Picture of Arthur Young

Arthur Young


places mentioned

1776 Tour from Essex to Shropshire

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A TOUR TO SHROPSHIRE.

By the Editor.

MAY 26th, 1776, passed from Hertfordshire through London, in the way to Norfolk; but having before described the common husbandry of part of Essex, I shall only observe, that about Epping I found the rent of grass 40 s. and for several miles at 20 s. Their courses on arable land,

1. Fallow, 1. Turnips,
2. Wheat, 2. Barley,
3. Oats, 3. Clover, fed in the spring and then summer-fallowed for
4. Wheat.

Much land-draining done; but they complained greatly that in some clay fields the drains will not draw more than 4 feet; for that space good corn, but the rest little the better for draining.

The effect of lime here is very remarkable. They bring it from Bow, 12 miles, lay a bushel a rod in summer, and stir twice or thrice for wheat. It lasts 12 or 14 years, and shews itself to an inch on all soils, but best on dry loam, and on clays after draining. They also mix it with hedge-row earth, they even reckon it better than dung.

Their products,

Wheat 3 to 5 qrs.
Barley 4 to 5
Oats 4 to 6.

To Bradfield by Chelmsford, Sudbury, &c.

June 5th, to Lynn. Crossing that poor uncultivated but extensive country between Culford and Brandon, I regretted, as I had done many times before, that it should be left so entirely to rabbits and sheep. It is not to be doubted but it might very profitable be cultivated. The rents are low, from 1 s. to 3 s. 6d. large tracts are let at, and much even lower than a shilling. I brought away specimens of the poorest parts, and of the white stuff called in Norfolk and here cork , which is under it, but which I found on trial to be marle, at least if faith is to be placed in effervescence with acids. The sand itself is poor, running, and nearly destitute of all adhesion; but this marle would enable it to yield a turf of grasses, and that would prove in succession the mother of corn and turnips. -About Weating, found a new and extensive enclosure, so that this tract, naturally not much superior to that mentioned above, will soon be found fertile and profitable.- Reached Lynn.

June 7th, took the road for Downham, the country various; near Wallington those high broad lands begin which spread from hence over an amazing tract of country, quite into Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire; before I got to Downham, I saw very many with the furrows 12 inches deep in water. The husbandry of these lands demands the greatest attention in keeping the furrows dry, if not, one acre in three is lost. If the furrows ate kept quite free from water, it is the most excellent way of all others of laying wet soils dry.

The other side of Downham, about Denver, I met with some excellent, rich, loamy soils, that let at 20 s. an acre. Their course is, 1 turnips, 2 barley, 3 clover 1, 2, or 3 years; 4 wheat.

At Helgey the fens begin, and exhibit a melancholy appearance of a country which, from soil, ought to be among the richest in the world, but rendered of but little value by water.

In my Farmers Tour I mention a Mr. Canham of this country, who made a common practise of sowing wheat and beans alternately; I now passed through his farm, and found that my former intelligence was true, he practices it to a very considerable extent; but he hoes very little. His beans, all that I saw, were broadcast, and I cannot say much for the cleanness of the crops, yet they yield him in general 4 or 5 qrs. an acre, and the wheat as much. But the land is admirably fine; a mellow rich loam on clay, that lets for 17 s. an acre round.

What say the advocates for summer-fallowing to this instance, which is an experiment over a great many acres for many years? Beans when not hoed foul land as much or more than any crop, pease alone excepted. The fields must be full of weeds, which beyond all doubt exhaust, and these will be nearly in proportion, both in number and growth, to the richness of the soil. But summer-fallow is so little essential, that even with wheat every second year it is found unnecessary.

All the country is laid on broad high lands. He sows 4 bushels an acre of beans. Mr. Canham has some hundred acres of fen land at 4 s. or 5 s. an acre, part of which is arable, on which he gets however, such crops as 2 or 3 qrs. of wheat an acre, and 5 or 6 qrs. of oats, but most of it is appropriated to feeding young cattle.

I saw a few pieces of hemp at Southrey, and found that they sowed wheat after it. They keep their cattle here in the winter on fen-hay and straw; the former valued at 10s. a load. All their firing is turf. The culture of the fens most common, is to plough and burn it in june, for

1. Coleseed fed, 4. Barley,
2. Wheat, 5. Ditto,
3. Ditto, 6. Rye.-grass, &c. for 3 or 4 years, then burn again.

Spring-wheat is sown; the Rev. Mr. Jones, of Ely, has 400 acres this year, and it promises well. Yields 2 qrs. or 2 an acre, and oats 3, 4, and 5 qrs. an acre.

At Littleport the fen ends. We come upon high gravelly land. It continues all cultivated to Ely. Just before that city it is common field; the course,

1. Fallow,
2. Wheat, 4 or 5 qrs. an acre.
3. Barley.
4. Ditto,
5. beans 4 or 5 qrs an acre broadcast and foul.

The fens in general pay 1 s. an acre in tax to the mills for draining, and from 3 s. to 6 s. an acre rent. In general 7 s. an acre in all.

Ely is noted for white bricks and gardens, there are many kilns for the former, and they fell about 22 s. a thousand. The richness of the soil, which is uncommon, encourages the latter, though it lets at 3 l. an acre.

June 8th, left that place and took the road for Cambridge: two or three miles south of Ely; the pastures very rich, letting at 20 s to 35 s. an acre; and open field arable from 12 s. to 20 s. The course,

1. Fallow,
2. Wheat, 4 qrs. an acre,
3. Beans, 4 or 5 qrs.
4. Barley, 3 to 4 qrs.

At the distance of 4 or 5 miles the same course continued; wheat yielding 3 qrs. beans 2 to 4, barley 3 and 4; all open field, and let at 10 s. an acre. I passed a very extensive field all beans, and full of weeds and rubbish; scarce any hoeing in the country. All in high broad lands.

At Stretham the same lands, with some of them with open grips in the furrows, and an edging of grass a foot wide on each side. This place is a village of farmers houses, &c. surrounded by great open fields, much I suppose like France.

Passing Stretham bridge, the road runs through a vast sheet of watery fen, called Water Beach Level ; most of it was once drained, and part cultivated in arable; but from breaches in the banks, or neglect of draining, has become near three feet deep of water. It is of great extent, near 4 miles one way, and full as much another. Cottenham-fen on the other side the road, lies in the same situation. It is overgrown with reeds called here white leed , which they mow for hay when the fens are dry enough to admit it, which this is not; and fen-men tell us it is excellent stuff for cattle. The soil is a black turf or moor, 3 feet deep. It is a kind of open field belonging to Waterbeach and Stretham. It has not been dry enough to mow these three years; the part that lies rather higher than the rest, used to be treated upon the fen system, of ploughing up and burning the furrows for coleseed, which was fed off, and then oats, of which a last, or 21 combs, has been gained an acre. These oats are succeeded by two or three crops more, and the average produce in all about six or seven quarters an acre, afterwards it is left to turf 3 or 4 years, and then burnt again.

Labour.

In winter 5 s. or 6 s. a week.
Hay 9 s. do.
Harvest 2 l. 2 s. and board for 5 or 6 weeks.

Leaving this watery country, the road leads over extensive commons and open fields, that are a fine reddish loam on good gravel: and here I saw great stocks of cows and sheep. All the arable are open fields and on high broad lands, let from 8 s. to 10 s. an acre. At Milton it is a very fine loam on gravel, and continues so to Cambridge. They plough with 4 horses at length, but towards Cambridge with only three.

I passed through Trumpington, in which field I observed them with horses double, sour generally. The soil is a light loam, and the stated course,

1. Fallow,
2. Wheat,
3. Barley,

all on lands, but moderately high, and in some of the furrows stripes of rushes. The field lets at 8 s. or 10 s. an acre, wheat yields from 5 to 8 comb, barley not so much; part of the field, instead of fallow for wheat, is by agreement turnips for barley; farms generally from 100 l. to 250 l. a year.

An intelligent shepherd informed me, that 18 score sheep with their lambs would sold an acre in sour nights, but he did not reckon it worth 30 s. The profit of their flocks are lamb and wool.

Lamb 6 s. to 9 s.
Wool 2 s. and 2 s. 6d. a head.
About 10 s. 6d. a head in all.

They sold till christmas, and then put to turnips; for his 18 score his master generally sowed 24 acres; besides feeding off some rye after christmas, and they would last them till lady-day, when they went to the field again.

Near Hauxton-mills is the first place where chalk is distinctly seen, it lasts from hence quite across the kingdom.

The country is all open field quite to Royston, the villages being groups of a few inclosures, and wood, with houses and a steeple, and surrounded by the common fields.

About Melbourne the land is all chalk, the surface being chalky on a hard chalk that breaks into cubes and oblongs: it is open field, and lets at from 3 s. to 5 s. or 6 s. an acre. The course,

1. Fallow ploughed three times,
2. Wheat or barley,
3. Beans, oats, or pease.

The wheat yields from 1 qr. to 2. Barley 2 qrs. Oats 2 or 3.

I was much pleased to see about Royston many ploughs going with two horses abreast, and without a driver: a very uncommon sight within the bounds of Hertfordshire. About that town the open fields let from 7 s. 6 d. to 10 s. 6 d. an acre. it is all chalk, and very good. Wheat yields from 2 to 4 qrs. an acre; barley up to 5 qrs. The farmers are sensible intelligent men, for they agree among themselves to sow turnips instead of fallowing on many of their lands; and also sainfoine, by keeping off their sheep in the spring. It succeeds excellently, has been worth at one cutting 7 l. an acre; but they dress it well with ashes or malt-dust. They use also much oil cake for there land, laying 1000 cakes on 3 acres, which cost them 10 l. at home.

Taking the road to Stevenage, I found the country continue entirely open, and all chalk, with very fine crops on it; winter tares were cutting for soiling. Much trefoil was sown with clover, and as high and luxuriant as the clover, agreeing perfectly well with the soil. The open chalky fields continue to Baldock. At Stevenage I found that excellent farmer and worthy man, the late landlord of the Swan, Mr. Whittington, of whose husbandry I have given an account in my Six Months Tour, had been dead eight months. His widow carries on the business. Reached my own farm at Northmims that night.

Rested sunday the 9th, and the next day to St. Alban's. Towards Dunstable, I found the land exceedingly good, and letting in general at 20 s. an acre. The most usual course is that excellent one.

  1. Turnips fed off with fat sheep from Leicestershire, &c. at 40 s. to 50 s. an acre.
  2. Barley 5 or 6 qrs. an acre.
  3. Clover mown sor hay or soiling.
  4. Wheat 3 qrs.

Passing Gorhambury, the seat of Lord Grimston, in a country beautifully wooded, I found whole farms through at 15 s. an acre; the wheat yielding 25 bushels, and the barley 5 qrs. Much wheat here is sown on the turnip land that is fed off early. Clover-land wheat they get in if possible before michaelmas. They bring much soot and ashes from London, the former they sow on their wheat in march, from 20 to 40 bushels an acre, and can see to an inch where it is laid. The ashes they lay on their clover. Within 6 miles of Dunstable, the land runs at the same rent, and is still under the husbandry of 1 turnip, 2 barley, 3 clover, 4 wheat. Here I met with beech trees, and rough brown flints, they are commonly seen together: I expected sainfoine to make the trio, but saw none.

Passed a beautiful tract of country, with the village of Floyds to the left, and some pretty hanging inclosures fringed with trees.

Dined at Dunstable, and taking the Brickhill road, came in 2 miles to Tilworth, a new inclosed tract, which was 8 s. an acre, but now from 15 s. to 20 s. The country is however mostly open. The course,

  1. Fallow,
  2. Wheat 16 to 20 bushels, or barley 4 qrs.
  3. Beans 25 to 30 bushels, weeded by sheep.

Passed Hockley, a long village, in which every third house was a public one: this road swarms with broad-wheeled waggons. The soil is rich. Grass-land lets from 20 s. to 40 s. an acre. The arable 15 s. to 20 s. The poorest open fields at 7 s. 6d. The course,

  1. Fallow,
  2. Wheat, 20 to 30 bushels.
  3. Beans; barley yields 4 or 5 qrs.

They have large dairies, up to 30 cows, and reckon that they pay 6 s. a week in summer. I observed that the high, crooked, broad lands which began with me near Downham, in Norfolk, upon this journey, and which I lost when I came upon the chalks, here met me again about Hockley, where the chalk no longer appears.

About Fenny Stratford the land is very rich. Grass lets from 20 s. to 30 s. and arable 20 s. round, for there are many new inclosures here. The course is,

  1. Fallow,
  2. Wheat, 20 to 30 bushels,
  3. Barley, 4 qrs.
  4. Beans or oats, 25 bushels.
Another,
  1. Turnips all hoed,
  2. Barley,
  3. Wheat,
  4. Beans weeded by sheep.

These people are but feeling their way towards Norfolk. The open lands were let from 6 s. to 10 s. now they are 16 s. or 18 s. inclosed. Pease yield 20 to 30 bushels, and oats 5 or 6 qrs. Clover they mow twice for hay, and get 4 load at the two; sells at 1 s. 6d. to 3 s. 6d. per Ct. They plough with 4 or 5 horses at length, and do an acre a day.

Dairies are large; towards Newport Pagnel they rise to 40 or 50 cows, all for butter, which is lent regularly to London. They also here fat many cows: buy in at from 4 l. to 8 l. at lady-day, and clear twice by michaelmas; cows at 6 l. will become 9 l. and that, or near it, twice. The land 30 s. an acre. As to swine, the dairies do not breed so many as they fat; they buy them in lean, and will make them pork in 6 weeks. Those they breed are summer-pigs mostly; they know nothing of the use of clover for them. Sheep they sold in the open fields, but flocks are not large enough in the inclosures. They have one very peculiar circumstance; flocks come from Banbury, 30 miles off, and are hired by the farmers here, who keep them on the fallow-fields, folding them. The shepherds come with them, and they stay all the summer.

Profit of Sheep here.

Lamb, . 0 11 0
Wool, 0 1 3
--------
0 12 3
--------

Provisions.

Bread excellent 9 lb. for 10d.
Butter, 8d.
Pork, 4d.
Mutton, 4d.
Beef, 4d.
Potatoes 6d. to 1 s. a peck.

Labour.

In harvest 36 s. and board.
Hay 6 s. a week, and do. mowing.
Winter 5 s. a week.

The lace manufactury abounds through all this country. Poor rates continue much as they were, 2 s. 6d. in the pound.

Finished the day at Stoney Stratford, and next morning, the 11th, took the road to Towcester, 8 miles off, exceeding rich reddish loam, on stone quarries and clay, with many fine pastures. You have many signs here of a stone country; stone-built cottages begin before Stratford, and at Towcester all the buildings are of stone. There are some open fields near Towcester, which let from 8 s. to 12 s. an acre; but the number is but few, for the country in general is all inclosed by act of parliament. It was under the course of

  1. Fallow,
  2. Wheat, 2 or 3 qrs. an acre.
  3. Beans, 4 or 5 qrs.
After the inclosure they add a crop of barley or oats, from 4 to 7 qrs. after the beans: another course,
  1. Fallow,
  2. Wheat,
  3. Beans,
  4. Barley,
  5. Oats.

But the new fields are chiefly laid down to grass, which is mostly used in feeding dairies for butter, which goes regularly in waggons to London; they are up to 40 cows. The land is rich, so that an acre will more than summer a cow.

Rents by the inclosures are generally doubled.

On sandy lands they substitute turnips for the fallow, then take barley, and lay down for a few years with clover and rye-grass.

From Towcester to Daventry 20 s. an acre on an average. Farms they complain are laid together, and that they lose corn and sheep by the inclosures, but they get dairies in lieu of them. There is more inclosed arable by much than there was, for the high price of corn of late has occasioned many of the new ones which were laid to grass to be broken up again, and to this they attribute partly the present low price, wheat being now 4 s. 9d. and 4 s. 6d. a bushel; and barley 17 s. a qr.

Provisions, &c.

Bread 9 lb. for 10d.
Butter - 7d. and 7d. a pound.
Coals 30 s. a ton.
Poor rates 2 s. and 2 s. 6d. in the pound. they have risen of late years.

Labour.

In harvest 36 s. and board
Hay 8 s. a week.
Winter 6 s. ditto.

The landlord of the Saracen's Head, at Towcester, who is not only a very civil host, but a large farmer and an intelligent man, gave me these particulars.

To Daventry the country is all rich, and lets on an average at 20 s. an acre, tithe free, for it is almost all a line of new inclosures. About Pattishal, which from the road seems to be a very pretty village grouped in wood, with a distant prospect beyond it, their husbandry is,

  1. Turnips eat off with sheep.
  2. Barley, 5 to 8 quarters.
  3. Clover and ray grass, and trefoil sor 3 years, mown for hay, and yields 2 or 3 ton at one cutting.
  4. Oats, 5 to 8 qrs. sometimes wheat.

It has been inclosed 4 years, lets from 18 s. to 20 s. an acre, was at 8 s. or 10 s. The inclosures in this country have generally doubled the rents. Some of them are laid down to grass that were wet soils.

From Pattishal the road crosses a hill, every part of which commands the most beautiful prospects. The country is all in gentle declivities, which wave in various directions, the whole cut into inclosures, and shews a large extent of cultivation and verdure. But all the way from Stoney Stratford hither, too many trees are stripped into may-poles. The country continued exceedingly beautiful as I advanced; about Datford, nothing can be more picturesque than some fields to the right where the varied slopes fringed with timber give much beauty to the richness of the soil. The whole line from Towcester to the dirty town of Daventry, is the finest part I have yet seen of Northamptonshire. It wants only a river.

Three miles from Daventry came to Bramston, an inclosure only a year old, which I remember was so violently opposed by the rector, yet I find his living is doubled by it. The open field let at 6 s. to 10 s. an acre; but now it is (on lease) 20 s. to 30 s. Here the road crosses the Oxford navigation which is to join the Coventry cut. Laid at the Red Cow at Dunchurch, where I met with the civilest treatment.

June the 12th, took the Coventry road, passed a long avenue of firs and elms, planted to decorate the way; but in this climate trees in the road only spoil, by preventing its drying. The inclosures very rich land, let at 20 s. an acre. The course,

  1. Turnips,
  2. Barley, 5 or 6 qrs.
  3. Clover and ray-grass 4 years.
  4. Oats 6 qrs.
  5. Wheat 3 or 4 qrs.

Wheat on an oat stubble, after three years lay, I should suppose must be very foul. They plough the lightest lands with 5 horses at length.

Five miles from Dunchurch, it continues the same rent, course, and crops: a little wheat is sown on fallow. They use much lime for their turnip lands; lay 17 qrs. an acre at 2 s. 6d. a qr: I remarked many excellently built farm houses and offices, which every where give a country a rich and comfortable appearance.

Cross the river, upon the banks of which is a noble range of meadows let at 30 s. an acre.

Breakfast at Coventry, and upon making enquiries concerning their manufactures, find that they consist not only of the ribbons but stuffs; the trade is very brisk at present. Men earn 7 s. or 8 s. a week by weaving, and women 5 s. I saw more women at this work than men. In the Birmingham road, at Allesley, the country exceedingly rich, a fine deep loam on a sand-stone quarry. It is mostly pasture for feeding and dairy. ing, lets from 18 s. to 25 s. an acre; not much arable land; what there is, is in

  1. Turnips,
  2. Barley, 5 qrs.
  3. Clover and ray-grass, 3 or 4 years.
  4. Oats or beans, sometimes pease, but the grub eats the pease on lays, when 3 inches high, but never beans of oats.1
  5. Wheat 3 qrs.

This rich feeding land improves towards Banbury, all the way thither is fine land, and applied much of it to fattening oxen; here they fat cows chiefly Dairies rise to 20 or 30. About Coventry are some breeders famous both for cows and sheep. Cows fell at 10 l. and 15 l. a piece, good ones, and they fat up to 20 l. They have also a very fine large breed of sheep; they keep the lambs for fattening, kill from 2 to 5 years old; wethers come from 30 l. to 40 l. a score.

At Bicknel their course is,

  1. Turnips fed off by fat sheep and beasts.
  2. Barley, 4 qrs.
  3. Wheat, 4 qrs.
  4. Oats, 4 qrs.
  5. Clover and ray-grass 4 or 5 years, and then break up for turnips again.

One farmer, Mr. Swinburn, who is reckoned a very good one, has

  1. Turnips,
  2. Barley,
  3. Clover and ray-grass 3 years.

Dairies rise to 20 cows; they rear many calves, save those calved at candlemas or lady-day, and feed them by hand with milk till june, when they turn them to grass. Sometimes they let two have a cow at grass all summer.

Lambs for stores fell up to 20 s. each, 3 or 4 sheep to the rod in clipping, yield long wool for jerseys. No folding.

The cows, though famous for breed and fattening, are here as in all the fine breeding counties, nothing for the pail, two cows go to a pail of 3 gallons. And, calf included, they do not pay above 5 l. a year.

Provisions.

Bread, 4 lb. for 6d.
Butter, 8d.
Potatoes 1 s. 6d. to 2 s. 6d. a bushel
Mutton, 4d.
Beef, 3d and 3d.
Veal, 3d. and 3d.
Pork, 3d. and 4d.

Labour.

In harvest 1 s. a day.
Hay ditto.
Winter 8d. and board, and beer with all.

Passed Lord Aylsford's, upon rising a hill to a gothic farm house of his, the county around is very fine, beautifully rich and wooded. Cross an extensive and poor common, and come into a sandy tract which holds almost to Birmingham; lets from 15 s. to 25 s. an acre.

Got into that region of Vulcans by six o'clock, and immediately sent a card to Mr. Samuel Garbet, who had been so kind, on the publication of my Six Months Tour, to invite me there, promising to give me ample intelligence concerning the manufactures; but unfortunately he was not in town. I was, however, informed, that the trade of the place in general never was brisker than at present; that in every branch, except nails, they had more orders than could be executed. I was here in 1768, eight years ago, and sound since that time the place much increased in size.

June 13th leave it. Passed Mr. Bolton's great works, and come to West Bromich, but the road for 5 or 6 miles is one continued village of nailers, who complained to me that their trade was failing, owing to the disputes with America; but their hands when idle took to other branches, all the youngsters going to Birmingham. These nailers earn from 7 s. to 10 s. a week, according to their quickness.

Agriculture here is carried on so connectedly with manufactures, that it is subservient to them; however, there are some farms here, that let from 15 s. to 20 s. and 25 s. per acre. The course,

  1. Turnips,
  2. Barley, 4 or 5 qrs.
  3. Clover and ray-grass 4 years.
  4. Oats 5 to 10 qrs. or wheat 2 or 3 qrs.
Also,
  1. Fallow,
  2. Wheat,
  3. Barley or oats.

They lime for turnips, laying a waggon load of 8 or 10 qr. per acre. Potatoes have been much planted, and yield 6 or 7 bushels per rod, but they were so cheap last year (2d. to 4d. a peck) that not near so many are now planted.

Provisions.

Bread 9lb. for 1.s.
Butter 7d. and 7d.
Mutton 4d.
Beef 4d.
Veal 3d. 2d. 4d.
Pork 3d.
Coals 6d. a horse load.

Labour.

All the year round 1s. 6d. a day.

About Wednesbury, a place in which the same fabrics as at Birmingham are carried on, the whole country smoaks with coal-pits, forges, furnaces, &c. towns come upon the neck of one another, and large ones too. Darliston, where gun-locks are made. Bilston, a considerable place, and quite to Wolverhampton from Birmingham, I saw not one farm-house, nothing that looked like the residence of a mere farmer. All is from Westbury agriculture for convenience, and accordingly land lets the whole way from 40 s. to 4 l. an acre: the worst, and some is indifferent, at 35 s. to 45 s.

Breakfasted at Wolverhampton; there I find in general the manufacture is just the same as at Birmingham; and goes on as spirited as ever known, except in nails and axes, which being the peculiar American demand, suffers from the civil war there.

At Tibnel, about a mile and half from Wolverhampton, the road crosses the navigable canal from Kidderminster on the Severne to the Trent; this is the highest spot on the whole lime, as the water runs both ways.

Near Sir John Wrottesley's, the country varies much, from 16 s. to 20s. an acre, and some to 40s. much of it is grass land. The course is,

  1. Turnips,
  2. Barley,
  3. Clover 3 or 4 years,
  4. oats.

This neighbourhood is an amazing change from Wolverhampton. From Birmingham thither, it is all alive with manufacturing towns and villages, but here it is, comparatively speaking, as retired as the Ohio: no appearance of manufactures, and hardly any houses. Passing Sir John's, the road leads to the brow of a hill which commands a most noble extent of fertile plain, bounded on the left by the Clee hills, and in front the Wreekin. At the bottom of the hill renewing my enquiries, I found their system was,

  1. Turnips manured for with one load an acre of lime, and fed with cattle; but many draw the crop and eat them on a lay.
  2. Barley 20 to 30 bushels.
  3. Wheat dunged for, produce 20 to 30 bush.
  4. Barley,
  5. Clover, or clover and ray-grass,
  6. Wheat.

What would a norfolk farmer say to such a course? Rents rise from 7 s. to 15 s. an acre.

Labour.

In harvest 5 s: a week and board.
In hay the same.
The rest of the year 4 s. and ditto.

Provisions.

Bread 1d. a lb. household.
Butter 6d. to 7d.
Cheese, 3 d.
Mutton 3d.
Veal 3d. and 3d.
Beef 3d.
Potatoes, 1 s. a strike.

Almost all the cottages have a piece of hemp, with the produce of which they spin and weave their linen. A practice which cannot be too much commended. Lord Pigot's park and woods on the side of a hill to the left of the road, have a fine appearance from it. All the way from Wolverhampton, I have remarked, that the sands lie all on stone quarries. Saw many very fine cows; the dairies are not large, but the hogs are numerous. The produce of a cow rises to 6 l. and 8 l.

The road passes through a quarry, and turning, come suddenly upon a pretty sequestered cool scene, a bridge thrown over a small river under the shade of two limes, with a fine back ground of oak; came into a tract cultivated in a very different manner from any of the preceding. It is a fine sandy soil for two or three miles before Shifnel.

  1. Turnips limed for, but not always hoed.
  2. Barley 5 or 6 qrs.
  3. Clover mown and fed.
  4. Wheat dunged for, yields 20 to 30 bushels.
Some rye-grass. Rents 15 s. an acre.

I believe I forgot to remark, that I first saw double ploughs 5 miles before Birmingham, where they are very common, and reckoned a great saving, the price 5 l. 5 s. compleat. I met with them again at Shiffnell.

Dined there, and having recommendations from Mr. Harries, of Cruckton, into the neighbourhood of Colebrooke Dale, famous for its iron works. Crossed the Severn at the ferry at Lincoln Hill, in the midst of a most noble scenery of exceeding bold mountainous tracts, with that river rolling at the bottom. The opposite shore is one immense steep of hanging wood, which has the finest effect imaginable. Mounted through that wood, thickly scattered with cottages, the inhabitants busily employed in the vast works of various kinds carried on in the neighbourhood. One circumstance I remarked which gave me much pleasure. There was not a single cottage in which a fine hog did not seem to make a part of every family; not a door without a stone trough with the pig eating his supper, in company with the children at the same business playful about the threshold. It was a fight which shewed that chearfulness and plenty crowned the board of the humble but happy inhabitants of this romantic spot.

Went to the house of Mr. Serjeant Roden, who, by his landlord's direction, Mr. Harries, gave me the following particulars of the husbandry at Benthal.

Farms in general from 100 to 200 acres on a clay, loam, or gravelly soil, that lets from 10 s. to 15 s. an acre. The courses are,

1. Fallow, 1. Turnips,
2. Wheat, 2. Barley,
3. Barley or oats 3. Clover,
4. Clover 1 or 2 years, 4. Wheat,
5. Wheat, oats, or pease, 5. Barley,
6. Pease.

Of wheat they do not sow quite 2 bushels, and reckon 20 bushels a good crop. For barley they plough twice or thrice, sow 3 and get from 20 to 27. For oats they stir but once, vary the quantity of seed according to the sort, sow of black 3 , red 3, and white four; like the black best. The produce 25. For pease they prefer a lay if the land is dry, thinking very justly that they do on nothing else so well; plough but once for them, sow 3 bushels and get 22. Turnips are coming in among them, they plough sour times, dung them, and lime 1 or 2 load an acre: they begin to hoe, but it is only little: use them for all sorts of cattle. Their clover they graze in the spring, and then mow it for hay. Hemp is almost universal with both farmers and cottagers, they dress and spin it, and it is wove into linen in the country. Potatoes in large spots are found to every house, they hoe and weed-them, and get 2 to 3 bushels to a rod.

Copse-wood is in large quantities, and all in the landlord's hands; cut at 21 years growth, when they are worth 15 l. or 16 l. an acre; the oak poles they bark, and that young bark sells at 20 s. a ton more than old; when barked they are sold to the coal-pits to support the roofs as they work.

No sheep folded, but lime is much used; soot they use a little for wheat crops in april at 6d. a bushel. In their dairies they reckon an acre will not summer-feed a cow; they give 1 to 2 gallons of milk at a meal; keep 2 breeding sows to 10 cows, and reckon candlemas the best time for weaning calves. They know of no method of weaning without milk, but have several methods to make a little milk go a good way; for instance, to a pail of water they put a pint of lintseed, which they boil, so that when cold it shall be a jelly, they then warm it for use, and mix it with skim-milk half and half; to this they put them at a fortnight old, and keep them upon it till they turn out to grass. They also mix milk and water and pea-flour for the same purpose.

Their bacon hogs fat to 16 and 20 score; one has been known of 37 score. Sheep are kept but in small parcels; to 300 acres 100 may be sound. Oxen for ploughing are commonly used, especially when more than one teem is kept, they then like to have one of oxen, 8 oxen and 6 horses to a farm of 300 acres: they use 6 oxen or 4 horses in a plough, and do an acre a day. They put their oxen to work at three year old, and work them till they are five.

Cutting straw into chaff is very much practiced.

400 l. They reckon necessary to stock a farm of 100 l. a year.

Land fells at 30 years purchase. The land tax at 4 s. nominal is 1 s. and tithes 1 s. in pound: poor rates from 2 s. to 4 s. no rise in them. All the poor drink tea.

Very few leases given.

Labour, &c.

In harvest 6 s. a week and board.
Hay time and winter 4 s. and do.
When no board 1 s. 4d. a day.
First man's wages 7 l. to 8 l.
Next do. 3l. 10 s.
Lads 40 s.
Dairy maid 3 l.
Women all the year 6d. a day and beer.
The rise of labour has been from 1 s. to 1 s. 4d. in ten years.

Provisions.

Cheese 3d: per lb. Milk d. a pint.
Butter 6d. Potatoes 4d. 6d. a peck.
Beef 3d. Candles 6d.
Mutton 4d. Soap - 6d.
Veal 3d. Labourers house rent
20 s. to 25 s.
Pork 4d.
Bacon 6d. 7d. Their firing, coals 3d. Ct.

Building.

Bricks 11s. 6d. per 1000 at the kiln.
Tiles 16 s.
Oak 40 s. to 55 s. a ton.
Ash 42 s. do.
A carpenter 20d. to 2 s. a day.
Mason 20d.
Thatcher 1 s. and board.

A Farm.

320 Acres, 35 Barley,
160 Arable, 40 Oats,
160 Grass, 20 Pease,
180 l. Rent, 10 Turneps,
8 Horses, 20 Clover,
6 Oxen, 10 Fallow,
14 Cows, 4 Men,
24 Young cattle, 2 Boys,
80 Sheep, 1 Labourer,
35 Acres wheat, 2 Maids,

This neighbourhood is uncommonly full of manufactures, among which the principal are the potteries, pipe makers, colliers and iron works. In the potteries, which are only for course mugs, pots, &c. the men earn 8 s. to 10 s. a week. Boys 3 d. to 9d. a day, and girls 3d. and 4d. In the pipe manufactory the men earn 10 s. 6d. a week, the women 3 s. and children 2 s. or 3 s. there are 3 or 400 hands employed in it. Both these fabricks are exceedingly flourishing; great numbers of blue tile are also burnt here, and sent by the Severn to a distance.

Walked by Benthal hall to a steep over the river called Benthal Edge. It is a very fine woody bank which rises very steep from the Severn; you look down an immense declivity on a beautiful winding valley two miles over, cut into rich enclosures, and broken by tufts of wood, the steep on which you stand waving from the right line exhibits the noblest slopes of hanging wood; in one place forming a fine round hill covered with wood, called Tick Wood. In front the Wreekin, three miles off, its sides cut by inclosures three parts up, and along the vale the river meanders to Shrewsbury. Further to the right at a spot called Agar's Spout, a most romantic view down a steep slope of wood with the Severn coming in a very bold reach full against it, winding away to the town in a most bending fanciful course.

Crossing the ferry where Mr. Darby has undertaken to build a bridge of one arch of 120 feet, of cast iron, 2 I passed to his works up Colebrook Dale. The waggon ways that lead down to the river instead of wood are laid with cast iron; and those made for the lime stone waggons on the steep hills are so contrived that the loaded waggon winds up the empty one on a different road. Pass his new slitting mills, which are not finished, but the immense wheels 20 feet diameter of cast iron were there, and appear wonderful. Viewed the furnaces, forges, &c. with the vast bellows that give those roaring blasts, which make the whole edifice horridly sublime. These works are supposed to be the greatest in England. The whole process is here gone through from digging the iron stone to making it into cannons, pipes, cylinders, &c. &c. All the iron used is raised in the neighbouring hills, and the coal dug likewise, which is char'd, an invention which must have been of the greatest consequence after the quantity of cord wood in the kingdom declined. Mr. Darby in his works employs neat 1000 people, including colliers. There are 5 furnaces in the Dale, and 2 of them are his: the next considerable proprietor is Mr. Wilkinson, whose machine for boring cannon from the solid cast is at Posenail, and very curious.

The colliers earn 20d. a day, those who get lime stone 1 s. 4d. the founderers 8 s. to 10 s. 6d. a week. Boys of 14 earn 1 s. a day at drawing coal baskets in the pits.

The coal mines are from 20 yards to 120 deep, and the coal in general dips to the south east: in sinking the pits they generally find the following strata.

  1. Brick clay 3 feet deep
  2. Potters do. 15 feet
  3. Smuts an imperfect coaly substance 1 foot
  4. Blue bat, a hard clay 3 or 4
  5. Top and sand tock 6 or 8
  6. Bottom coal 4
  7. White slip, potters clay 3
  8. Best coal 3
  9. Brick clay 18
  10. Clod coal 2
  11. Clay 12
  12. Flint coal 4
  13. Iron stone 3

There may be about 1000 acres of coal on the Benthal side of the river, and 2000 on the Dale side.

These iron works are in a very flourishing situation, rising rather than the contrary

Colebrook Dale itself is a very romantic spot, it is a winding glen between two immense hills which break into various forms, and all thickly covered with wood, forming the most beautiful sheets of hanging wood. Indeed too beautiful to be much in unison with that variety of horrors art has spread at the bottom: the noise of the forges, mills, &c. with all their vast machinery, the flames bursting from the furnaces with the burning of the coal and the smoak of the lime kilns, are altogether sublime, and would unite well with craggy and bare tocks, like St. Vincent's at Bristol.

Returning to Shifnel, I took the road to Shrewsbury towards Ketley, I found that land let in general from 10 s. to 20 s. an acre. Passed many collieries and iron works all the way. About Watling-street whole farms through let at 20 s. an acre, and some to 40 s. From the road you have a very fine view of the Wreekin, it rears its venerable bare head between two great woody mountains. Within 2 or 3 miles of Shrewsbury farms run at 15 s. and 20 s. meadows 30 s. the soil is a dry gravel, upon which they lime for turnips, but do not hoe them; feed the crops on the land with sheep, ' The course,

  1. Turnips
  2. Barley
  3. Wheat 18 to 25 bushels
  4. Barley
  5. Clover 3 years
  6. Pease

Farms are from 50 l. to 150 l.

They see where the lime is laid in the crops to an inch.

Colonel Hill, in this neighbourhood, has taken much pains to introduce hoeing, and does some every year.

Dined at Shrewsbury, and walked about the town. It is large and very well situated, the stone bridge erected by a voluntary subscription, which raised above 10,000l. is an equal advantage and credit to the town and county; another very handsome one of the same materials is erecting at the county expence, 3 miles before Shrewsbury in the London road.

Went to Cruckton, the seat of the Reverend Mr. Harries, to whom I am obliged for the following account of the husbandry of that neighbourhood. The name of the parish is Pontesbury. Farms are in general small, from 30 l. to 100 l. a few to 200l. The soil a rich, strong, gravelly loam, dry and sound, lets from 14 s. to 15 s. on an average.

The whole county through, exclusive of wastes, about 14 s. an acre. Wastes are Stiperstone Hills, Longment, Clee Hills, Titerstone, Brown Clee, Wreekin and Hatton Highneath. These the most considerable wastes, and as they are, would let for 2 s. an acre. Courses,

  1. Fallow lime or dung invariably, 3 waggon load to 2 acres, at 11 s. 3 d. a load at kiln, and go 4 to 6 miles.
  2. Wheat or monker, that is maslin, sow 2 to 3 bushels and ptoduce 20 (9 gallons) the wheat sold at 75 lb. a strike.
  3. Barley, sow 4 bushels and get 28.
  4. Oats sow 4 strike, and get 30.
  5. Clover fed generally with sheep pigs and horses, for two years.
  6. Pease, sow 3 strike, and get 22.
  7. Wheat manured, then barley, and laid down again, &c. fallow not regular in the courses.
Another,
  1. Clover for 2 years.
  2. Manured for wheat.
  3. Barley or oats laid down again to
  4. Clover 2 years
  5. Pease
  6. Wheat
  7. Barley or oats laid down again.

The farmers sow some tares for seed, instead of pease; never for hay or soiling. No sainfoine. Most farmers, and likewise cottagers, have spots of hemp; go through the whole management, and spin it into coarse linen for their own use. All plant potatoes for home use, and have of late years increased much.

Copses generally kept in landlords hands, cut at 22 or 24 years growth. About Ludlow at 16 or 17 for cord wood, worth at 24 years 18 l. an acre; purchaser pays tythe. Cut the timber at every other fall, at 50 years growth, called black poles for laths and hurdles, and worth 3 s. or 4s. each; but sold with the copse wood. Many cows of the Shropshire breed, which is between Lancashire and their own. An acre and half the summer food of one: 8 lb. of butter a week in height of the season, reckoned a large produce, they give 2 or 3 gallons of milk at a meal, which is uncommon for such large fine cattle. Mr. Harries has had 16 quarts a meal, they make from 2 to 3 Ct. of cheese at 26 s. to 30s. besides butter, from each cow.

2 Ct. at 28 s. . 3 10 0
Butter, 0 10 0
Calf, 1 10 0
Pigs, 1 10 0
----
7 0 0
----

Produce of 8 cows. Mr. Harries's.

5 Cheeses a week, . 1 3 0
20 lb. Butter 0 12 0
----
1 15 0
----

For 20 weeks, . 35 0 0
8 Calves, 8 0 0
3 sows, 6 litters, 48 pigs at 7 s. 16 16 0
----
59 16 0
----
Which is per cow 7 9 0

They feed in winter when dry till just before calving, in day time in the fields poaching, but Mr.Harries keeps them in a yard. Take the calves for rearing at 1 month old: rear them upon milk and water and oatmeal; rear many oxen, but fell them lean. Value of a fat cow's hide 3d. a lb.; 80 lb. a good hide; cheaper 20 years ago. Fat hogs to 16 score common, fell them at Shrewsbury by live weight at 4d. per lb. lean price of stores 50 s. to 3 l.

Flocks of sheep are small; buy ewes in october, yean in february, and turn them on clover, selling the lambs fat, and then the ewes; buy in at 10 s. sell lamb 7 s. 6 d. ewe 13 s.

Plough with horses 4 or 5 at length, and do an acre; keep 8 horses to 100 acres tillage. The year's expence of a horse 10 l. cut much straw into chaff. Did use many oxen some years ago; but now scarce any. Break stubbles after wheat sowing. Swing ploughs used, and the coulters fixed to the shares. Hire of a team of 5 horses, a waggon, and one man, 12 s.

To hire a farm of 100l. a year.

5 Horses at 15 l. . 75 0 0
12 Cows at 7 l. 84 0 0
8 Young cattle 3 l. 24 0 0
60 Sheep at 10 s. 30 0 0
2 Sows at 50 s. 5 0 0
1 Waggon, 25 0 0
2 Tunbrils 10 l. 20 0 0
1 Harvest cart, 7 0 0
2 Ploughs, 3 0 0
2 Harrows, 3 0 0
1 Roller, 1 0 0
Harness, 5 0 0
Sundries, 15 0 0
Furniture, 50 0 0
Tythe, 12 0 0
Rates, &c. 5 0 0
Housekeeping, 25 0 0
2 Men and 1 boy, 19 0 0
2 Maids, 6 0 0
1 Labourer, 18 0 0
60 Acres seed 12s. 36 0 0
---
468 0 0
---

Land sells at 30 years purchase, in 10 years risen much, now at a stand. Land-tax at 4s. not more than 1s. the county thtough. Tythes not much gathered; computed 2s. to 3s. In the pound. Poor rates, 1s. to 1s .6d. doubled in 10 years. Tea general, leases 7s. to 14s. or 21s. many, but going out.

Labour.

In harvest 1s. 4d. 1s. 6d. and board
-- Hay 1s. 2d. 1s. 4d. and beer.
-- Winter 1s.
Man's wages 8 l.
Lad 3 l.
Maid 3 l. to 3 l. 10s.
Woman at hay 6d. and beer.
Rise of labour, none for 6years, but in 15 years 1 /3 d

Provision.

Cheese 3d. Mutton 4d.
Butter 6d.9d. Veal 4d.
Beef 4d. Pork 4d.
Bacon 6 d. 7 d. Firing, seldom buy more
than 12 s. for 1 stack coal
Potatoes 1s. 6d. 2s. strike,
Labourer's house rent 40s. Tools 5 s.

Building.

Bricks 15 s. formerly 9 s.
Tiles 20 s.
Oak 40 s. a ton, very little advanced.
Ash do.
Poplar 30 s;
Carpenter 1 s. 6 d. 1 s. 8 d.
Mason do.
Building a cottage 25 l.

A Farm.

300 Acres, 8 Horses,
124 Grass, 16 Cows,
176 Arable, 4 Fatting,
33 Wheat, 30 Young,
50 Barley, 100 Sheep,
8 Oats; 3 Men,
17 Pease, 2 Maids,
60 Clover, 2 Labourers.
8 Fallow,

No chopping stubbles. On clover lays of a second year at midsummer they put on the usual quantity of lime, and in october sow the wheat upon one ploughing, and sometimes put the lime upon pease when 3 or 4 inches high, to keep insects from the pease; and better for wheat. The farmers in general have a great opinion of lime.

All the farmers take every opportunity of throwing the water over their lands wherever they can, and find the greatest advantage from it, not only in point of quantity, but quality of grass also, especially on warm, sound, gravelly, soils. Some clay bottoms done so; the advantage great.

Mr. H. begins in november, and waters till the middle of march, mows 2 ton an acre, but before they were done not one: dry all march; he has observed then the watering to produce rushes on the clays; feed in april, and afterwards a gentle watering, and then mow by the 10th of july. The water is very rich, water the upper lands middle of november till may, but will not bear feeding in spring. Never turn into them in the spring. Has tried feeding sheep in the watered meadows in april, but rotted them;

Mr. Harries mentioning a meadow he waters, upon which cattle are remarkably fond of feeding, and get fat in a very short time; I went to examine the herbage and sound the major part to be narrow leaved plantain, Achillea, white clover, red perrenial clover, meadow foxtail, and tare thime, besides some other common grasses, a strong instance that the recommendations I have at various times given for laying land to grass are just.

Mr. Harries is making very great improvements at Cructon; besides almost new building the house, he has laid out the grounds about it in a very agreeable manner; the garden front commands a most pleasing prospect of a rich vale bounded by distant mountains, and nearer hills partly cultivated; one rises in the center of a peculiar form, making a very picturesque appearance.

June the 15th, leaving Cructon, took the road to Shrewsbury by the Bank , Mr. Badders, who has made several considerable improvements in husbandry, particularly in bringing a large farm of 400 acres into a very rich condition, by ample manuring. He has for sour years regularly had a small field of cabbages for the purpose of stall-feeding cows. I was attentive to what he mentioned upon this subject, as so many persons have gone out of cabbages, from thinking they did not answer: Mr. Badder is of a very different opinion; and for stall-feeding, thinks they much exceed turnips. That an acre will fatten one beast in sour more than turnips, and all in two thirds of the time; and for the grazier, another circumstance of consequence is, that cabbages have a remarkable effect in laying on the fat on the graziers points. From experience, Mr. Badder intends always, as the most advantageous method, to go over his summer-fatting cattle about half fat, and draw off such as should in october be put to the stalls when the cabbages are in full perfection, by which means they go much farther, and will prove highly profitable. He has often fed cows with them, and if the decayed leaves are taken off, they give the butter no ill taste.

From hence went to Petton, the seat of Edward Maurice, Esq; who was so kind as to procure me, the following particulars.

The size of farms generally from 50 l. to 200 l. a year, very few rising to 300 l. The soil in general clay, some gravel and light loam, lets on an average at 15 s. From hence to Chester 12 s. to Shrewsbury 15 s. 6 d. to Oswestry 15 s. and the whole county 15 s.

  1. Fallow,
  2. Wheat, sow 2 strike at 9 gallons and get 20.
  3. Barley, sow 3 strike, get 30.
  4. Oats, sow 4 strike, get 40.
  5. Clover and ray-grass 3 or 4 years, mow the 1st year and then feed.
  6. Oats.

Very few pease from the coldness of the lands, but about Preston, Brockhurst, &c. where the soil is sand, they introduce them instead of the last crop of oats, and sow wheat upon the stubble, which in Shropshire they call the brush; they yield 40 strike an acre generally, sometimes 50; upon the same soil they also sow buck-wheat for ploughing under.

Every cottager and every farmer has hemp; a farmer generally 2 acres, and a cottager all he can spare from potatoes and beans; they dress, spin, and weave it into cloth in the country. Potatoes are much planted, besides gardens they put them on their headlands, dung much for them. Crops about 3 strike per perch. Copses all in hand, they cut at 10 years growth, the quantity not great.

As to manuring, lime is the great resource, they lay a waggon load an acre, at 12 s. fourteen miles off; lay it on the fallow wheat; also lime the pease on lays after they are up, to prevent the slugs coming. They have a great opinion of it, it is tock lime, they can see to an inch where it is laid: but it does not answer so well on strong wet land as on light. Spread it every four years. Their dung they lay on the wheat fallows.

Marle is used, but not so much as it was, it is left off in favour of lime, but it is still common about Preston.

Going to Shrewsbury for dung, &c. is coming in, and they buy whatever they can at 5 s. a cart load. No draining, except by gentlemen, who most of them do much.

Dairies are large, up to 35 cows, 1 acre grass for their summer-food; in winter they are fed on barley-straw, but before and after calving, hay. The breed is in general the common Shropshire, with long horns, Staffordshire ones they like, but hold all cows without horns in utter contempt. Make both butter and cheese; they are excellent milkers, giving in general 2 gallons at a meal. Mr. Maurice has had a cow he bought in Holderness, which gave 17 quarts and a pint of milk at a meal; the produce of one they reckon about 5 l. keep many swine to their cows: breeding sows for stores, which they sell lean. To 20 cows they keep 5 or 6 sows, and all the pigs bred, selling at a year old, at 35 s. each. Let the sows pig when they will they rear all; wean at 10 weeks old on corn and milk; sucking pigs at 10 weeks, sold at 10s. 6 d. each. Some farmers turn their hogs into clover.

Rear many calves, three-fourths of all they have: wean at 3 weeks old, give them milk and whey thickened with wheat-flour till midsummer.

Sheep are kept in small parcels only: bought in every year, and sold fat. Buy year olds at 7 s. to 9 s. sell lambs at 7 s. 6 d. and the ewe at 9 s. or 10 s. clip 2 or 3 lb. of wool.

Plough with horses, 4 in a plough at length, keep 7 to 100 acres of arable. Do 1 acre or 1 in a day: but with a double plough, which are very common, do double work, 5 do more than 8 in two single ones. Depth 3 or 4 inches: the price 5 s. an acre. Lay their fields in 6 feet lands. Cut much straw into chaff. Very few draught oxen. Hire of a team a day 10 s. 6 d. In stocking farms a man should have for 100 l. a year, 400 l.

Land sells at 33 years purchase has risen very much in 10 years. Land tax at 4 s. is 1 s. 5 d. tythes generally compounded 2 s. in the pound, but some gathered. Poor rates in Ellesmere 1 s. 1 d: in Petton 4 d. Tea general. Leases are common on lives, also on terms.

Labour.

In Harvest 1 s. 6 d. and beer.
- Hay do.
In Winter. 10d.
First man 7 l. 8 l.
A lad 3 l. 10s.
Maids 3 l.
The price of labour in 20 years risen half.

Provisions.

Cheese 3 d. Pork 4d.
Butter 7 d. 9 d. Bacon 6 d.
Beef 4d. Potatoes from 1 s. to 4s.
Mutton 4 d. House rent 20 s. to 4 l.
Veal 3 d. Firing-steal it.

Building.

Bricks 14 s.
Tiles 15 s.
Oak timber 1 s. 3d. a foot, 20 years ago much cheaper.

A Farm.

355 Acres. 30 Fallow.
177 Grass. 8 Horses.
178 Arable. 20 Cows.
160 l.Rent. 25 Young cattle.
30 Wheat. 60 Sheep.
20 Barley. 3 Men.
20 Oats. 1 Labourer.
40 Clover. 2 Maids.

Mr. Maurice has improved in several circumstances upon the preceding husbandry. His course is,

  1. Turnips,
  2. Barley 35 strike,
  3. Clover, 2 years: mow the 1st: feed the 2d.
  4. Wheat 18 to 20:
Draw part of the turnips, and eat the remainder on the land with sheep and young cattle. Upon his clays,
  1. Oats on a lay.
  2. Beans.
  3. Tares.
  4. Wheat.

The farmers do not cultivate turnips, but he hoes twice, and sometimes thrice, and finds the benefit exceedingly great: a few have, from seeing the greatness of the crops, practised it.

Potatoes he has planted in large quantities, particularly for hogs, and all sorts of stock, and finds that nothing is better for them.

Soot he buys at Shrewsbury for manuring his grass lands, 28 strike an acre: the effect is very great. Large crops of hay after it; kills the rushes and brings a fine herbage.

In respect of cattle, Mr. Maurice has been uncommonly attentive: he began with the common Shropshire, which he changed for the Holdernesse, on account of the milking. But sound them very difficult to feed, very tender, very thin hide of little value, which he thinks the reason of their tenderness; their milk is not rich, for which reasons he left them off. He then bought the Leicestershire sort, to which he has adhered; improved by a cross of the Lancashire, and has by that means got a breed, in which the object of grazing is united with good milking.

He has many cows which give three gallons at a meal, bred in the above manner; also good ones of the Alderney breed, which he approves much for a dairy.

Many bulls, which, in order to promote the breeding system, he lets out at from 3 guineas to 12 a season. That Mr. Maurice- has carried the attention to cattle to a great extent, will appear from the following state of his farm.

450 Acres in all, 11 Fatting beasts,
300 Grass, 30 Young cattle,
150 Arable 25 Calves,
400 l. Rent, 40 Horses,
8 Bulls, 60 Hogs.
35 Cows,

He has built sheds of brick and slate, under which he ties up above 60 head all winter through, feeding them with straw and turnips.

He every year keeps 30 acres of after-grass from michaelmas to february for his cows that have then calved, and finds very great advantage from it. And in lieu of grass in april, he sows turnips on stubbles on one ploughing, 3 lb. seed to an acre, of the white dutch turnip. He has now in milk 33 cows, by which he makes every week 7 cheeses, at 45 lb. each on an average, and for one quarter of a year 4 Cheeses, and 30 lb. butter a week. The cheese 28 s. and the butter 7d. To the dairy 8 sows of an excellent breed, between the Chinese black and a Warwickshire boar, of which the average litter is about seven, and two in a year. A large hog for bacon will eat 20 strike of pease in fattening.

7 Cheeses at 45 lb. for 13 weeks, also 13 weeks at 4 Cheeses, 53 Ct. at 28 s. . 74 0 0
26 Weeks butter at 30 lb. 780, at 7d. 22 15 0
30 calves at 2 l. 2 s. 63 0 0
----
159 15 0
----

For the hogs Mr. Maurice has inclosed a paled yard, with sties and troughs, &c. out of which his hogs never go.

He keeps a flock of Leicester ewes, and thinks, from experience, that they ought not to be put to ram till the end of october, for he has observed, that lambs yeaned in march will not be smaller the beginning of june than those which sell at christmas. It was natural for me to enquire into the food after lambing, but Mr. Maurice made the observation after he became a turnip farmer.

June 16th, took the Ellesmere road, which leads through a very fine variegated country, and an exceeding fine water, of more than 100 acres, called the White Mere . The lands that surround it are rich, and rise from it in the most beautiful manner. The coast various, part of it little hills, which rise one beyond another, prettily tufted with wood; in others, thick hedges that bound the water; a hill partly cultivated and part grass, with gentle slopes of corn, and the Wreekin at a distance.

Before I came to Preston, the country becomes a perfect picture, the road winds round the edge of a hill that half encompasses a most beautiful vale of the finest verdure, well wooded, with a river which is seen but in one or two spots, as if shewing itself with reluctance; the declivity from the road so steep, and of such a depth, that you look over the tops of many considerable trees, and see the vale through their branches.

Near Preston had another view, different, but very pleasing, the road winds on the brink of a precipice, at the bottom of which is spread forth the same vale, cut into innumerable inclosures, the river giving a bold curve, and the whole bounded by mountains.

Called at Mr. Fletcher's, at Gwern, to whom a letter from Mr. Maurice introduced me, and had the satisfaction 0f gaining by that means some particulars concerning the common husbandry, and a short account of some very meritorious pursuits which Mr. Fletcher had himself made in agriculture.

Preston is situated on a rich high land between two vales. The soil various, clay, loam, gravel, sandy loam, Etc. The poorest is the clay, which does not let for more than 8 s. an acre, but the others to 15 s. and 20s. and the low meadows in the vale up to 3 l. 4 l. and even 5 l. an acre; but the highest yields that rent merely from an uncommon custom of letting them for a single year only, by auction, and are hired by persons from Chester and other towns for hay, which is very scarce with them. Farms rise usually from 50 l. to 100 l. a few larger.

They have several courses, but that which seems most general is,

  1. Fallow, but not universal.
  2. Wheat, sow 2 bushels, and get from 16 to 25 bushels.
  3. Barley, sow 4 bushels and get 4 or 5 qrs.
  4. Clover 2 or 3 years.
  5. Oats or pease.

They lay lime and marle on their fallows, and spread dung on their grass lands.

Mr. Fletcher's own husbandry is much better worth attention than that of these common neighbours.

OXEN IN HARNESS.

has practised this mode of drawing oxen some time, and finds it infinitely preferable to using yokes. They walk in harness as fast as horses.

CATTLE.

Fletcher has been very attentive to the breed of his cows, which are most of them of the Staffordshire or Lancashire soft, which he finds exceeding good ones; he has some of the finest Lancashire bulls I have any where seen.

SOWING BARLEY

It is the custom among the farmers to delay sowing their barley till very late. sometimes, in order to give more tillage, Mr. Fletcher tried sowing it early in march, and has a crop much superior to the later sown.

SPRING WHEAT

This he has tried from Cornwall, and from sowing it the 16th of april, has reaped it as early as the common sown wheat of the country. He has also tried it by an autumn sowing, and it is then reaped 3 weeks sooner.

CABBAGES

He cultivates every year for feeding his cows, and finds no ill taste in his butter from them.

TURNIPS

He cultivates very carefully, hoes them well, and gets great crops, with exceeding fine barley after them.

FARMYARD.

His farm-yard system is among the best I have any where seen. In autumn he carts marle in, and spreads it; upon this be confines his cattle, giving them their fodder on it; and he has a well in the lowest part for pumping up the drainings and scattering them by troughs over the whole body of the compost.

FOOD OF COWS.

Mr. Fletcher has remarked quite contrary to the Cheshire notion, that his improved lands that have been dunged and marled, give by far the richest food to the cows, so that upon turning them into unimproved pastures they immediately fall off considerably in their milk.

COURSE.

His course is that excellent one,

1. Turnips, 2. Barley,
2. Clover one year, 4. Wheat.

SOILING.

This he has done with such success, instead of letting the horses run into the fields, that he is determined to persist in it.

HOLLOW DRAINS.

This branch of husbandry he has practised on his grass land, and with the greatest success. With the help of liming, all the rushes by this means disappear.

Mr. Fletcher's ornamented grounds are among the most beautiful in the kingdom, and travellers who take this road to Holyhead or elsewhere, would find their curiosity amply repaid by visiting them.

The situation of the ground is beautiful, and commands all the variety that steep declivities, umbrageous wood, rich vales, and extensive prospect can combine. The walks are traced with taste, and the whole unites to form a scenery truly pleasing.

The 16th reached Wrexham. The 17th by Mold to St. Asaph. The 18th to Conway and Bangor. The 19th to Holyhead. The minutes of this part of the journey were lost, with other papers, in coming from Ireland.


1 Oats are eaten by the red-worm. What they mean by this is not clear.

2 Since executed.

Arthur Young, Tours in England and Wales, selected from the Annals of Agriculture (London: London School of Economics, 1932)

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