Research has long argued over an explanation for the rise of demesne lordship and about individual factors that influenced its establishment. A single explanatory approach has not yet been accepted, but the significance of influences such as the sixteenth-century price revolution or the political power yielded by the Estates is generally uncontested, even if disagreement arises as to their concrete effects and their importance relative to other factors. Various hypotheses have been proposed to explain the establishment of demesne lordship and the rise of the demesne economy. Possible explanations vary according to the theoretical approaches adopted. As discussed in Chapter 1, some favour analysis of the legal and political framework, while others give more weight to economic factors and particularly to what is regarded as the roughly simultaneous emergence of demesne lordship and a commercial demesne economy. This chapter will present a brief survey of explanations offered so far, then discuss and critically evaluate three approaches in greater detail.
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