This article examines the local impact of cottage building on common wasteland in the wood-pasture countryside of the county of Shropshire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Based on the study of written documentary records, contemporary accounts and original maps, it examines the process of cottage building on commons in both rural agrarian and industrial contexts, exploring case studies of cottage settlement in a range of localities within Shropshire including forest, heathland, woodland and wetland areas. It outlines the character of the cottage economy and considers the regulation of cottages in relation to statute law concerning cottage building, poor relief and vagrancy. It complements the existing body of local and regional studies of cottage building, providing insight into the everyday lives of cottagers who built their cottages and encroached on common land, relying on commons access for their survival. Despite the informal existence of cottages and the fragile lives of those who inhabited them, it argues that it is possible to recover a picture of the impact of cottage settlement at a local level, and its significance as part of the development of the landscape.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Local Population Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2014|