Arthur Young.

The farmer's tour through the east of England : being the register of a journey through various counties of this kingdom, to enquire into the state of agriculture, &c. ... (Volume 3) online

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feem fwallowed up by the impending hills.

On rifing the hill 7 if you turn the other way.
towards the head of the vale, you look down
from without the wall, commanding all the
waves of the lawn at bottom, which form a moll
plealing fcenery, and look full into a vafl am-
phitheatre of wood, which terminates the vale :
the vic.v nobly romantic.

From the top of the hill, full northwards,
js a very great profpecr. over the vale of Black*
fnoor: innumerable inclofures are fpread forth
to the eye j the whole bounded by diftant hills :

a view


From Lady-day to Midfwnmcr he folds
them all. From Midfummer to Michaelmas
5000 ; and from Michaelmas to Lady -day
2000 wether?.

The fold of 1000 is reckoned here at
1 5 *. a night.
13000 Folded 1 quarter of a year,

at 15 s. per 1000, .£• 8S7 5 o

5000 Ditto 1 quarter, at ditto, 341 5 o
2000 Ditto 1 -half, at ditto 273 o o

Total, - - 1 50 1 10 o

6455 o o

Total of fheep including fold, 7956 10 o

a view fimi!ar to thole I mentioned having
feen from the downs in Suffix.

The abbey is one of the mod ancient build-
ings in England) being founded by king Athel-
jian : it joins an old church, which is yet of a
great fize, but was once as large as molt cathe-
drals. It is a very finis Gothic building, and has
a fret-vork ceiling in ftone, remarkably light.
The fituation of thefe edifices is very fine : it
is a regular knole, which fwells boldly in the
middle of the grand amphitheatre, formed by
the furrounding hills : an in (lance out of many
)f the judgment with which the monks chafe
their foliations. In one of the rooms is a moil
agreeable copy of '■Titian's, famous Venus in the
Tribxna at Florence : the foft tender delicacv of
B b 4 'the


This fum appears at firft fight to be a
vaft receipt in one article on one farm ;
but if the immenfe extent of land be con-
fidered, and the advantages to be made
of that extent by another mode of huf-
bandry, it would be found a very inferior

I ihould

the colouring, which is animated nature, is be-
witching-, the grace and eafe of the attitudes are
alio moft happil breed ; but dairying pays beft ; the
total product of a cow 6 /. or 7 /.

There are fome turnips here, but none
hoed ; their courfe, in general, is three
crops of corn and three of grafs.

Moft of the town and its neighbourhood
is leafehold eftates ; the price 15 years
purchafe, and a renewal 3 years purchafe.

Towards Chard the land continues very
good : about three or four miles from Ax-
•nbijier the courfe is,

1. Fallow 4. Clover and ray-grafs

2. Wheat 3 to 6 years

3. Barley 5. Wheat.

Wheat yields, on an average, 20 bufhels.
parley 30 ; oats as much. There are many



turnips, but none hoed ; yet they fell at
40 s. an acre. But the principal part of the
country is grafs land ; there are many dai-
ries of cows, from 10 to 40 in a dairy;
they let from 3/. i$s. to 4/. 4 s. : an acre
will fummer feed a cow. Some farmers
fatten middling fized heifers, and reckon It
more profitable than letting their cows ;
but cows would be befb if they were not let.
There are very few fheep in the low rich
lands, which are apt to rot them. There
are fome tracts of watered meadows that let
from 25 i*. to 40 s. an acre.

Here are fome orchards ; an acre in a
good year will give 20 hogfheads ; but in
fome not more than 3 or 4 ; the average is
40 hogfheads from 6 acres, at 2 is. each :
apples fell at from 1 s. to 2 s. a bufhel.

About Leigh and Winfiam farms rife
from 20/. to 150/. a year. The foil is a
ftrong rich clay on gravel or flint ; lets
from ioj-. to 20 j-. an acre ; average j 2 s. 6d*
To Axminjler 18/.
To 1l aunt on 16 s.
To Ilminfter 13^.

The general courfe here is,

1. Wheat 3. Ray-grafs and

2v Barley hop clover 2 years,


Ray-grafs they call ever grafs.

1. Wheat one year

2. Barley 4. WJieat

3. Clover alone 5. Barley or oats.
Thefe, it mull be confefTed, are bleffed


Farmer Cooper, one of the tenants of
Henry CorniJJj Henley, Efq. of Leigh, who
he brought from his eftate in Norfolk, ufes
a courfe that is wonderfully different.

1. Turnips 3. Clover

2. Barley 4. Wheat.

The crops of wheat are, on an average,
20 bufhels ; barley 20 to 30 ; but few oats ;
the produce 24. For turnips they plough
three times ; none of them hoe — but here
is an anecdote worth mentioning.

The above-mentioned farmer Cooper has
occupied a farm at Leigh 18 or 19 years :
on his firft coming from Norfolk, with his
head, it may be fuppofed, full of turnips
and hoes, he was highly difgufted at the hus-
bandry of his neighbours ; and immediately
determined to carry on a better fyftem. His
firft objedT. was to make turnips a regular
crop in the courfe, and to hoe them twice,
in the Norfolk manner : he met with many



difficulties from the perverfenefs and auk-
wardnefs of his men; but by working with
them himfelf, and never giving up the
fcheme a fingle year, he, at laft, got the
better, and has for many years hoed his
crops well and regularly ; they have an-
fwered accordingly ; and at the fame
time that they yield him infinitely more
food than his neighbours, his fucceeding
ones of barley are far cleaner and better.
Of thefe facts they have now been regular
witneffes near 20 years, and yet I could
not find that one man had imitated him : fo
flagrant an inftance of ftupidity and preju-
dice, that were I pofTeffed of an eftate in
this country, not a foul of them mould
remain an hour after the next crop of un-
hoed turnips. It is intolerable; and a
fatire on the landlords for not exerting
more fpirit in a matter of fuch real import-

The average value of their unhoed crops
is 30J.

Some of their clover is mown, and fome
fed ; the crop of hay 1 to 1 \ ton. They
have no fainfoine, although the upper lands



are all on a rock, and would do admirably
well for that grafs.

The larger farmers fold their fheep in
the fummer j the fmaller ones not at all,
They ufe a good deal of lime; 10 to 20
hogmeads an acre, at 2 s. a hogfhead at the
kiln 5 but they always mix it with earth.
It lafts 3 crops ; and they find it a great
improvement ; but the ufe decreafes, from
the meafure of coals growing fmaller,
at the fame time that the price rifes.
They have no chalk or marie. No chop-
ping of ftubbles ; and the hay is Hacked
about the fields.

The beft grafs land lets from 20 s. to
40 s. an acre : It is chiefly applied to the
dairy ; 1 f acre, and 1 of after-grafs, is the
Hint per cow. The breed of the cattle the
fhort-horned : they give about 6 lb, of but-
ter per week. They let at 5/. i$s.\ the
dairy-man has the fwine, and the keeping
a mare and colt ; their profit is 40 s. a head,
The winter food flraw and hay: to 20
cows they allow 20 tons of hay, and 25 to
30 acres of barley ftraw.

Flocks of fheep rife from 100 to 700,
The profit :


Lamb, - £. o 9 6

Ewe's wool, - 026

Lamb's ditto, - 013

013 3

The hill farmers winter them in the
dairy farms, at the rates of, ewes 6 s* 6 J*
hogs 4 s. They think the rot is owing to
ftagnating water on low lands ; and much
rain, in fummer, on clay lands.

In their tillage they reckon 6 horfes ne-
cefTary for 100 acres of arable land : they
ufe 4 in a plough, and do 3 roods a day,
from 2 to 5 inches deep ; the price from
4s. to 6s. an acre. In thisinftance, alfo,
farmer Cooper has fet them an example,
which none have followed.

He has a Norfolk plough, with which
his fon and a pair of horfes, without a dri-
ver, ploughs an acre in the fame time that
they, w r ith 4 horfes and a driver, do £ ;
yet not a man will touch it, or endeavour
to learn to ufe a tool that fo evidentlv faves
fuch confiderable fums of money. They
know nothing of cutting flraw into chaff-—
nor are there 3 farmers in 20 that do net
throw away all the chaff of their crops.

5 They


They ufe more draft oxen than horfes ;
6 in a plough ; which do the fame work as
4 horfes, but are kept much cheaper. Mr*
Cooper, above-mentioned, though a Norfolk
man, and came here much prejudiced
againft them, is become fuch a convert,
that he has parted with moft of his horfes ;
has now only 4, but keeps 12 oxen ; while
idle they have nothing but draw, but when
worked, hay. I enquired of him, particu-
larly, into this part of his bufinefs, and he
allured me they found them all, beyond
comparifon, cheaper than horfes : he faid, if
he w r as forced to keep horfes alone, he
fhould not be able to pay his rent.

Almoft every farm here has either an

orchard, or many apple trees in the hedge

rows. An acre yields from 5 to 30 hogf-

heads of cyder ; but they never bear two

years running ; they have but one crop in

two years ; the average product, in a bear-;

ing year, is 16 hogfheads ; fo they yield 8

per ami. The price, on an average, is 16J4

but the farmer finds calks, and carries the

cyder fome miles. A man who has 6 acres

of orchard, muff have 50/. in flock, in




The orchards let at 40J. an acre. They

are from 15 to 20 years before they become
profitable. They are planted 30 feet fquare.

Ten bufhels of apples make a hogfhead ;
the picking and making coft them 3 if, a

They reckon the foil is here as much as
the kind of apple ; the ftronger the clay,
the better the cyder.

As I was here approaching the manufac-
tures of Somerfet/hire, I enquired if the high
price of corn had induced any body to
plough up their paftures or meadows.
Ploughing up meadow they treated with
contempt, and aflured me that the turn
here was fo much that of laying land down
to grafs, that in a very few years the whole
country would be nothing elfe. In this
idea the landlords and tenants unite ; but
the former will not allow the rough bad
grafs to be ploughed up, even with a view
to laying it down better ; which is a great
fault : under proper reftrictions, to prevent
them from taking fucceffive corn crops,
breaking up fuch ground would be of great
Utility. Let me here obferve, that no grafs
is allowed to be broken up in Dorfetjhire :



all the cow and ewe leafes — fheep flaights,
&c. &c. are covenanted to remain as they
are, under a penalty of 5/. an acre: nor did
a fingle farmer, with whom I converfed^
exprefs any defire to plough up. This is
fomewhat remarkable ; for corn is always
confiderably higher in Dorfetjhire and So-
merfetjhire, than in the eaftern counties ;
and yet in the latter they would* if per-
mitted, plough up almoft every acre. Is
there not reafon, from hence, to imagine
that the high price of corn is not the fpring
which actuates them in this cafe ?

In the hiring and flocking farms, they
reckon 300/. neceflary for 100/. a year.

Tythes are generally compounded.
Wheat, 4-r.
Barley, 3 s.

Oats, peafe, and beans, and fetches,
2J. 6 d.

Poor rates 20 d. in the pound; 20 years
ago 12 d. The employment fpinning.
All drink tea.

Moft of the farmers have leafes, but
many landlords will give only for 3 years*
and a few for 7. This is a great difcour-
agement to good husbandry : let them raife



their rents as high as they pleafe ; but the
tenants fhould have a certainty of reaping
the profit of any improvements he is in-
duced to make.

In harveft, i j-. to is: 4^. and cyder.
In hay-time, 1 s.
In winter, 10 d.

This appears very cheap ; but they
allured me the farmers were worfe off, than
if rates of labour were higher ; the labour-
ers do very little ; they won't go to work
before 8 *o clock in the morning ; are long
at their meals, and go home early ; is. id.
for a fair day's work, they fay would be


Reaping, /\s. to 4 s. 6d.

Mowing corn, 1 s.

■ grafs, is. 6d. and cyder.

Thrafhing wheat, $d. to 6d. a bufhel ;

but they draw the ftraw for thatching.

; barley, 2d.

oats, 1 d. \ .

Head-man's wages, 7 A
Next ditto, 5/. 10 j-.
Lad's, 4/.
Dairy-maid*s, 3 L

Vol. III. D d Othef


Other ditto, 3/. ioj.

Women a day in hay and harveft, 8 d. and


Labour is not rifen here at all.

As I am now to leave the near neigbour-
hood of Dorjl'ffiire, I fliall conclude this
letter with a few obfervations on the ftate of
husbandry in that county, in which much
the moll confiderable part is occupied by
farmers, whofe chief attention is given to

I have, in the courfe of the preceding
minutes, endeavoured to fhew that the pre-
judice here in favour of fheep, is hurtful to
the profit of hufbandry, while they manage
in the manner common at prefent. It ap-
peared, I think pretty clearly, that if fheep
mufi totally occupy their views, they ought
to change their fyftem as much as if they
converted their country to corn farms.

The proportion in which whole farms
are flocked, will be nearly feen by a few

Mr. Darner's farm,
Mr. PleydeWs
Lord Milton's,

Carry over.












Brought over, 3657 4460

A farm at Milton abby, 1800 1700

Mr. Hardy y - n boo 13000

16457 19160

Hence it appears that they flock at the
rate of nearly 1 £ per acre. I have calcu-
lated many Norfolk flocks on their com
farms, and I find them on an average to
be 1 of a Iheep per acre ; this muft furely
prove how far inferior they- are in this
country. — The benefit of raifing large quan-
tities of wool for our manufactures, does
not come into this cafe at all ; becaufe,
fuppofing that an object fufEciently great
to over-balance the fuperior products which
might otherwife be gained, yet the fact of
their not keeping near lb many fheep as
they might do on an improved fyftem, to-
tally anfwers fuch an objection.

But I fhall not fuppofe any fuch abfurd
conduct, as to (acrihce general profit to num-
bers of Jheep) but venture to recommend a
total change of courie, inftead of that vile
husbandry :

1. Wheat 3. Barley or oats

2. Barley 4. Ray-grafs 3 years.
D d z Let


Let the following be purfued.
i. Turnips 3. Clover, 2 years

2. Barley 4. Wheat.

And not on a Tingle field or fo, but through
the whole farm, except meadows : all their
upland pafture, ewe leafes, &c— - the whole
fhould be thrown with the arable into this
courfe : 1 coo acres of land would then

200 Acres of turnips.

400 clover.

200 wheat.

200 barley.

The turnips perfectly cleaned by two*
fufficient hand-hoeings. In this fyftem
there would be near as many Iheep as at pre-
fent — I am even of opinion there would be
more; at prefent there would be 1250 ;
nor can I doubt but more than that number
might be kept on 400 acres of clover, and
200 of good turnips ; but fuch an idea is*
not important ; the grand queftion is the
total product, which is evident, from a
glance of the eye, would, in this courfe, be
beyond comparifon fuperior to that of the
other: even in fheep alone, 1000 would
pay more than 1250 at prefent, from the



plenty of winter food, and the expence of
winter joilt being faved.

That the earth would yield more abun-
dant products when fhe was cropped with
corn but twice in five years, and never with
two fuccefiively, than when 3 come together
every 6, cannot be doubted, were this alone
the whole comparifon : but what a fuperi-
ority refults from the introduction of a tur-
nip crop well tilled, manured, twice hand-
hoed, and then fed on the land ! — I can
hardly fuppofe that any man will refufe his
aflent to fuch a proportion.

Another point in the management of
meep in Dorfetfiire which calls for particu-
lar notice, is their not folding the ewe flocks
in winter. Their plea is very pofitive, that
the thing is impofTible — that they would
not bear it — that the lambs would be killed
— and a hundred other rhodomontade rea-
fons, which might be decifive if it was no
where practifed. I will not inftance the
fheep of Norfolk^ Suffolk^ and other dis-
tant counties ; but what fay the JPorfet-
JJjire gentlemen to their neighbours in Wilt-*
JJjire ? The Wiltjhire meep are larger, and
as valuable as the Dorfets, The ewe
D d 3 flock§


flocks there, are folded all winter, and in
very many the ewes lamb in the fold ; if
the breed isfo much hardier as to bear this,
while the Dorfctfiire ewes will not ; it is
decifive in favour of the former : but this I
do not take to be the cafe ; it is the cuftom
in one county ; it is not the cuftom in the
other ; and the practice of their fore-fathers^
not the reafon of the thing, is the guide in
nine tenths of thefe matters. I cannot
however avoid calling on the farming part of
the gentlemen to change their conduct, and
infill on their flocks being folded through
the winter without intermimon. Some of
the farmers in Wiltfiire have a practice
which deferves imitation, where there is
plenty of litter ; which is to fold in a (land-
ing peri, in or near the farm-yard and hay-
ftacks ; and there fold them in the wetteft
weather, keeping the pen well littered, and
giving them hay in the racks. By this
means the fheep are kept warmer, and a
great quantity of valuable manure is railed.

The farmers of this county letting their
dairies at 3, 4, or 5 /. a cow, and giving
into the bargain all the fwine, and the
keeping a mare and colt, however inade-


quate a price, is not a matter of conie-
quence in a public light, further than its oc-
cafioning a moft incomplete conduct rela-
tive to fwine ; which is every where a great
evil. I do not think any animal is fo im-
portant in hufbandry as the hog ; and when
the profit of them is coupled with the cows,
and let at fo much a head, it is no longer
the intereft of the farmer that many mould
be kept. For the perfect management of
the fwine, and keeping large ftocks, the
whole farm mould be united in one hand :
Of what great confequence to fwine, are
turnips in winter ; but above all, carrots,
potatoes, &c. and clover in fummer ; yet
by letting the cows this is excluded. — It is
alfo, in fome meafure, owing to the fame
caufe their having no hog citterns in this
county, in which all the warn of the houfe,
the dairy whey, and butter-milk — a copper
full, now and then, of boiled turnips —
with a few bufhels of bran, or barley, or
peafe-meal, are kept collecting through the
fummer, ready for the fwine in winter
when there is no clover ; and in fummer
only given to fows and young pigs. Thefe
D d 4 ciltems


citterns which are fo common in Suffolk
and Effexy are quite unknown in JDorfet- -


Concerning the caufes of thefe and other
points of ill management, of which, how-
ever, that of fheep is the moft finking ; I
have chiefly to obferve, that the whole ap-
pears to be more owing to low rents than to
any other caufe. Landlords are content
with 4, 7, 8, or 9/. an acre for land,
which in many other parts of England,
would let very readily for twice, thrice,
and. even four times the rent. This is the
reafon that the tenants are fo well contented
with fheep, which pay thefe low rents
and a few millings per acre profit to them-
felves, but would, as they manage, be
utterly incapable of anfwering the real
value of the land. No foil can be let at its
value, if it is not applied by the tenant to
the moft profitable ufe. A man has 30,000
acres in America, which he lets at 30 half
crowns a year ; he gets no more rent be-
caufe the tenant applies them to no profit-
able ufe : It is the fame in England ; if a
tracl: of land is applied to no good ufe — no
rent of value will arife from it : this is the



cafe with our waftes ; fome are converted
into warrens, which enables the warrener
to pay 2s. 6d. an acre ; others into fheep-
walks, which will enable the renter to pay
5/. : this is the only point of conlequence;
whatever the prefent Jlate of the land will
afford, is the rent- — nor will the occupier
think a moment of improvements, as long
as his rents are lb eafily paid without them.
In this train it is very plain that the land-
lord's rent rnuft depend on the hufbandry.

The gentlemen of this country are, there-
fore, very well off, that their eftates are
not applied to feeding rabbits ; if they were,
the rents would have been only 2 s. 6d. or
perhaps 1 s. — for as to the goodnefs of the
foil, it has nothing at all to do in the cafe.

If the gentlemen of the county would
have their eftates advanced, let them raife-
the rents to their real value, which is
confiderably above the prefent rate : in
a word, let them raife till the farmers find
that a better fyftem mufl either be purfued,
or rent not paid at all. They will then
begin to think, that fomething deferves
attention befides fheep — that flocks cannot
be kept to profit without turnips — that tur-


nips muft be hoed — that there are other
courfes of crops in the world befides three
fucceflive ones of corn — that there are other
graffes befides ray — that ewes may be folded
in winter — m a word, they will find out
an hundred methods of paying the new
rent, at the fame time that they add greatly
to their own wealth. If thefe improve-
ments were practifed, the farmers would
make more profit by i$s. than they now
do by 5-r.

If this language had been held to the
warreners and mepherds of Norfolk 50
years ago, they would have held it in the
fame contempt as the prefent farmers of
Dorfeffiire will confider thefe papers : they
would have fmiled at being told of another
race arifing who mould pay ten times their
rent, and at the fame time make fortunes
by fo doing.

It is induftry, fpirit, and a vigorous cul-
tivation, that carry the products of the foil
to the higheft pitch. The Dorfetjhire gen-
tlemen have long enough experienced
what the contraries will do; let them
enforce thefe exertions, and render them
neceflary by raifing their rents fo high,

4 that


that farmers, who fleep through an inactive
life, cannot pay them : fuch a conduct wilj
create that fpirit which is wanting, and
convince the world that true induftry, judi-
cioufly exerted, will be its own reward.
But let them practife what they recommend
and not in the true drowfy ftile of their
lowefl tenants, creep on in the humble
path chalked out by the flovens of yore.
It is fhameful ever to fee the fame medio-
crity the characleriftic of both landlord and



F^ROM Chard towards Taunton^ the
country is in general thickly inclcfed,
and the land pretty rich. Turning to the
north here was not the route I intended;
but I found the feafon too far advanced for
travelling through Devon/hire and Corn-
wall, which counties, together with a few
other weftern ones, I muft leave for the
bufinefs of another journey.

For the following account of the prefent
ftate of hufbandry about Hen/ade, I am
obliged to R. P. Anderdon^ Efq. of that

Farms rife from 20/. to 200/. a year.
The foil, clay, fand, loam, gravel, ftone-
rufh : rents are various ; throughout Taun-
ton Dean-vale the average is 2oj". an acre :
from hence to Bridgwater as much ; to
Mifoerton, iys. 6d.y to Crewkhorn, the
inclofed lands 15 s,



The courfes of crops,

1. Clover, trefoile, 2. Wheat
ray-grafs, &c» 1 3. Barley,
or 2 years

i. Clover 3. Wheat

2. Wheat 4. Barley.

And fometimes a third crop of wheat, in*
ftead of the laft of barley ; this is a very
capital courfe truly !

Another :

1. Clover or vetches

2. Wheat 4. Wheat

3. Barley, or peafe, 5. Barley.

They plough their fallows for wheat
three or four times, fow two and a half
bufhels, and reap on an average 20 bufhels*
It is in their wheat feafon, that the
Taunton-va/e farmers have fomething of
care to boaft : they are extremely attentive
in laying the land up neat and round, and
in breaking all the clods with clodding
beetles ; and they draw up the beds (which
are generally five or fix feet over) into an
arched form with hoes : but what is ex-
tremely ftrange, they never water-furrow
their wheat lands* even on the wetted

foils »


foils, which muft have moft pernicious

For barley they plough twice or thrice,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18 19

Online LibraryArthur YoungThe farmer's tour through the east of England : being the register of a journey through various counties of this kingdom, to enquire into the state of agriculture, &c. ... (Volume 3) → online text (page 16 of 19)