British History, Culture & Sports, History of Freedom, Heroes, Inventors, Brits at their, English country scene

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More than an antique land


Henry Morton's luminous description of English country gave us the impression of an antique world, little changed for centuries.

In fact British agriculture was so successful because 18th century Britain was a revolutionary period for agricultural science. Jethro Tull invented the mechanized seed drill, modernizing 3,000 years of farming; Viscount ‘Turnip’ Townshend and Thomas Coke popularized the Norfolk Crop Rotation System; Robert Bakewell decided to expand the food supply by selectively breeding his farm animals for desired traits, which dramatically improved sheep and cattle-raising; George Culley, the Colling brothers, and many other British farmers joined him in improving breeds; and in 1793 the Board of Agriculture was established to publicize scientific advances. These continued into the 19th and 20th centuries with plant genetics and organic farming.

The quiet country was a hotbed of invention and innovation. And timeless, and beautiful.