Chris Fisher – Custom, Work & Market CapitalismThe Forest of Dean Colliers, 1788-1888
198pp / 156x234mm / paperback
With a new preface by Rich Daniels, chairman of Hands Off Our Forest and Forest of Dean Freeminers Association.
During the eighteenth century a community of ‘free’ miners grew up on Crown land in the Forest of Dean. Their right to live and work in this region was neither conferred by the Crown nor by private employers or landowners; it became, over the years, a customary right. During the nineteenth century the Crown began to erode customary rights existing on its land and replace it with forms of market capitalism such as those which sprang up in the private sector during this period.
This book examines how this transition was made and how the free miners responded to the encroachments of market capitalism. It provides important insights into the way in which the body of custom altered over time and into the fundamental relations of property, production and law in a society. The ways in which customs were transformed and the sorts of adaptations which had to be made in customs which survived were an index of change in the wider society.