Eric Ash’s The Draining of the Fens: Projectors, Well-liked Politics, and State Constructing in Early Fashionable England (JHU Press, 2016) was not too long ago reviewed by Bob Silvester in Setting and Historical past (for an interview with the creator see right here). Well-known frequent regulation judges play an enormous function on this story. The overview studies that Ash:

Sir John Popham,
copy by George Good Harding, after unknown

succeeds admirably although is in fleshing out the procedures – there’s a masterly commentary on the commissions of sewers – and occasions which have been handled solely cursorily up to now. Lord Chief Justice Popham’s plans to dry out the Nice Stage, which resulted in little greater than the development of a giant drain generally known as Popham’s Eau mendacity east of March in Cambridgeshire, appeared an obscure occasion once I labored within the Fens within the 1980s…; simply what Popham sought to attain and the way it fitted into the general sequence of drainage ventures is now a lot clearer by the cautious evaluation of archival materials.

Concerning the creator’s assertion that his “principal aim is to make use of the drainage tasks to attach the broader political, financial, social and environmental developments of the period”, Silvester writes that “there are occasions when fenland drainage seems to be subsumed inside a broader discourse as merely an impressive instance of state-building in progress. It accounts for the prolonged digression on Lord Chief Justice Coke’s interference in fenland affairs round 1609”.

For extra on Commissions of Sewers and drainage regulation, see right here.

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