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John Martin -Farmer

Farming in England, at least until the beginning of the 18th century, is often described as being ‘subsistence’ in nature. What is usually meant by this is that farmers grew sufficient crops and raised sufficient livestock only for their own use and no more. Subsistence farmers are unable to produce a surplus for storage or sale on the open market. A moments thought reveals that this could not have been the case except possibly in the earliest century’s. From the earliest times rural areas always provided food to the towns, the tithe had to be given to the church and there was never a shortage of Court hangers on who were unproductive and had to be fed. In a truly subsistence economy none of these things could have been accommodated. There are in any case degrees of subsistence: between the 7th and 14th century surviving historical sources indicate that there were severe famines, affecting the whole country, every ten years or so9. Thereafter famines appear to die out, although there are still intermittent periods of hunger not amounting to famine. What caused this improvement is hard to define but it was not due to any particular advance in agricultural technique. Even as late as the 19th century there was always a risk that the harvest would be insufficient to support the population as a whole, there were food riots in the 1790’s and the decade was to become known as the ‘hungry forties’ even before the Irish potato famine started in 1845.

This relative lack of progress in agriculture was not through choice or laziness, as until the 18th century, the means to improve production were limited. Gradually, stimulated perhaps by the spirit of the enlightenment a new rigour was introduced into British agriculture, new techniques were developed [see below] and output began to improve. This was helped by the production of manuals on improving husbandry and authors such as Tull were not afraid to use continental ideas. Nathaniel Kents highly popular ‘Hints to Gentlemen of Landed Property’ published in 1775 reflected the opinions of the author after a three year sojourn in the Netherlands.

The effect was such that “England not only produced food for a population that had doubled itself,” but “during the first part of the period became, the granary of Europe.”10 The changes that led to this dramatic were often the result of careful observation and experiment but one immediate problem for the historian is, as C S Orwin wrote, that “it is impossible to date the great changes and improvements in agricultural practice with any precision” for “Even where dates can be assigned to certain events, such as the introduction of drill husbandry or of a new crop, or the invention of a reaping-machine which worked, the time lag between the perfecting of an agricultural invention, or of a farming system, and its adoption generally by husbandmen, may extend to decades or even generations.”11 A naturally conservative group of men and women such as farmers were not given to risking their livelihoods by adopting new techniques at a rush.

The first half of the 18th century was an optimistic time in the country side and according to Rowland Prothero, Baron Ernle, it was “one of the golden ages of the peasant”. In this happy time the majority of the population, still had to produce at least a part of the food itself. As the Hammond’s put it, “the normal labourer did not depend on his wages alone. His livelihood was made up from various sources. His firing he took from the waste, he had a cow or a pig wandering on the common pasture, perhaps he raised a little crop on a strip in the common fields. He was not merely a wage earner, receiving so much money a week or a day for his labour, and buying all the necessaries of life at a shop: he received wages as a labourer, but in part he maintained himself as a producer.”

The second half of the century was less happy. The surplus of food which had enabled the population to double was now dissipated by the need to supply the armies fighting the American colonists and later the French. More food was needed and one answer to this was to inclose the open fields and commons. Inclosing the commons brought new land into cultivation but had the unfortunate effect of depriving the labourer of some of his alternative sources of food. As the 19th century began the country was massively in debt, and in the ensuing three decades, banks were to fail, the weather turned bad and summer disappeared altogether in 1816 12. Paradoxically even when the harvest was good problems arose. In 1813 a bumper crop caused a rapid collapse in the price of wheat. The farmers receipts dropped by almost a half causing financial problems for farmers who had invested heavily in bringing the new land into cultivation. Subsequent years were similar and with wheat flooding in from Ireland and Scotland the result would be the infamous Corn Law of 1815.

With the end of the Napoleonic wars an agricultural depression followed which persisted for the next two decades. During this period many landed estates were sold and it is interesting that the Rampisham estate came up for sale during this period. From 1837 onwards conditions for the landowners at least began to improve, taxation was reduced, the problem of the tithe was addressed and the cost to them of the Poor Rate was reduced.

None of this however shook the basic faith that most people had in acquiring land and for every seller of an estate there was a purchaser. Many of these were people were new to landowning as for example Lord Eldon who Martin worked for in 1821.

The acquisition of land of itself was just the beginning for land is of little value unless it can be exploited and the options for exploitation, prior to industrialisation, were limited. Until transport infrastructure such as the canals and then railways were in place there could be no mass market for any manufactured product. If you owned land, to make a profit, you had little choice but to farm it. But how? From 1793 the Board of Agriculture commissioned a series of reports on the state of agriculture in the counties together with a series of recommendations on how to improve the course of agriculture. Three reports were produced for Dorset, one in 1793 by John Claridge, another, nineteen years later, in 1812 by William Stevenson and one in 1810 which was withdrawn following objections from the local landowners. Elements from Claridge’s and Stevenson’s reports are included in what follows.

There are no personal references to farming in the 1810 diary and we might suppose that Martin was not in possession of any land at this time. As a land-surveyor involved with inclosures however he needed to have a firm grasp of the economics and practice of farming. This is evidenced by a number of diary entries such as this one from February,

5th February 1810Taken from the Farmers Journal in Berks 60lb of wheat will return 37 of the finest Flower [sic] & 14lb of two inferior kinds 8lb of Bran & ½ of waste Spring Wheat produces two or 3lb more Bran & is sown in general instead of Barley Wheat 10s Barley 5 or 5s 6d Oats 2/5d or 4s The above would produce ample profit to the Farmer and enable him to pay Taxes 1810

From the dates of the diary entries we can see that Martin’s farming activities began in earnest in 1821,

DateType of FarmingEntry
12th January 1821Probably dairy farmingRent day at Evershot Went to Yeovil with my Cows but did not sell
20th June 1821HayMowed my Grass
24th September 1821Sheep for WoolPd Mr Wm Trenchard for 8 wether13 sheep last Toller Down Fair £9 11s 0d
6th October 1821Potatoe GrowingReced of John Vine remainder of Potatoe [sic] rent to Lady Dy 1821 3s 7d
7th October 1821Keeping PigsPd Thos Beater for Pig £1

The only exception is arable farming which appears for the first time in 1845 although it is not clear from the diaries which of his lands he was ploughing.

23rd September 1845WheatAttending Harvesting Wheat &c

The Farming Year

Until Martin’s day [and beyond] the really hard work of the farm was performed by the livestock. Claridge in 1793 applauded the fact that oxen were still being used in Dorset but by Stevenson’s time they appear to have disappeared to be replaced by horses. Oxen had great strength but little stamina although their reward at the end of a life time of service was a little ungrateful – they were eaten. Horses were more expensive to look after and Ernle reports their only use at the end of their lives was to be made into leather. The English at least forbore eating them.

Without these animals a farm could not have been worked, farming would have been impossible and as a consequence their maintenance through the winter was of the utmost importance. The only crop allocated entirely to the livestock was the hay crop, and so important was it that the grasslands from which it was produced were immensely valuable. I have described how they were managed at Child Okeford where in 1838 the grasslands were worth 45/s per acre; the arable only 25/s.

Haymaking was fraught with potential problems, the correct stage of maturity of the grass had to be assessed and the weather just right, for after mowing it had to be dried, reducing its moisture content from 70 -90 % to 20% or less. Any more an it would eventually rot- the process of silage making not having yet been invented. Making Hay while the sun shines was quite literally what you had to do and for this you needed a workforce to be on hand,

The earliest record of Martin mowing his grass comes from 1821,

20th June 1821Mowed my GrassPaid Mr Beater for Hay £1 10s

The grass had then to be dried and this involved ‘tedding’ the turning of the hay to ensure even drying. This was the ‘haymaking’ and was an expensive business, apparently still done by hand,

25th June 1821Ricked my Hay CourtlandsPd Mowing 8s Do Haymaking 2s 6d Do Do 5s 8d

Whereas today the hay would be baled, in the past it was ‘ricked’. The rick itself was thatched, or ‘tipped’ with straw in order to protect it from the elements. The importance of this cannot be overemphasised; when Thomas Hardy has Gabriel Oak protecting the hay ricks in a storm14 the importance of the service he had done would have been recognised by all his rural readers. The loss of a hay crop was a disaster as until the introduction of fodder crops and manufactured feeds, this was the only food available to the animals until the next year. In the days of the Manor courts there were frequently rules forbidding the carriage of fire [open torches] in the fields for fear of fire and it is not uncommon in newspaper reports from the time to find ricks deliberately set alight. It was akin to having your money stolen for they were very valuable. How valuable is shown when, after the death of his cousin William Jennings, he bought one of the ricks for a price almost equivalent to a years wages for an agricultural labourer.

13th April 1854Bought Rick of Hay late Mr Wm Jennings 22.10.0 Farmer Thompson takes ½

It was important for the farmer to ensure that he had adequate supplies of hay sometimes having to buy in extra supplies. In 1827 he was clearly running short, but he got his money’s worth from Thomas How,

14th February 1827Thos How fetched a Cart Load of Hay Pd Thomas How in full for Carriage of Hay & Dutch oven Paint &c from Yeovil 6s

This load was clearly not enough and in March he had to buy in more from his friend that he had to sell a calf to reduce his hay needs.

19th March 1827Went to Ransom Farmer Swaffield looking over Fences and John Beater weighing 18 Hundred of Hay from Mr Jestys Rick
10th April 1827Received for a Calf 7s Paid for 18 Hundred of Hay £4 10s 0d Paid Man Looking after Horse & Cows 8s

He must have felt great relief in May,

6th May 1827Turned my Cows to Grass

In the autumn of 1827 we find him buying in hay again and it may have been that the harvest had been particularly bad that year,

7th November 1827Working out Rampisham RentalsPaid Mr Chubbs Bill for Hay &c £3 4 4d
8th November 1827Thos How fetched in Hay I O him 3s & 2s 

Hay was cut from the rick with a knife and he purchased a new one in 1832

13th February 1832Pd Davis for Hay Knife 5s 6d

Female agricultural workers were often used as they generally were paid less,

28th July 1832Pd Martha Haymaking 7s 6d Pd Sally White Hay making 4s 6d Pd Mowing 15s

Very occasionally we find him selling some of his own hay although the meaning of the entry for the 5th of March is not clear,

5th March 1852At Home on Various matters Sold Henry Miller some Hay at Westwoods to be fed on the same for a fortnight from this time at 5£
15th March 1852Reced Henry Miller for Hay at Westwoods £5 Paid him for a Pig £2 10s

There are numerous entries about haymaking but the most complete set comes from 1854 which, like 1827, appears to have been another difficult year. It begins with him having to bring hay back from his lands in West Coker an expensive business but one suspects Mr Samways made more than one trip. He was the local agent for the Wellington Manure Works . Note Martin’s use of women workers again,

25th January 1854Sent for a Load of Hay Coker
29th March 1854Pd Mr Samways Carting a Load of Hay from Coker £1 Pd Woman Ground dressing &c 10s 8d

Normally in May he would have turned his cattle out to grass but instead we find him purchasing more hay from Robert Dunford of Rampisham,

8th May 1854Attendg Nine Acres Planting Mangle ½ day rain came on Pd Farmer Dunford for Hay £6

He did not have it collected immediately though and it was not until the 19th that it was fetched to Evershot,

18th May 1854Went to Toller down Fair Rain Came
19th May 1854[Fetched Hay from Ransom] Bought of Farmer Dunford

By this time he must surely have turned his cows out but the in May and June there are several entries about rain coming and it was probably a rather cold wet spring. Rather despondently in July he noted,

3rd July 1854At Home on Various matters { Wet Weather no Hay about Yet

They had just got started when it rained again,

18th July 1854Attending Haymaking
19th July 1854At Home on Various matters Rain in the Morning no Haymaking

It is difficult to see how he could have got the hay to dry in time but he ricked it nevertheless,

20th July 1854Haymaking Rick’d Poor Close & Yarn barton Paid Mr Vine mowing &c £1 919s 8d
21st July 1854Haymaking Rick’d Courtlands
22nd July 1854Haymaking in Pipershay Pd Men helping Ricking Tipping Ricks &c 10s
24th July 1854Haymaking Ricked Pipershay and made it very well
25th July 1854Attending Tipping Rick’s &c a very Hot Day Pd Mrs Reynolds on Acct of Haymaking [Coker] £5
26th July 1854Attending Tipping Pipers Rick &c and Mangling

Again it’s interesting to see a woman making the hay at West Coker although it is not clear who she is. There was an Elizabeth Coker [34] living in the village in 1851 but she is shown as a laundress.

In 1861 we find him selling Hay in March and then having to buy some in June. Perhaps he got his calculations wrong,

28th March 1861Sold Henry Miller Hay 2 ton 4 cwt at 43 £6 13s 0d Reced of Henry Miller for Hay £6 13s 0d
9th June 1861Pd Mr Smith for Hay £1 17s 6d

Apparently even mouldy or rotten hay was worth something

1st December 1861Reced for bad Hay £3
4th December 1861At Home sold Hay to Farmer Lovelace attendg Weighing 43H x ¾ Reced for load Hay £3

Turnips aside, the story so far has given a fairly benign view of conditions in the countryside but for some it was a harsh life. Thomas Cox was a 46 year old “carrier” living in Evershot with his wife and seven children. On the 9th of January 1862 P. C. Florance the local constable happened to be passing a hay house belonging to John Martin when he heard a rustling sound coming from the barn. He discovered Cox stuffing hay into a bag. Cox begged him not to say anything but Florance arrested him and he was brought to the County Petty Sessions at Dorchester. The hay was worth 3d [1.5p] and Cox was sentenced to 21 days hard labour.

Hay supported his livestock and Martin’s earliest recorded ventures into farming involved cattle and comes from 1821. Oddly these [plus one other] are the only entries concerning cattle for the year and we must assume that he was paying for his cows to be tended to even though he does not say so.

12th January 1821Rent day at Evershot Went to Yeovil with my Cows but did not sell
26th February 1821Reced of Miller & Way for a Cow £11 4s 0d
10th March 1821Paid for a Cow and Calf £11 11s 0d

It is not known what he was raising the cattle for, but the Blackmore Vale was a major dairying region and there is one reference to this,

10th June 1845Attending Hauling Dung and Work People about the Milk House

Until the 18th century large scale dairy farming was unknown. Even small scale dairying was limited for the best pastures were usually in the lord of the manor’s own hands. At the end of the summer painful decisions had to be made for reluctant to feed their hay too early to the livestock the farmers had to rely on the aftermath [the grass left on the hay meadows after mowing], the stubble on the arable fields or such things as tree-lopping’s to keep the animals going. It was, therefore, the practice at the end of June to weed out “the aged cows, worn-out oxen, and tooth-less sheep, prepare them as far as possible for the butcher, slaughter them in the autumn, and either eat them fresh or throw them into the powdering tub to be salted for winter consumption.”15 It was only with the introduction of three and then four course rotations [see below] was sufficient fodder for overwintering possible. Even then the prime use of dairy products was to make cheese and butter, it was not until the coming of the railways that the market for fresh milk was developed. Claridge noted the dairies “are managed by making all the cream into butter and from the skimmed milk an inferior sort of cheese…”. The butter was salted down in tubs and sent to Portsmouth and London. The industry was hugely important and in 1812 Stevenson reported that “The food of the poor is wheaten bread, skimmed milk, cheese, puddings, potatoes, and other vegetables, with a small quantity of pickled pork and bacon. In some parts of the Vale of Blackmoor, the peasantry eat very little besides bread and skimmed milk cheese.”

There are numerous examples throughout the diaries of Martin himself buying in dairy products for example,

3rd May 1827Paid Farmer Ellis’s Bill for Cheese &c £2 5s 7d
16th February 1852Reced of Mrs Jesty for Milk Cream &c £2 17s 2 ¼ d

which might suggest that he was not a dairy farmer. However the method of dairy farming in Dorset was unique in the country and was described by Claridge in 1793. The farmer who owned the cows did not actually manage the herd himself. Instead he hired the animals out to a specialist dairyman at a fixed price. This price depended on three factors, the quality of the pasture, the amount of milk each cow was likely to produce and the price that the butter and cheese would reach. This is the explanation of the fact that in Dorset censuses from 1851 onwards the occupation is given as dairyman but the person concerned does not seem to own any land. The system survived into the late 20th century in parts of Dorset and it is probable that Martin’s cows were managed by a dairyman. If so we never learn who it is.

There are some charming little entries such as the one from August 1821,

1st August 1821Pd Edward Chubb for a rope to tie the Cow 3s

Occasionally disasters or mishaps happened. One wonders what the qualifications of the Cow Doctor were or why Martin’s old cow needed spaying?

14th June 1832Pd Spaying my old Cow 3s
28th May 1854At Home [an Accident with my best Cow obliged to have it killed]
31st May 1854Do Do had my Cow killed Pd Cow Doctor 2s 6d

Like many farmers in the past Martin gave names to his animals some of whom must have been remarkably long lived or else he reused his names. Note the dates on the entries.

28th February 1845Doing Various Jobs -Farming works &c Red Cow calved
23rd January 1854Making out Valuations of Great Coombes Estate & sent same to Mr Alger [Red Cow Calved]
27th January 1854At Home on Various matters [Duchess Calved]
22nd April 1861IN PENCIL Duchess to B Calve 27th Janry At Home on Various matters

His other cattle included,

2nd April 1861IN PENCIL Dolly to B Calve 7th Janry
16th April 1861IN PENCIL Spotty to B Calve 20th Jan
3rd June 1861IN PENCIL Cowslip to B Calve March 10th

The gestation period for cows varies slightly but an average of 283 days being common the dates in pencil appear to indicate the day he would expect them to calve. I assume that he kept his cows at Evershot but one entry shows he had some cattle in West Coker,

22nd April 1854Went to Yeovil & thence to Coker when found my Wheat finished thrashing -The Heifer there had Calved

If cattle were Martin’s first venture into farming then according to the chronology of the diaries potatoes were the second. In this case he was receiving rent almost certainly from a tenant on either the Rampisham or Ilchester estates but he was probably growing them himself by then.

6th October 1821Reced of John Vine remainder of Potatoe [sic] rent to Lady Dy 1821 3s 7d

Perhaps surprisingly potatoes as a crop had a very slow start as food and even Tull appears to have thought them useful only for animal feed and improving the ground. They appear to have been cultivated first by the wealthy in their vegetable gardens but at some time they were adopted as a staple food for the poor. The advantages were obvious for not only were they nutritious they required no special preparation and could be cooked in a simple pot. The question next arose as to where they were to grow them for with the inclosure of the parish any small strips of land the poor might have owned all too often disappeared. Although Arthur Young had been keen to abolish the commons, it became obvious to him by the late 18th century that parishes where labourers had been able to retain some portion of land the poor rates were generally much lower. He began to campaign for allotments to the poor and in this he was supported by a clergyman David Davies, who suggested that such allotments should be used to grow potatoes. Even so the adoption of potatoes for the poor was a slow business. Claridge makes no mention of potatoes but Stevenson noted that the “State of the poor is much altered for the better within the last twenty years, and principally by the introduction of potatoes, which were scarcely known’ thirty years since.” In the late 1780’s “the labourers had very little beside bread and cheese and water, but at present [1812] they have the important additions of potatoes, pork and bacon”. Growing potatoes had a further advantage for “Almost every one keeps a pig, which is fed on potatoes”. The reader might note the slight contradiction of these dietary observations with those that he made when discussing dairy farming.

Nevertheless many landowners encouraged their tenants to take on allotments. In evidence given to the Poor Law commission in 1834 a Mr Okeden stated that there was “scarcely a parish in Wiltshire or Dorsetshire, in which the labourer has not the use of land..”16 It should not be thought that the provision of land was in anyway altruistic. Note the phrase “use of land”, potatoe lands, as they would become known, were usually in that years fallow field. Nobody had a permanent piece of land they could call their own and landlord typically charged four times the going rate for the land.17 It is not known what method of cultivation the English labourers used but the method in Ireland was the lazy bed. I have seen two descriptions of this. In the first described by Hobhouse in “The Seeds of Change” a strip of ground of varying width and length [see below] was chosen and down the middle was laid a line of manure. The edges of the strip were then dug out and the soil piled up over the manure. The second was slightly harder work and could be made in grassland; the technique is shown below

The advantage of letting out a part of the fallows to the farmer was obvious for, “besides the remuneration in money, produce, or manure, has his ground carefully cleaned and better fitted to receive a crop, after the potatoes are reaped, than if it had continued fallow.” The disadvantages are obvious but one which must of concerned them was the fact that if potatoe lands were on the fallows then other ‘improving’ crops, such as turnips or clover could not be grown. It was important not to give the labourer too much land. Hobhouse suggests that a lazy bed between five and eight hundred yards would provide enough potatoes for a family for a year but this would have been too much for the poor law commissioners to countenance. In Dorset Stevenson noted that potatoe lands on the fallows were decided by the size of the family and were at most a third of an acre. Typically a half of the area was devoted to potatoes and yielded about fifty bushels. The labourer had to manure the potatoe land and he did this by keeping a pig on the other half of the land.

The wider issue of permanent allotments was another issue that the poor law commissioners were interested in. A labourer was expected to work for “a farmer for twelve hours, from six to six,” if given too much land the labourer would overtire himself and so be of less use to the farmer the next day. It was decided therefore that the most he could cope with given “the help of his wife and family,” was about a half acre. The desire not to tire the labourer out was once again not altruistic, for if he had more land he would make more money and so be less willing to work as hard for his master. Perhaps of even greater importance by restricting the amount of land the labourer could count on lower rewards and “had less inducement to keep loose company.” Farmers appear to have been more accepting of potatoe lands than permanent allotments. After all they gained rent for land which would otherwise have laid fallow. They were less accepting of permanent allotments principally because “they object to the increased independence of the labourers.” 18

It may be wondered why bread was not more widely available and the answer was that for many it was simply too expensive for many. The rich advocated dietary reform for the poor. Sir Frederick Eden, who investigated the state of the poor in 1797 found that a labourer in the north feeding his wife and five children on oats spent £7 9s 2d a year whereas in Berkshire, where ‘wheaten’ bread was consumed, a similar labourer spent £36 8s a year. An obvious lesson to be learned there. Eden despaired of the soft southerner, ‘they but eat the finest wheaten bread, and declare [what I much doubt], that brown bread disorders their bowels.” Whilst Eden did not know of the effects of fibre on the bowel we may also assume he had never tried the stuff.

Although farmers generally did not like allotments, one man at least did and that was the Earl of Ilchester. A newspaper report in the Dorset County Chronicle from December 1844 reported that at a meeting at the Fox Inn Evershot, the rents having all been punctually paid “these honest and industrious labourers were regaled with a supply of prime strong been and enjoyed themselves right merrily, the health of the noble landlord not being forgotten.” The Earl had upwards of 48 acres of “good land” in three parishes devoted to these allotments, the Earl having “adopted the field garden plan more than twenty years since.” The beneficial effects were noted in the “improved character and conduct of the allotment men”, who had been able to “add much to their own comfort and those of their wives and families.” These allotments appear to be permanent in nature but there are no entries relating to them in the diaries. Potatoe lands on the other hand appear frequently.

Martin was intimately involved in the management of the lands for the Earl as the following entries show. The first entry comes from 1821.

5th November 1821Reced of Mr Wm Jennings at Somerton on Tithe 2s 4d Potatoe [sic] Lots on East Hill 3s 6d
10th November 1827Making out Potatoe Acct for last year – Lord Ilchesters small tenants

Two weeks later he was receiving the rents on behalf of Lord Ilchester.

24th November 1827Went to Ransom and receiving Potatoe Rents at the Fox

Martin provided this service to Lord Ilchester for at least twenty four years the last record of him collecting the rents being in 1845.

21st August 1832Making up Ransom Accounts my own Accts Potatoe Rents &c &c
17th November 1832Piddle Hinton Staking Allotments returned Home Received Potatoe Rents
29th October 1838Potatoe Rent day at the Fox Working on Cattistock Map Mr Easton
24th November 1845Working on Abbotsbury Town Map and making up Potatoe Rents
3rd December 1845Do and making out Potatoe Rental

Although Martin had his own land by the time the entries below were written he appears to have rented potatoe land himself although he got others to plant and dig them for him. If we use Stevenson’s figures from 1812 and suppose he got fifty bushels of the land then he made a very handsome profit. For an expenditure of ten shilling rent and nine shillings on seed potatoes he would have been rewarded with a crop of potatoes worth over thirteen pounds.

17th December 1838Pd J Lake Digging Potatoes 3s
2nd October 1845Attending to Labourers getting up Potatoes etc
4th December 1845Reced of Mr A Dibble for potatoes £1
24th December 1845Paid My Potatoe Rent 10s
22nd January 1852Pd for a Sack of Potatoes 9s
17th March 1854Attendg Gardening Planting Potatoes
3rd April 1854Pd for a Bushel of Potatoes 5s 3d
3rd August 1861Do Taking up my Potatoes

Despite the famine that was to follow in Ireland, there are no references to it in the diaries. Finally despite the government in 1801 not acting to force inclosure commissioners to provide allotments there is plenty of evidence from the tithe commutations that allotments for the support of the poor were to be found in most parishes.

If potatoes were a recent innovation in Dorset the next ‘crop’ was anything but new. When John Claridge wrote his report for the Board of Agriculture sheep farming was in fact the most lucrative form of farming in Dorset. With the coming of the railways and the demand of the cities for fresh milk this would change but for the majority of his life wool was still the most important product derived from sheep although Dorset lambs also had the dubious honour of being lambed in the autumn and were famous for finding their way on to the table at Christmas. As well as wool the sheep were valuable for the manure they produced. Given the random distribution of the animals droppings, to be most effective in manuring the sheep were almost invariably folded at night, on the fallow arable fields, being penned in by hazel hurdles. They were always attended by a shepherd who earned six shillings a week, plus a ‘great coat’ each year and was provided with breakfast on Sundays. Sheep skins too were valuable for parchment but it was their wool that was of prime value and apart from the Christmas lambs surprisingly little of their meat was eaten.

In Claridge’s time most of the sheep were a native Dorset breed and mostly inbred as there were no ram fairs in the county. This is in contrast to what was happening elsewhere in the country and which had seen the average weight of a lamb at Smithfield market increase from 18lb in 1710 to 50lb by 1790.19 Unforeseen consequences followed for as the weight of the sheep increased so did the length of the staple, the cluster of wool that determined the use to which the wool was put. Longer staples produced poorer quality wool.

When Stevenson wrote his report in 1812 the situation had changed considerably with many different breeds being found throughout the county although the commonest, in the western part of the county, was a Dorset/Somerset cross. In the South and East the South Down was the predominant breed. Sadly for the burghers of London lambing was no longer in the autumn and Dorset lamb less likely to be served at Christmas. Given the importance of sheep and the proximity of Evershot to some of the most important cloth manufacturers in the area, at Ilminster and Martock, it comes no surprise that Martin’s first venture into farming involved sheep. The first entry comes from 1821,

24th September 1821Pd Mr Wm Trenchard for 8 wether20 sheep last Toller Down Fair £9 11s 0d

William Trenchard was born in 1791 and in Pigots directory for 1830 is listed as the village butcher. He would die in September 1864 a month before his 7month old grandson. Trenchard appears in numerous transactions although the sums do not always add up as in the entry below.

23rd October 1838Sold Mr Trenchard 30 Sheep at 37s eachReced of Mr Trenchard for Twenty Lambs £24
Dec 1838 Reced of Mr Trenchard for 37 Sheep and two Calves £58 15 6d

In the 1851 census Trenchard is also listed as a farmer employing two men and it is a fair assumption that he is supplying livestock as well as slaughtering them. As late as 1862 Martin was still breeding and selling sheep to Trenchard. Each Christmas a “Christmas Meat Show” was held at Dorchester and a report in the Dorset County Chronicle noted that Trenchard had “some very good down wethers, bred and fed by Mr Martin of Evershot”. Trenchard was not the only butcher he used.

8th March 1852Reced of Butcher Way of Sherborne for Ten Sheep see 2nd Feb this is 10 out of 20 sheep £16

Of all his farming activities his sheep are the best documented. First he had to buy them and there are several entries relating to this.

13th September 1838Went to Dorchester Races with Edwin in the Carriage Dined at Mr Caines and paid him for 30 sheep
 Paid for a Watch for Edwin £12 Pd Mr Caines for 30 sheep£46 Paid expenses at the Races 5s 6d
16th September 1852Went to Chelborough & Purchased 100 Pen Lambs of Mr Paul
 Pd Mr Paul for 100 Lambs 24s each £120 chk W&D
2nd October 1852Returned Home by way of Milborne Port and purchased of Mr Sealy 100 lambs
 Purchased 100 Lambs of Mr Sealy of Milborne Port at 23/6d per head less 10s £117.00
6th September 1854At Home & Went to Woolcombe & Purchased of Mr Arthur Dibble 100 Lambs at 22s each
30th October 1861At Home purchased 66 Wethers of Widow Tompkins at 35s per head £115 10s 0d

After purchase he next had to ensure that they were marked.

8th October 1852Marking the Milborne Port Lambs &c
7th August 1854Attendg work People Marking Sheep &c
4th September 1854Marked my Sheep &c

Stevenson notes that “lambs are marked only with the initial of the owners surname with a pitched brand”. “Two teethed sheep” that is to say one year old’s had two letters branded on their near shoulder, four teethed sheep [two years old] had the same marks on the middle of their near side and six teeth sheep [three years old] were branded on the off side. What he fails to mention is which side is which!

In late May and early June of each year he ‘washed’ his sheep. Stevenson reports “This necessary operation is performed in some parts of the county by women, who stand in the water and hold the sheep under spouts that convey the stream upon them, in the same manner as is generally done by men in other parts of the kingdom.” Stevenson was so shocked at the thought of women undertaking this work that in the original he actually italicised the word women. He also noted that the modern trend was for a part of a stream to be dug out to a size sufficient to contain twenty sheep. This was walled and had “proper conveniences for letting in fresh water” and the sheep were then put into the pit and “pushed about from side to side, with crooks, poles &c for two or three minutes.”

2nd June 1852At Home on Various matters Washed my Sheep &c
5th June 1854At Home on Various matters – Went to Ransom -My Sheep were washed
16th May 1861At Home [Washed my Sheep]

Sometimes he had them coloured as well as washed. Colouring sheep has a very long history and was, and still is, done to make them look smarter often prior to sale. Even today sheep that have been coloured command a higher price at market.

25th August 1852At Home on Various matters [had the Sheep Coloured]
10th August 1854Preparing Fold for Coloring sheep
11th August 1854At Home on Various matters & Went to Ransom
12th August 1854At Home on Various matters sent for Sheep from Coker to be Coloured
14th August 1854Attending Colouring & dipping of my Sheep [223] Pd Hitchcock dipping and Coloring my Sheep 11s Pd after coloring my Sheep 8s

After colouring and in preparation for selling the sheep they sometimes needed tidying up a little.

1st September 1854Attending Trimming my Sheep for the Fair Paid Trimming Sheep 10s

Unfortunately all this work did not always pay off,

7th September 1854Toller Down Fair Board Day Went to Toller Down Fair but did not sell my Sheep – Dined at Arthurs with Mr James

Dipping of course served a different purpose as it was to protect the sheep against blow fly, lice, mites and ticks. The first ever sheep dip was made in 1830 by a chemist from Coldstream in Scotland named George Wilson [the shop he opened is still thriving although not named for him]. How widely it was used is not known and it was not until 1854 that William Cooper of Berkhamstead a vet produced and marketed a standardised dip in powder form. This was added to water in which the sheep were then dipped. Even with William Coopers standardised dip there were risks,

15th August 1854At Home on Various matters & went to Ransom Two of my Sheep died tonight I blame the dipping
15th September 1854At Home had my 100 Lambs dipt [sic] at Woolcombe bot. of Mr Dibble in fact only [99] one of them died

Given that the dip was made from arsenic and sulphur it is probable that it was not only the sheep who were at risk. The sheep were not only at risk from the dip; on occasions they had to be treated for foot rot and this recipe is written in the frontispiece of the 1852 diary,

Mr James of Mappowder for Foot Rot

2oz Sugar of Lead

2 Do Blue Stone

2 Do Gunpowder

I litre Oil Petre

Tablespoon of Oil of Vitriol

Linseed Oil Sufficient to make Salve

On the other hand the hassle of making it all up seems to have been too much for him as in July he noted,

17th July 1852Pd Foot Rot ointment &c 2s
4th October 1852Pd for Foot Rot stuff 2s 6d

Shearing was next on the agenda. To the modern reader this may not seem a strange activity but it too was, at least in farming terms, a modern innovation. The standard method of obtaining wool for centuries had been to pluck it and it was only in the 17th century that the custom of “pulling off the wool yearly from living sheep” was declared illegal.21 It is surprising again that for all the years he kept sheep the first mention of shearing is found in the 1852 diary,

9th June 1852At Home on Various matters Sheep Shearing 85 Pen Hogs & 8 Chilvers22 Do a very Wet day Pd Sheep Shearers 10s
10th June 1854At Home had my sheep sheared [103]
23rd May 1861At Home Sheep shearing 108 Sheep [91 Wethers and Seventeen Ewes]

As professional work waned sheep took up a large part of Martin’s time and there are numerous entries in the later diaries. A lot of it seems to have been spent driving them to and fro between Evershot and West Coker, presumably in an effort to regulate the grazing on his land. The following is only a flavour of the journeys he made with them although the first is enigmatic.

10th January 1852Attended Westwoods walking [sic] Sheep &c Arthur and Wife returned
3rd March 1852Went to Coker with my 80 Sheep – Dined at Mr Genges East Chinnock
1st April 1852At Home on Various matters Sent for 50 of my Sheep from Coker
31st May 1852Went to Coker and had home the 30 Sheep there
2nd August 1852Attending Turnip Hoeing at Westwoods &c Drew out 40 of my Sheep to sent to Coker
3rd August 1852Writing Letters &c And sent the 40 sheep to Coker [A Wet day] Fine in the afternoon
24th August 1852Do Had the 40 Sheep back from Coker

There is no note of him sending them back to Coker but in December he went to see them there. There were a number of incidental costs to keeping sheep,

3rd May 1852Gave Dolphin Groves Looking to Sheep 5s
17th December 1852Pd for a sheeps crib 3s
3rd April 1854Paid Mr Fox of Frampton for Four Sheep Troughs £1 12s
24th December 1854Paid for a Sheep Dog 5s

All too often they died or fell ill in mysterious circumstances,

14th January 1852At Home on Various matters killed a Sheep which was Fell broken

It is not clear what he means by “Fell broken” but it is probable that it is his name for the liver fluke. Stevenson gives a good description of “the flat animals that are found in the livers of rotten sheep” which were called locally “plaice from their resemblance to the fish of that name.” The entry for 14th September sounds a bit like country folk lore for superstition was still very widespread in rural areas,

13th March 1854At Home Had Moved my Cider Back from Summer Lodge -[a Sheep died]
14th September 1854[One of my Lambs died stung by some reptile]
15th May 1861[A Hot Day] At Home – Do One of my Lambs died

Although it occurred in a non-diary year there was “Considerable consternation..produced at Evershot…in consequence of the havoc being made by some ferocious but undiscovered animal among the different sheep flocks.” This beast had apparently killed numerous sheep and had caused “the different farmers and flockmasters to co-operate and as many as twenty-five have gone out on the search.” The animal was never caught but “Some of the more superstitious ascribe the deaths to the supposed evil spirit whose foot marks were recently left so extensively and widely spread in the snow at Dawlish and other towns in Devonshire”.23

One condition which was much feared was the giddy sheep. In 1861 he owned one.

23rd December 1861Reced for a Giddy Sheep 15s

John Claridge in 1793 described the ‘Goggles’ [sic] affecting sheep “the first symptom is a violent itching, which is very soon succeeded by a dizziness in the head, staggering of gait and weakness of the back” it was an invariably fatal disease and appeared to be transmissible to others in the flock. The disease was still present, although not so prevalent nineteen year later when Stevenson also described the intense itching and the way the sheep “reel around as if intoxicated.” Today the disease is known as Scrapie but there is still no cure.

Sometimes the sheep escaped from their pens and appear to have damaged other people’s land, although who David Lovelace was is not known.

4th November 1854Pd David Lovelace damages by my Sheep May 18th 1853 £1

The time came when the sheep had to be sold some as we have seen some went to the local butcher and it will be seen that as between 1838 and 1854 the price per sheep had not varied by more than two shillings.

23rd October 1838Sold Mr Trenchard 30 Sheep at 37s each
30th August 1854At Home on Various matters went to Ransom sold 7 Sheep to Mr Trenchard at 35s each and Tegg Flat Heifers at £17 each = £46 5s[all paid see 11th Oct]
10th October 1854Reced of Mr Trenchard for Two heifers and Seven Sheep £46 5s Pd Bill for Meat £3 10 7 ½ d

Usually however they were sent to the local fair although not always with success,

28th September 1854Attending Stafford Fair sold 80 Wethers to a Mr John Brake at £132 33s/ each a very bad Fair – Edwin went Shooting at ### Mr Patten slept here
3rd September 1861At Home selecting Sheep for Toller Down Fair
4th September 1861At Home marking Sheep
7th September 1861Attending Toller Down Fair [Did not sell my Sheep]

In the early years the sheep were driven along the numerous drove roads or drift-ways to these fairs but there is no record of any shepherd per se,

3rd May 1852Gave Dolphin Groves Looking to Sheep 5s
7th August 1854Attendg work People Marking Sheep &c
14th August 1854Pd Hitchcock dipping and Coloring my Sheep 11s

with the arrival of the railway habits changed,

5th October 1861At Home on Various matters sent 40 Sheep to Dorchester for Sale Pd sending 40 Sheep to Dorchester by Train 8s Pd Labourers £1 14s 6d
11th November 1861Sheep to Dorchester by train 9s

Finally after disposing of the sheep the fleeces had to be sold as well. The first entry comes from 1821 and is written on the inside of the frontispiece but it is not certain if it relates to his own wool or not since other entries in the same part of the diary refer to Wraxall.

82 Fleeces & Lambs wool at 1s per lb [imperial pound weight]
1 Pack 1 weight @ 29 lb

Mr Hine appears to have been a regular purchaser but who he was is not known

13th September 1852Reced of Mr Hine for my wool £18 19s chk on Stuckeys Cashed at Yeovil
1st August 1854Went to Ransom and sold my Wool to Mr Hine at 1s per lb
31st August 1854At Home on Various matters – sent to Coker after Sheep & Wool
18th September 1854At Home made out Valuation of Farmer Guppy Farm Hardington and [Mr Hine Packed my Wool] IN PENCIL My Two Wool Cloths No 10 & 11 to be returned by Mr Hine

Martin bought 99 sheep from Arthur Dibble a farmer at Woolcombe in 1854 and he appears to have left them with him to graze at Woolcombe, there being no evidence that Martin owned land there.

In 1861 he records sending his wool to Martock, then an important cloth manufacturing town in Somerset.

20th September 1861Weigh’d my Woolcombe 108 Fleeces 500lb at 16 ½ d = £34 7s 6d
21st September 1861Sent my Wool in 2 cloths nos 2 & 5 to Martock
2nd October 1861Reced of Mr Adams for my Wool 108 Sheeps fleeces at 16 ½ per lb £34 7s 6d

Aside from chickens which are not mentioned anywhere in the diaries the remaining farm animals that Martin kept were pigs. Throughout the diaries there are references to him buying or selling pigs. A few are given below,

7th October 1821Pd Thos Beater for Pig £1
31st December 1821Paid Robert Way for ½ a pig at 3 ½ d per lb 8s 9d
17th April 1827Paid for a Pig £1 9s
4th June 1827Pd for Two Pigs £2 18s 0d
5th June 1832Paid for Two Pigs £1 16s
31st December 1832Pd Mr Trenchards Meat Bill £20 17s 10d Reced of him for Pig Meat 19s 6d
25th July 1838Paid for two Pigs £3 10s
6th August 1838Received for a Pig £3 12s

There is one reference to the care of pigs, and several to their slaughter which he does not seem to have done himself, leaving it to John Christopher another local butcher. In view of the upset over Joseph Crew Jennings one wonder if the March entry had any particular significance?

7th August 1852At Home on Various matters Attending Building Wall by Pig Sty
10th February 1845Paid John Criss Killing pigs 7s
28th March 1854At Home – Mr Crew Jennings was Buried at Evershot -Killed a Pig 10s 16lb

If we are to judge from the diaries his diet in 1861 must have been almost entirely pork, although to judge from the first and third entries he was raising them to sell on as well as eat himself.

13th January 1861Reced J Cris for Two Pigs 15st 7lb at 10/3d Score £7 17s 3d
10th April 1861[Kill’d Two Pigs] 22 score 14lb
2nd October 1861[Kill’d a Pig] Reced for a Pig £7 10s 6d Pd for Two Pigs £3 4s

Horses were a vital part of Martin’s working life. He could hardly have covered the distances that he did without them. None of his horses are ever mentioned by name although there is this enigmatic entry, one can imagine that he might keep a favourite horse or dog in retirement,

23rd September 1861Pd Misses James for Keep of Old George £2 5s

Most of the entries relating to horses are concerned with the costs of running and maintaining a horse. Remember this was an era where the average annual salary for an agricultural labourer was about twenty six pound a year it can be seen that buying a horse was beyond the means of most people.

6th November 1821Reced of Mr J Jennings for a Pony £12 0s 0d
31st December 1832Paid Mr Templeman for a Pony £10 10s 0d Paid for Keep of Colt £5 10s 6d
4th December 1845Reced of Mr Geo Bucknell by Arthur Dibble for Horse £24
20th January 1861Pd Mr Trenchards Bill including £30 for a Horse £44 15s 10 ½d

In addition to the £1 8s 9d duty on a single horse [1845] there were additional ongoing costs of which only a few are shown here,

12th March 1821Pd for errands and Shoeing Horse 3s
15th May 1821Pd Curtis of Ransom Shoeing Horse 10s 4d
19th May 1821Put Pony on Ransom Hill Do
22nd May 1821Pd Andrew Groves for having my Horse Shoed at Bridport and Turnpike 3s
26th February 1827Paid Man looking after Cows and Horse 4s 6d Pd Shoeing Horse at Ransom 2s
5th September 1827Paid Mr Pouncey for a New Horse Brush 4s 6d
14th June 1832Paid Hay & Straw Mr Caines when on Permanent duty 5s Paid Mr Caines for keep of my Horse when measuring at Charminster 10s
17th March 1845Paid for New Pony Harness Horse Cloth &c £6 4s 6d

In 1832 Martin decided to buy a pony chaise, the duty on which was another six pounds a year.

9th July 1832Pd Mr Edwards for Green Cloth for Pony Chaise £2 15s 0d
26th July 1832Went to Sherborne Fair and had a Pony of Mr Helby on Trial
19th September 1832Doing a Little to Maiden Newton Allotting and went to Totnel Corner and bought a Pony cart
21st September 1832Met Mr Lever of Wimborne with Pony Chaise and returned by way of Dorchester and bought Edwin Home for Two or three days’s

By 1845 Edwin was in a position now to buy his own horse but dad of course had to go and collect it.

31st July 1845Went to Chinnock Arthur with me after a Horse Edwin Bought of Wm Templeman

Its not clear whether the pony chaise of 1832 is the same as the carriage of 1838 or the carriage of 1854. These sound more substantial than the chaise even though it/they incurred heavy maintenance costs.

12th February 1838Paid Stroud of Fordington mending my Carriage £1 16s 8d
13th September 1838Went to Dorchester Races with Edwin in the Carriage Dined at Mr Caines and paid him for 30 sheep
9th November 1838Mending Carriage 19s 6d
22nd August 1854Pd Mr Richd Hill for repairing Carriage £15 Pd Mr Chas Dowding for New Carriage Harness £8

By 1854 Arthur has acquired his own carriage,

2nd May 1854Visitation at Sherborne 10 O Clock Went to Visitation with Arthur in his Carriage

The family had come along way since 1827 when he had hired a coach to take his beloved daughter Eleanor to school.

6th August 1827Eleanor went to Yeovil School Mrs FrysPaid Eleanor’s Coach Hire to Yeovil 7s

If horses were an essential part of life they were no safer then than now and Martin records three incidents of falls from horses.

18th April 1845Sent Mr Ashleys Valuation of Fordington Went to Holywell to see Chas Jesty who met with an Accident from his Horse and doing Various Jobs in the Office
30th March 1854At Home on Various matters [Edwin left] Captain Digby had a severe accident [out Hunting]

In 1861 when he was eighty one years old Martin records falling of a horse himself. At the time it was not enough to stop him from going coursing but delayed shock must have set in [hardly surprising given his age] and it took him two days to recover.

26th February 1861[Had a Fall from the Horse] Went Coursing at Chantmarle with Arthur & Mr Wm Pope Dined at Arthurs
27th February 1861At Home rather Unwell
28th February 1861At Home Do

Accidents of another sort happened from time to time as in this entry from 1854, given the gestation period of a horse its a shame we don’t have the 1855 diary to know the final outcome.

2nd August 1854Attending workpeople in Nine Acres Tom Hows Stallion broke into my Field with my Mare

It does not seem that Martin was happy about this but on the other hand Claridge reported that stud fees were half a guinea [10/6d or 55p] a time so he might secretly have been pleased.

Country Sports

Martin was a man of his time and as such his leisure time was taken up by hunting, shooting but no fishing. His main leisure activity appears to have been Hare coursing. This first appears in the 1827 diary, the season for him beginning on October 6th when he “Went to M Newton and Sydling Coursing caught 8 hares and 2 rabbits”. He was off again on 3rd November when he “Went Coursing with Mr J J & Mr Coxwell and looked over the School Estate at Kingscombe”. It is also the first diary where he lists buying a game certificate for £3 14s 6d, a years salary or thereabouts for a servant in 1861 but very necessary since under the 1816 Game Act snaring a rabbit was punishable by transportation. His favourite place to go coursing was Sydling St Nicholas [judged by the number of times he went there] and perhaps not surprisingly there are more entries in the later diaries when he was not so busy working. In 1861 for example he started on 11th February “At Home went coursing [nil]” then on 26th -following the fall from his horse “Went Coursing at Chantmarle with Arthur & Mr Pope – Dined at Arthurs” and on 15th March loaned his dogs to Mr Pope whilst he “Went to Yeovil – my Dogs went to Sydling Mr Pope and others caught 3 Hares”. Things went quiet over the summer but in October33 he was back at Sydling again on two occasions and then finally in December he was at home when he went coursing one more time with Arthur and caught one hare.

Hares came under attack again when he embarked on a new sport which figures in only one diary, that for 1845, and that was beagling. In January, March April and December it was confined to “Went out with the Beagles” but in February he expands with a little more detail:

Feb 3rd 1845 “Making a Sketch of Net Mead and went out with the Beagles” and two weeks later

Feb 17th “Went to Batcombe resptng Poor Rate Expenses and with the Beagles in the afternoon.”

Beagling was not a cheap pastime as in January he had “Pd for Beagles ½ [presumably year] £5 7s 6d Mr C Jennings paid the other ½ “.Fox hunting [with hounds] did not seem to be a pastime he took up however although he occasionally went to meets, in February 1845 he “Went to Holywell & Saw the Fox Hounds throw off”.

Coursing seems to have been one activity that he pursued [no pun intended] throughout his life and shooting was another; the first entry was from 26 November 1827 “Went shooting at Holway with Major Wilson and dined At Mr Jennings”. Probably one of his cavalry friends but most of his shooting seems to have been directed towards pest control, principally rooks. Thus from 1832 “went to Woolcombe Rook shooting” and again in May 1845 “Rook shooting at Woolcombe”. After his shooting in May 1832 he may broken his gun as on

11 June 1832 he “Pd Mr Stocker for Mr Brown mending the lock of gun 5s. By September 1854 he had changed his venue to Chelborough.

He was also keen on horse racing although whether for itself or for the business opportunities it provided cannot be determined. The first record from 15th August 1827 records him sewing lettuce and then “Blandford Races making advertisement of private roads” [he was working on the Sturminster Newton inclosure at the time]. This would have been quite a journey to undertake from Evershot and is the only time he appears to have gone to Blandford for the racing ; the course was on the site which the army camp currently occupies. However he did stay over in the town spending a modest 4/6d on expenses. In 1838 we find him at Dorchester in September, “Went to Dorchester Races with Edwin in the Carriage Dined at Mr Caines and Paid him for 30 sheep £46 0s 0d”. In 1845 he had a high old time; on the 2nd and 3rd September he went shooting followed on the 4th and 5th by two days at Weymouth races.




Ports,Road & Rail

1This is an example of the chicken and the egg question. Blackstone notes that “All degrees of nobility and honor are derived from the king as their fountain” but then goes on “The right of peerage seems to have been originally territorial; that is, annexed to lands honors, castles, manors, and the like the proprietors and possessors of which were (in right of those estates) allowed to be peers of the realm” [My emphasis]. When he was writing only one Peer, the Duke of Bedford, had ever been deprived of his peerage by parliament and that was in the 1400’s when he was so far in debt he was “unable to support his dignity.” Blackstone wryly noted that although this proved that parliament had the right to act in such a way it was not an experiment they had ever been repeated.

2 In 1833 the county had to raise £32,751 15s 10 ½ d of which Evershot had to pay £77 9s 1d

3Although there was an excise officer of this name at Weymouth about this time.

4The Place Names of Dorset A D Mills part IV

5There are several plots in Cattistock known as Westwoods. All were originally owned by Henry Petty except plot 328 which was owned by William Trenchard. It is not known if John Martin owned all of these plots. Geographically Westwoods was actually very close to Evershot.

6Mills does not give any attribution to the name Yarnbarton. In other works of his however the prefix Yarn he attributes to eagles. Optimistic for Evershot I would have thought.

7There are two Henry Sandifords living in Somerset at Hardington Mandeville and East Chinnock both weavers.

8 Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries Volume 08

9Epidemics in Britain Charles Creighton 1891.

10English Farming Past and Present Rowland Prothero, Baron Ernle 1912

11A History of English Farming C S Orwin 1949

12Caused by the explosion of Mt Tambora in Indonesia in 1815.

13A castrated adult male used for wool production.

14Hardy Thomas, Far From the Madding Crowd 1874

15Ernle ibid

16Poor Law Commissioners Report of 1834 [the first Annual report of the Poor Law Commission].

17Village labourer ibid.

18All quotes in this section taken from the first annual report of the poor law commissioners.

19Ernle ibid

20A castrated adult male used for wool production.

21Ernle ibid

22 Chilvers are young female lambs but pen hogs simply means that the sheep were kept in pens, the term hog being applied as often to ewes as wethers or rams.

23Dorset County Chronicle 24 May 1855

24 Prothero R E [First Baron Ernle] English Farming Past and Present 1912

25It is sometimes called the three field system but this is strictly not accurate as one field could be divided into any number of parts.

26 Horse Hoeing Husbandry Jethro Tull 1731

27Anything [particularly vegetables] that may be eaten.

28Not of course that they knew it was calcium.

29Somebody once said that when a 600 kg cow is taken out of a field it takes 100kg of calcium with it [in its bones]. Unfortunately I cannot remember who said it.

30 Land Improvement in Scottish Farming: Marl and Lime in Roxburghshire and Berwickshire in the Eighteenth Century Robert A Dogdshon AHR vol 26 1978

31Loudon Encyclopaedia of Agriculture 1825

32Farmers Magazine volume 18 1848

33Typically the coursing season ran from the beginning of October to the end of February.