1520s–1580s The Throckmortons, Warwickshire
The definition of sixteenth-century England? Government bordering on tyranny in a country filled with sweet musk roses and eglantine. It was a time to be in land. The weather was improving and more children were surviving into adulthood. The number of people in England was rising faster than the amount of food that could be grown for them. With a mismatch of supply and demand, food prices rose, tripling between 1508 and 1551, and rents rose with them. Agricultural land in the sixteenth century was the most reliable source of cash there was.
But the ability to deliver the increased yields depended on returning fertility to the ground. A mixed country, in which there was plenty of grazing, much of it already enclosed, was a recipe for financial success. Meadows were money in Tudor England and the Throckmortons, at Coughton in the lush valley of the River Arrow, were blessed with them. Much of their story—of huge ideological courage and daring in the face of power; of ferocious allegiance to an idea of the world and the universe which a vengeful crown was denying to Englishmen—would not have been possible without that pasture-rich background. The Throckmortons, and their attachment to Rome, floated on grass.