Andrew Yarranton

English civil engineer

Andrew Yarranton (1619 – 1684) was an important English engineer and agriculturist, in the 17th century who was responsible for making several rivers into navigable waterways.

Quotes from England's Improvement, (1677)


England's Improvement, (1677)

  • England's improvement by sea and land. To outdo the Dutch without fighting. To pay debts without moneys. To set at work all the poor of England with the growth of our own lands. To prevent unnecessary suits of law; with the benefit of a voluntary register. Directions where vast quantities of timber are to be had for the building of ships, with the advantage of making the great rivers of England navigable. Rules to prevent fires in London, and other great cities; with directions how the several companies of handicraftsmen in London may always have cheap bread and drink. By Andrew Yarranton, Gent. London, printed for the author, &c., 1677.
    • Full title cited in Patrick Edward Dove (1854, p. 403)
  • I was an apprentice to a linnen-draper when this king was born, and continued at the trade some years, but the shop being too narrow and short for my large mind, I took leave of my master, but said nothing. Then I lived a country-life for some years; and in the late wars I was a soldier, and sometimes had the honour and misfortune to lodg and dislodg an army. In the year 1G52, I entred upon iron works, and pli'd them several years, and in them times I made it my business to survey the three great rivers of England, and some small ones; and made two navigable, and a third almost compleated. I next studied the great weakness of the rye-lands, and the surfeit it was then under by reason of their long tillage. I did by practick and theorick find out the reason of its defection, as also of its recovery, and applyed the remedy in putting out two books, which were so fitted to the country-man's capacity, that he fell on pell-mell; and I hope, and partly know, that great part of Worcestershire, Glocestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire, have doubled the value of the land by the husbandry discovered to them; see my two books printed by Mr Sawbridg on Ludgate Hill, entitled, Yarranton's Improvement ly Clover, and there thou mayest be further satisfied.* I also for many years served the countreys with the seed, and at last gave them the knowledg of getting it with ease and small trouble; and what I have been doing since, my book tells you at large.
    • p. 193; cited in Patrick Edward Dove (1854, p. 405-6)

About Andrew Yarranton

  • Andrew Yarranton, Gentlemen was the founder of English political economy, the first man in England who saw and said that peace was better than war, that trade was better than plunder, that honest industry was better than martial greatness, and that the best occupation of a government was to secure prosperity at home, and let other nations alone.
  • There never have been wanting men to whom England's improvement by sea and land was one of the dearest thoughts of their lives, and to whom England's good was the foremost of their worldly considerations. And such, emphatically, was Andrew Yarranton, a true patriot in the best sense of the word.
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