Star formation and land redistribution

In the latter half of the 18th century, Denmark went through a large agricultural reform. This reform transformed the Danish rural community. The cultivation methods of the day were seen as inhibitory and reform was needed to make the productivity more effective and to allow the farmer more freedom in working the land. In 1755 the government promoted an idea of open debate as to how agriculture could be improved and therefore productivity increased. Over the next few years a great deal was written on this, especially by civil servants and progressive estate owners. One clear conclusion of the many contributions was that the only way to expand production for ordinary Danes was to redistribute the village land so that it was aggregated into a few large plots that would be suitable for the new method of crop rotation.  This land reform must be seen in conjunction with the new economic trends of the day, the ideas of enlightenment and the initial perception of the equality of all individuals. 

Physiocracy, the theory developed by a group of 18th century Enlightenment French economists who believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from the value of “land agriculture” or “land development” and that agricultural products should be highly priced, had a major role in 1700s Denmark, and those that championed this theory had a belief in free competition without government intervention. They considered the economy as a self-regulating system, and they regarded agriculture as the only production that could actually increase the wealth of a state.

As mentioned, the way in which agriculture could be made more efficient was to redistribute the land.  The target was to have plots of land around each farm. This redistribution took place across the country, and was typically a mix between star formation and block formation. Even though the goal was a plot of land for each farm, it usually ended with 2-3 plots thus getting the best distribution of the soil. The redistribution of land really took hold in the 1790s when the landowners were given the opportunity to impose duty on the renewal of their tenancies. 

Land redistribution happened in Allested in 1799. It was the land inspector who chose the star shaped redistribution. The reason for this was that the local farms were located in the village and in close proximity to each other. It was therefore the easiest and cheapest solution to leave the farms where they were and to draw lines of new plots away from the farm in a diagonal direction. Another reason why this solution was possible was because there was only one estate owner, namely, Søby-Søgård, who could decide. The star formation of land redistribution in Allested is the best example on Funen.

A characteristic of this land use is the open fields. One can see how the fields become narrower and narrower towards the village. The field boundaries which exist today are the boundaries which originated approx. 200 years ago. The boundaries which are more rolling or follow the landscape are from the village’s formation i.e. approx. 1800. 

The boundaries which define land ownership are at least 1,500 years old. 

Allested is contained within a land area which is somewhat larger than the area of our neighbours adjacent to us. 

In 1990 there came legislation which protected earth and stone dikes, ensuring our area’s hallmark. 

Another feature of Allested is 800 years of stability. Since the beginning of land reform at the end of the 16th century, the number of farms in the village has been between 24 and 26. The unique thing here is that despite the farms being remodelled several times, their locations have not altered. 

If looking on a road map or viewing Allested from above, the village is instantly recognisable due to the unique shape of the surrounding fields which still follows the old boundaries encompassing the village.