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 4) online

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From thefe retired and gloomy fpots, you
leave the dark groves, and open into a more
chearful ground j the river is bounded only on
one fide by thick wood, and on the other by
waving lawns open to the fields, and fcattered
thinly with trees. From a bench on the banks
you view a (light fall of water well ihaded.

Advancing, the chara£ter of the ground
again changes moil happily - 3 the woods open on



per acre 544 bumels, which is very con-
fidcrable. They plant them two or three
years running on the fame land ; but the
two firft crops are generally the beft. They
often fow wheat for the third crop, and
fometimes get at the rate of 40 bufhels per

All the way to Wells the country is chiefly
grafs, which lets from 18^. to 30 s. an acre.


both fides the water ; waving lawns of the mod
lively verdure — trees thinly fcattered — brighter
dreams — touches of diftant profpecl — and ele-
gant buildings — all unite to raife the molt
chearful ideas, which were prepared for, by
gradually leaving the gloom of the more fequei-
tered woods. A break through the trees to the
right, lets in a view of the rotunda.

PafTing to the Ionic portico, which is ex-
cellently placed, the fcenery in view is truly
enchanting : the lawn is gently waved, and
fpotted with trees and fhrubs in the happieft
taite. The water feems to wind naturally
through a failing vale •, and a fwelling hill,
crowned by the rotunda, forms a complete pic-
ture. The whole fcene is really elegant ; every
part is riant, and bears the (lamp of pleafure.

As you crofs the bridge, you look to the

right on a very beautiful cafcade, which makes

five or fix flight falls over a mofs and ivy bank,

under a dark fhade cf wood. The Hopes, wood

C 2 and


Near that town are very large tracts of"
flat marfhy land, half poifoned with wet ;
it wants nothing but draining to be ren-
dered the beft meadow in the country.

There is very little manufacturing of
confequence here befides fome ftockings ;
they have a little in the filk way, which
employs fome children.

ALout Compton, within 12 miles of Bath,
their courfe is,

and water, unite to render the fcene finking.
But the point of view being the bridge, and
ftanding on another cafcade, is not agreeable j it
fomewhat weakens the effect.

Turning down by the water the lawn continues
very beautiful, and you gain a fine view of the
Ionic portico on a rifing flope, which here ap-
pears to great advantage -, but the middle caf-
cade, which you here command, fhould be to-
tally hid •, it is an inferior repetition of the
principal one.

Rifing the hill by the fide of the water, you have
from a bench under a ip reading wood an agreeable
view of a bridge •, and a little further, another
commands the fame object, and has alfo a very
pleafing opening through the trees to the portico.
The view to the left up to the water, is a confir-
mation of Shenjione's obfervation.

The riding which follows on the bank of the
river under the gloomy (hade of numerous molt
venerable trees, is a fit refidence for Contempla-

1 tion


1. Fallow 3. Barley

2. Wheat - 4. Oats.

The crops of wheat 30 bufhels ; of bar-
ley 30; and of oats 40. The land is rich;
lets from 16/. to 40 j. an acre; average
25 j. Farms rife from fmall ones to 200/.
a year.

At Stone Kajlon the road crofTes a com-
mon of good dry found land, that is vifibly
very improveable ; the fpontaneous growth,
grafs, furze, or fern : I made fomc enqui-
C 3 ries

tion to dwell in. The openings acrofs the
water on the oppofite lawn, are jnft fufHcient ro
heighten by contrail. The awful fhade — the
folemn ftillnefs of the fcene, broken by nothing
but the fall of diftant waters ; have altogether a
great effect, and imprefs upon the mind a melan-
choly fcarcely effaced by the chearful view of a
rich vale with the water winding through it,
which is feen on crofiing the park towards the

Halhvell, upon the whole, has received rich
gifts from nature, and very pleafing ones from
art. The riding is of large extent, and com-
mands a great variety of diftant profpect, and
rich landfcapes •, the home fcenes, are elegant,
and fet off by the fhade of fuch noble wood,
that every imprefhon they make is rendered for-
cible. The buildings are in a light and pleafing


ries concerning it, and found that Mr. Cox
has inclofed' 500 acres of it that was over-
rim with trumpery ; he has ploughed and
manured it richly with lime, and laid it
down to grafs, which is now 20 s. an acre*
Such fpirit is highly commendable ; and
many are the tracts of wafte open land, at
prefent of ufe to nobody, which would pay
equally well for improvement.

About Compton there are great tracts of
rich inclofed land that let at 30J. an acre.
Refpecling the management of a confider-
able part of their land, it is fo curious as to
deferve particular attention ; fir ft they marie,
30 loads an acre ; and on the credit of that 3
the following is their courfe ;

1. Wheat 7. Barley

2. Wheat 8. Oats

3. Wheat 9. Wheat

4. Oats 10. Barley

5. Barley 1 1 . Oats

6. Wheat 12. Wheat.
Bravo ! my Somerfetjhire lads ! And

what then ? Why then, Sir, we lime on
a fallow, and take feven crops more. Im*
comparable !



They lay 20 quarters of lime per acre, at
10 d. a quarter. — Their products are as

Wheat, 3 quarters.

Barley, 4.

Oats, 5.

Peafe, 2.

Very few turnips, and none hoed. No
beans. Thefc crops are a flrong proof (if
any was wanting) of their vile hufbandry #
Land at 30 s. an acre, marled and limed, to
yield no better products than the worft foils
in the kingdom under good management. I
will not venture a pofitive aflertion, but I
do not, at prefent, think there is any coun-
try very well cultivated, whatever the foil
but what yields equal products : foil, rent,
lime and marie confidered, their courfes of
crops ought to be fome of thefe ;

1. Beans 3. Clover

2. Barley 4. Wheat.

1. Beans 2. Wheat.

1. Beans 4. Barley

2. Wheat 5. Clover

3. Peafe 6. Wheat

C 4 But


But above all;

i. Cabbages 6. Barley

2. Barley 7. Peafe

3. Clover 8. Oats

4. Wheat 9. Clover

5. Beans 10. Wheat.

The beans and peafe all drilled, and
horfe and hand-hoed ; the crops certainly
would not be lefs than, Wheat, 4 quarters ;
Barley, 6 ; Oats, 8 ; Beans, 6 ; Peafe, 4 ;
a fyftem that would pay them infinitely bet-
ter than their prefect one.

Nine miles from Bath I obferved the
wheat land well water-furrowed, for the
Jirft time fince I had been in Somej-fetjhire,
Againft the feventh mile ftone is a field of
fine fainfoine on a hill ; from which I con-
clude that it would do on the pooreft hills
in this country. A few miles before I
came to Bath, it was with pleafure that I
obferved moft of the grafs fields, on the
fides of fteep hills, cut acrofs with fmall
trenches for conveying water over them
out of the ditches which receive all that
come from the higher lands. This is ex-
cellent management, and deferves univerfal



In all this courfe of country the hay is
chiefly ftacked about the fields. — Their til-
lage is performed with four or fix oxen
and a horfe. Rents are generally high ; I
found none under 20 s.



ID O not expect much information in
crofting JViltfiire> except concerning
iheep : about that part of their manage-
ment I mail be particular in my enquiries.
Near Bath *, the lands, as may be fup-
pofed, are artificially very rich, and let at
high rents. Four miles from thence, . I
came to King's Down. Rent of land in
that neighbourhood rifes from I o s. to 40 /.
an acre. The lheep here are all Wiltfiires :


* The additions every day making to this
city are uncommon, and greatly is it to the
honour of all thofe concerned in raifing the new
ftreets, that they build on a regular plan ; fo
that every fide is a complete front. Befides
the Circus, which is now finifhed, and is an
area no where equalled in the kingdom, there
is a ftreet leads from it to a fet of buildings now
raifing, to be in the form of a crefcent, which
will have a very noble efFe£t; yet the archi-
tecture is not faultlefs : the ground-floor being
plain walls inftead of ruftics is an experiment
3 not


they fold the ewes moft part of the winter,
with no more hurt to them than to wethers.
The profit they reckon,
Lamb, 10 s. to 15 J.
Wool, zs.
Two hundred will fold an acre in a

Farms are in general from 100/. to 300/.
a year. Their courfes of crops,

1. Fallow 3. Barley

2. Wheat 4. Clover.
And fome, not all, add,

5. Wheat 6. Barley.


1. Fallow 3. Barley.

2. Wheat


not perfectly fuccefsful. Againft the principal
floor and attic is a regular range of Ionic pillars •,
but the windows of the attic are crowded quite
into the capitals of the pillars, which offends the
tye. Befides this pile, there are feveral others,
whofe magnitude fhews how flourifhing this city
is : Paragon Buildings, a concave range, York
Buildings, Edgar Buildings, &c. amazing edi-
fices for a town fupported by pleafure and dif-
eaie ! The feat neither of government nor com-


There are fome turnips, and moll of
them hoed; the value from 40 .r. to 3/. an

From Me Ik flam to the Devizes , nine
tenths of the country is grafs, and lets from
20J-. to 40 s. an acre; average 25 s. It is
moftly applied to dairies, which rife to 60
cows ; many are let ; the price ufed to be
3 /. but now it is 4/. They give four, five
or fix gallons of milk a day.

About Rundevey the country is chiefly
open field, and the courfe,

1. Fallow 3. Barley

2. Wheat 4. Oats.

Wheat yields three quarters and a half
per acre ; barley and oats not more on an
average. Land lets from 15^. to i8j. an
acre : the farms large. In their ploughs
they ufe fix oxen, fometimes four ; and three
or four horfes.

They fold their ewes as well as wethers
all winter long on the land for barley;
while they are lambing they pen them in
the farm yard, and after that fold them
with the wethers. They hand-hoe their
turnips twice ; an acre is worth from 40 s>
to COJ".



At BiJJjops-Ca?ino?7S I made frefh en-
quiries concerning fheep : they here fold
the ewes • quite through the year upon
the cold hills, lambs and all ; nor do
they ever find any inconvenience from
the practice. They lamb in the fold, and
the lambs find out their dams without any
difficulty. Ewes they reckon make more
water than wethers ; but the latter dung
molt. The balance of value for folding
they think even. They leave them in the
fold till nine or ten o'clock in the morning :
200 fheep will fold an acre in 10 nights.

Rents here run at 15^. an acre. The
courfe of crops,

1. Fallow 3. Barley

2. Wheat 4. Oats.

Wheat yields four quarters an acre ; and
barley and oats the fame.


Ten-pence a day all the year round.
Reaping, $s.
Mowing corn, 10 d.

grafs, 1 J". 6d. to 20^/.

Head-man's wages, 61. to 7/.
Next ditto, 3/. to 4/.



Bread, 2 d. per lb.

Butter, - 7 for 1 8 oz.

Cheefe, - 3 f per lb.

Beef, - 2 §

Mutton, - 31

Pork, - 3

Milk, - I d. per pint.

Potatoes, - 6 a peck.

Labourer's houfe-rent, 30.$-. to 40 s.

■ — Firing, 30J. The farmers fell

all their pea and bean ftraw to the la-
bourers for burning : as vile a piece of
hufbandry as can well be fuppofed.

In a few miles more, repeating my en-
quiries about fheep, I again found that
they penned them in the farm yards,
littered warmly with ftraw, and feed them
with hay in racks till the lambs get ftrength,
when they fold them as ufual. A flock
of 300 will annually fell 1 00 old ones, at
20 s. to 23-f. and 100 lambs at ioj-. or

I obferved in feveral places in the way
to Marlborough^ that they had a very neat
way of getting gravel : they open a hole,



and fifting the gravel that arifes\ take out
the ftones, and leaving the earth, &c. in
it, lay down the turf again, fo that the
grafs is not at all damaged : this is a
practice which much deferves imitation.

Land lets about Overton, the inclofure
at 2.0s. an acre, and the open fields at
1 2 j. The courfe is,

1. Fallow 3. Barley.

2. Wheat

Wheat yields 3 f quarters an acre,
barley 4 quarters ; but few turnips : their
flocks of fheep are about icoo: they fold
them all the year through, except at lamb-
ing, and then pen in the yard : they ufe
no lime or marie in this country in ma-
nuring, only the fold and yard dung.

No oxen in tillage ; four horfes in a

From Marlborough to Hungerford, the
average rent is about 15J. or 16 s. an acre :
there are tracts of exceeding rich watered
meadows here, particularly fome belong-
ing to Mr. Pop/jam, that let from 40/. to
4/. an acre : they very often mow them
twice, and get two ton of hay the firft
cutting, and from one to one and a half



the fecond j the after-grafs of fome mea-
dows alone let for 40 s. an acre. Thefe
are immenfe rates, and much exceed the
grafs in the neighbourhood of great cities ;
and fhews ftrongly the uncommon im-
portance of having a command of water
to throw at pleafure over grafs lands.

It was here I firft met with peat allies.
They bring them from Newbury ; but
many farmers buy the peat itfelf there,
and burn it here; if bought at Newbury,
they Goft 5^/.; burnt here it comes to 6d.
but this extra penny they think well laid
cut, becaufe the Newbury burners mix
drofs with the peat ; fo that the quality
is more than a penny worfe. They lay
them chiefly on clover from 10 to 20
bufhels an acre. It does great good to this
crop, and fome to the following wheat ;
but on the clover in a wet year the effect
is to be ken to an inch. Peat afhes are
ibmetimes fown on the green wheat in
fpring. They here fold their ewes through
the winter, as well as the wethers : here
and there a farmer, who pens them while
lambing on ftraw in the farm yard. Lambs



fell up to 1 5 j. wool 3 j. The courfe of

crops here is,

1. Fallow

3. Barley

2. Wheat

4. Oats.


1. Fallow

3. Barley

2. Wheat

4, Cloven


1. Turnips

4. Clover

2. Barley

5. Wheat

3. Barley-

6. Barley,

Wheat yields

2 quarters an acre, barley

3, oats 4.

Of hufbandry

in the neighbourhood of

Newbury, particularly about Donning ton,

I am enabled to give a more minute account
through the obliging attention of Pettj
Andrews, and Frederick Cowjlade, Efqrs,

Farms rife from 30/. to 300/. a year;
but are in general about 100/. a year. The
£bil is a ftrong loam on clay, chalk, and
gravel ; not much that is light enough fo r
turnips. It lets from 10/. to 40 s, a year j
average, 15/.

To Reading, 1 7 s.

To JrLungerford, 131.

The Vale of White Horfe, 20 s,

Vol. IV. D Tfcd


The courfes of crops moft common are,
i. Turnips 3. Clover one year

z. Barley 4. Wheat.

1. Turnips 4. Clover one year

2. Wheat 5. Oats.

3. Barley

1 . Turnips 5. Peafe and beans

2. Barley mixed

3. Clover 6. Wheat.

4. Summer fallow

And this laft is one of the ftrangeft courfes
I ever heard of.

For wheat on clover land they plough
but once ; otherwife from three to five
times ; fow two bufhels and a peck of
feed, and reckon three quarters the average
produce. They have an uncommon high
opinion of changing feed ; have large
quantities from Surry, the IJle of Thanety
&c. They plough thrice for barley, fow
three bufhels an acre, and get four quar-
ters in return. For oats they give but one
earth, fow four bufhels an acre ; the ave-
rage crop five quarters ; they rife to ten
quarters. They ftir thrice for peafe, drill



four bufhels an acre, in rows equally di-
ftant 15 inches; they hand-hoe them
twice ; and a few farmers horfe-hoe them
with the Berkfiire fhim; the crop four
quarters an acre. They give but one earth
for beans, plant three bufhels an acre in
rows 18 inches afunder, and drop them in
holes nine or ten inches afunder, and tour
or five beans in a hole, fo that they come
up in bunches. I fhould apprehend this
crouding the roots together muft prevent
the tillering, and anfwer no good purpofe,
efpecially in rich land : they hand-hoe
them twice, and reap about four quarters
and a half per acre.

In the Vale of White Horfe^ the crops
rife to,

Wheat, 4 to 8 quarters*

Oats, 6 ciuarters.

Beans, 5 quarters.

Peafe, 5 quarters.

Very little barley.
No rape or cole-feed is cultivated here ;
for turnips they plough from thrice to fix
times, hand-hoe twice, and feed them on
the land with fheep ; the average value
1 /» us. 6d. per acre. Clover they mow
D 2 once


once for hay, and get from two to three
tons an acre, at 30 s. a ton, and feed the
fecond growth. Refpecling the goodnefs
of the wheat crop that follows, they do
not reckon that there is any difference be-
tween mowing and feeding.

Both fummer and winter tares are cul-
tivated for feeding fheep, and alio for foil-
ing horfes in the ftable : one acre will keep
fix horfes a month; this, at is. 6d. a
week, comes to 3 /. an acre : a good re-
turn, confidering the ameliorating quality
of the tares, and the plenty of dung raifed
in foiling.

They have a great deal of fainfoine, fow
it on all poor lands, without regarding the
under ftrata of the earth ; it does without
a chalk rock : lafts 1 5 years, and mown
every year. A good acre will give three
tons of hay, at 30 s. and an after-grafs
worth 20 j*. ; in all, 5/. 10s. : a vaft pro-
duce, and on their poor lands too ! I will
engage, that it much exceeds their richeft.

In regard to manuring, they are excel-
lent farmers in their attention to that part
of hufbandry ; and here it is neceflary to



begin with peat, for which they are mod

Peat is a very regular flratum, under an-
other of common earth, but generally under
a black meadow mold, from 1 to 3 feet
deep; it is itfelf generally from 7 to 10
feet deep; but in one peat earth I was in, it
is not more than 4 feet thick : under it is
a body, which they call marne, a whitim,
ft iff, fticking clay. The peat looks and
feels very much like black butter ; there is
no roughnefs in it, nor any roots ; fo that
it differs materially from the peat common
in mod parts of the kingdom, which is a
net-work of roots, a fpunge of them. The
common conjecture is, that peat was
formed by the deftruction of a whole foreft,
and is compofed of the rotten timber ;
acorns, leaves, mofs, branches, and whole
trees, are fometimes found in it perfectly
found. The peat moors about Thome in
Torkjhire, are five or fix feet deep, very
flat and regular, and under them much
fuch a clay as at Newbury. In them they
alfo find whole trees, and many of them
quite found : they are chiefly firs, and the
whole country are very defirous of getting
D 3 thefe


thefe firs, to make pales of; for by long-
experience it has been found, that they are
almofl incorruptible, no inftance fcarcely
being known of their decaying. But this
peat is all a fibrous mafs of little roots, and
yields very few ames. The quality they
both poiTefs of preferving timber, feems
rather an objection to the real peat being
compofed of rotten wood, efpecially as the
trees are found fo deep in the peat, as to
make it rcafonable to think they muft have
been among thofe which compofed the mafs;
however, this is only a conjecture.

Moft of the peat in digging is under
water, and the peat-fpoon, with which it
is dug, mould always be in the water,
from the eafe thereby acquired of cutting
and throwing it off the fpoon ; it is after
drying burnt, not as fome people have
imagined in heaps, merely for the afhes,
but in houfes, like all other peat, and then
the afhes are colle&ed. The price at the
pit is 9 s. for a waggon load of 40 bufhels,
and the afhes are worth half the money ;
the price 6d. a bufhel. They burn in the
peat grounds an inferior fort for the mere
afhes, mixing the upper ftratum of black



earth with it ; and thefe afhes they fell at
2,d. a bufhel. An acre of peat ground is
worth 200/.

Many farmers come from 15 to 16 miles
for it.

The general quantity fpread on an acre
is ten bufhels : they ufe it only on clover
in March. The red afli is the moft efleemed :
it lafts only the clover crop; but that is en-
creafed by it, as 3 to 2.

Larger quantities have been tried per
acre, but without greater effects. They
have a ftory, common here, of a man who
fowed forty or fifty bufhels per acre, and
the wind blowing a Imall quantity over the
hedge on to his neighbour's clover, he was
furprifed afterwards to find, that the wind
had judged much better than himfclf ; for
his neighbour's clover was more improved
than his own.

But the farmers here do not confine
themfelves to peat ; rags they have from
London^ and find them very ferviceable
to their lighter lands. Soot they fow on
their green wheat in the fpring, 1 2 bufhels
an acre, at %d. ; and they ufe malt duft on
their barley lands. Chalk they ufe by
D 4 way


way of mellowing the land, and making
it plough the eafier.

They do not chop their ftubbles ; but
their hay they flack at home.

In their fences they follow the plafhing

Their befl grafs land is the watered mea-
dow, which lets at 40 s. an acre. They
water it all the year, except two months
while the crop is growing : they mow twice,
and get four tons an acre, worth 2 5 s. a
ton; and the fpring and after grafs food
is worth about 10 s. more. All thefe mea-
dows rot fheep, turn them in when you
will ; except ewes with lamb. This is
directly oppofite to the practice of the
whole county of Dorfet : and if both are
ri2:ht, the rot does not arife from the
water, but the foil. But there is no point
fo difputed as this of the rot.

The breed of cattle here is the long-
horned Derbyftire ; cows give 4 or 5 lb. of
butter a week, from two gallons of milk
a day ; the total produce 4 or 5 /. They
do not keep the more fwine on account of
cows. The winter food is wholly hay and



ftraw. In rearing calves, they do not fuck
at all.

Swine fatten in general from ten to fifty

In my Six Months Tour through the North
of England, I mentioned a hog being fat-
tened by Mr. Sehvood to 57 fcore, which is
81 ftone 6 lb. at \\lb. to the ftone. I have
been much ridiculed for offering to pretend
to think of fuch a thing. Mr. Andrews
did not recollect the exact particulars, but
wrote to Col. Sellw:od; and fince I left the
Grove, I had a letter from him, in which
he writes as follows : — " Lieut. Col. Sell-
ivood has fent me the following well-
attefted particulars.

" Pigs fatted by Richard Sellwcod, Efq.
of Bright Walton, Berks.

" March, 1752, a hog killed, that
weighed, exclufive of the blood, fixty-one
fcore twelve pounds ; when opened and cut
out, it weighed fifty-feven fcore eleven

" February, 1770, killed another, which,
when cut out, weighed forty-four fcore
fourteen pounds. Signed by R. Sellwood."
I think thefe particulars are a fufficient



anfwer to thofe, who before made them-«

felves fo merry at my expence.

Flocks of fheep rife to 3 or 400 : they

are chiefly flock fheep of the Wiltjhire

breed ; the profit,

Lamb, - {. o 10 o

Wool, - - 026

Total, 9 - o 12

The winter food turnips, and a little
hay. They value the fold at 4^/. per night
per fcore. Relative to the rot, befides the
above fact of their meadows effecting it,
they obferve that no fheep will ever rot,
while it has a lamb by the fide. Springs
they think have nothing to do with the
difeafe, nor will all wet places rot, but all
watered meadows will. This is confonant
with a part of Mr. BakewelPs opinion, men-
tioned in the fir ft volume, that no water
rots but what flows.

In their tillage they reckon five horfes
necelTary for 1 00 acres of arable land, ufe
four in a plough, and do an acre a day,
five inches deep; the price 6 s. an acre.
Cutting ftraw into chaff is prac"tifed.



There are fome oxen ufed ; but they

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 4) → online text (page 2 of 25)