The Medieval Agricultural Revolution

The Medieval Agricultural Revolution

According to Veldman (2011), the medieval agricultural revolution refers to a period in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that saw procedural and gradual changes in technology and methodology applied in farming practices. The mentioned changes increased productivity in and profit from the land. Notably, the scenario was as a result of a series of technological innovations that took place at around the same time (Veldman, 2011). Apparently, the inventions were solely responsible for the notable changes that led to the increase in productivity in the agricultural sector.

Wallerstein (2011) asserts that the prime advancement that was in charge of the mentioned agricultural change was the land enclosure policy enacted by the British parliament at that time. The land enclosure system ensured that land got divided into fields that were easily manageable. Also, the medieval rotation system of agriculture, which stated that farmers left fields to fallow between planting seasons, played a great role in enhancing agricultural revolution and as a result raising the productivity of the agricultural areas (Veldman, 2011). The vegetable Turnip proved efficient in suppressing weeds and was used in the farming process. The element also provided fodder to the cattle that consequently added manure to the agricultural fields. Clover helped in adding nitrogen to the soil through its roots, therefore, increasing soil fertility.

To add on, a series of inventions in the late eighteenth century that brought about a use of scientific equipment and knowledge also helped hasten agricultural advancement. Among the innovations there was the use of deep trenches to drain the sloping land (Veldman, 2011). Joseph Elkington of Warwickshire was responsible for the transformation. Also, Andrew Meike invented the threshing machine that increased the effectiveness of harvesting grains. Furthermore, Salmon of Woburn designed the hay tossing machine that subsequently reduced the labor needed to dry and turn the feed. Consequently, the medieval agricultural revolution had many societal and economic changes that followed it. Most importantly, the growth of cities and towns and general clustering and division of societies was the most vital occurrence that preceded the medieval agricultural revolution (Veldman, 2011). However, there were substantial reasons that indicated that the revolution was behind the growth and organization of cities and manors.

First of all, the agricultural revolution led to the production of sufficient food. As a result, people’s health practices improved because of good and enough food. Consequently, the demographic feature of the societies grew. The feature led to people living in clusters in places that later grew to become towns and cities (Veldman, 2011). Also, due to the ample volumes of food produced, people saw the need to engage in commercial activities where they would exchange foodstuffs they had in surplus for those who lacked. The initiative led to people clustering in places that grew into towns. Moreover, the invention of scientific farm equipment meant that the former servants lacked tasks to perform in the fields (Wallerstein, 2011). As a result, many of the former servants moved away from the homesteads to places where they gathered to participate in constructive activities. Veldman (2011) notes that the continued clustering of former workers led to the growth of towns and later cities.

In a nutshell, the medieval agricultural revolution was as a result of several technical and scientific innovations like the use of machines in the fields and agricultural homesteads. Notably, the revolution came with repercussions, for instance, the growth and development of towns and cities that were as a result of increased population, exchange of foodstuffs and need to find places to stay away from homesteads.



Wallerstein, I. (2011). The modern world-system I: Capitalist Agriculture and the origins of the European world-economy in the sixteenth century, with a new prologue (Vol. 1). Univ of California Press.

Veldman, L.M (2011). THE WEST: Encounters & Transformations (Vol 1). Longman Publishers.

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