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Milk in British history
The spread of landlords enclosing what had often been "common land" meant that fewer labourers could afford to keep a cow.
From the 16th century onwards, cows and asses were driven through the streets of towns to be milked on demand, as this was the safest way of buying milk. Asses" milk was drunk particularly by young people and invalids.
But by the 17th century, beer was still the English countryman"s usual beverage; when it became cheaper, this was supplemented by tea. Whereas in Scotland, fresh milk was popular with all classes. Slowly, in the North of England, milk, or more usually milk diluted with whey or water gained a serious foothold.