“To destroy the settlement of estate”? the Glorious Revolution and estate acts of parliament, 1660–1702

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01/2019
 
Publication date: January 2019
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
 
Abstract:

This article sheds light on the way the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England affected property rights to land. From 1660 to 1702, the bulk of parliament’s legislative work was on estate acts that reorganized families’ rights to land use. Using a random sample of 65 estate acts, the article finds that the Revolution broadened political access to parliament. I show acts were primarily for members of parliament and their families, but new acts after 1688 had secondary connections to MPs as trustees. It also finds that the composition of the acts changed after the Revolution because landholders sought to break strict settlements, a new form of property conveyance. The findings establish the place of estate acts in the broad narrative of the Glorious Revolution and help to explain the development of capitalism in England.

 
JEL Classification:

N43, H10, K11, P14, P16

Keywords:

property rights, Glorious Revolution, estate acts, strict settlements

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26 October 2020
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