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This book studies the evolution and destruction of a part of the English landscape, following the history of three peasant communities - Landbeach, Waterbeach and Cottenham - on the margin of the Fens. Here, lord and peasant together developed a society that derived its strength from the balance between arable and lush grassland. The fenman in his struggle against the unpredictable floods learned a wiliness that enabled him to outwit the new acquisitive landlords of the Tudor period and to control his own destiny. Thus the peasant community increased its power and kept the old ways of field and fell almost inviolate until commerce and industry created irresistible market forces.