Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wheat Clover and Coleseed

I was thinking what to post this morning on this grey November day and remembered I had a wonderful little book called "Seedtime & Harvest", the diary of an Essex farmer, William Barnard of Harlowbury.There are two entries on either side of today's date.
Nov 7 (1812)
The land is now more firm than it has been for some time. I have drilled 9 acres Upper stoney & finished sowing Wheat yesterday in Grassy piece, nearly the whole of which I have drilled & and have done 4 or 5 acres of my pea land over again; I fear Sweetendiness will be a very deficient plant. I had lodged 43 wether sheep in Hillyfield & last night 3 were slaughtered, the Offal left & carcasses taken away. I sowed 10 stetches of white wheat hither side of Nine acres & on the thirteenth stetch from this side began to sow 1 Quarter of Buncle Wheat I bought of Fresland. Grassy piece is now sowed with Day's Wheat except about three roods next to Woody piece.
Nov 10 (1821)
This has been a fine week since the 5 but on the 4 we had great storms of wind & rain. I have plowed at the other farm & carted haulm. My house was broken into & robbed of a gun,a coat, knives & forks, spoons, a desk and &c & without anyone being disturbed by them on the night of the 7th.

The spelling and punctuation are his.

I find it quite extraordinary that in both entries he reports he has been robbed as if it is commonplace and no more important than planting his wheat. In the first entry rustlers killed and took three sheep and and in the second his house was broken into and a substantial amount removed.
I love the way his farm is named so sensibly- Grassy piece, Woody piece etc.
I have no idea how much a a 'stetch' is or what 'haulm' might be. Any suggestions?
I think it's a pity Sweetendiness was a deficient plant or we might still have something with that wonderful name.
Fenella Miller
I now have four books with Musa Aurora Regency and 'Christmas at Hartford Hall' coming out in December and another one next year.


Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Interesting post, Fenella. I can't help with 'stetch' but, according to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, 'haulm' means the stems or stalks of such plants as peas, beans, hops, potatoes etc. especially as used for litter or, possibly, thatching.

Fenella Miller said...

Could 'stetch' be 'stretch' ?
None of the November entries mention snow - maybe weather was better then?