of Britain where do we 
>look for an example of when we produced things in this bioregional 
>way?  Where as americans refer to Native Americans where do we refer 
>to?  When is the best example of people in Britain living according 
>to natural laws as opposed to economic laws?  Did people have free 
>access to nature and organise business collectivelly with a 
>consideration of sustainability before the revolution/civil war, 
>before the normans, before the romans?  Which is the best time in 
>history to see this?
>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/ 

Adrian Peter Toole

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list