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Demographic, economic and social change in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries : some conclusions from a study of four towns in Yorkshire from circa 1750 to circa 1830

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:44 by Roger Alan. Bellingham
During the period from c. 1750 to c1830 Easingwold, Market Weighton, Pocklington and Selby were small market towns, but all had wider functions and their economic fortunes were closely linked to changes in the regional transport systems. The way each town developed was in part due to their location but was also influenced by the actions of those who lived there. Thus those in charge at Selby used the transit traffic generated by the Selby canal as a foundation upon which to built the town's prosperity, in particular by constructing a bridge over the Ouse in 1792, despite strong opposition. The survival of the 1788 Window and Assessed Taxes return for Selby, which included the short lived Shop Tax, permits an unusual insight into the life of the town at that date. Besides throwing considerable light on the commercial activities in the town, the data has wider implications regarding the general provision of shops at that time. Between 1777 and 1812 the parish registers of many Yorkshire parishes, among them Easingwold, Pocklington and Selby, were in the extended 'Dade' format. Those for Selby are of an unusually high quality. These useful registers can provide demographic data that is in many ways superior to the data used by E.A. Wrigley and others in English Population History from family reconstitution 1580-1837 (1997). The view of those authors is that the demographic behaviour of migrants did not differ from those who did not migrate. The Selby data raises serious doubts so to whether this is a valid assumption. The research so far undertaken suggests that further research using Yorkshire Dade registers may show that the overall demographic experience of Yorkshire between 1777 and 1812 was different to that of England as a whole, as portrayed in English Population History.


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Economic and Social History

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University of Leicester

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