I tend only to think of it at the beginning of autumn – especially if I'm writing a Regency – which I am at the moment.
Harlowbury Farm was part of the parish of Harlow. The soil was gravel overlying London clay. It comprised of around 400 acres with about 250 acres in arable production.
This is what William Barnard wrote in his diary on September 9, 1820:
We had a very fine week & I have finished my harvest this day. I have been obliged to make great exertions to do it having kept three forks always pitching and some days
four . . . the barley carting was almost endless, two forks beginning at eight in the morning could not cart a large part of it.
I carted the mud out of horse pond on Little Townfield some weeks ago & did about 3 acres with it. I have been carting mud the whole week from Rushy piece pond on 18 acres Lower Stoney & manured about 2 1/2 acres with it.
This year the weather was appalling throughout Europe because of a volcanic eruption in the Far East. This meant harvests everywhere were poor. Strangely when he had a good harvest and the barn was full it wasn't all good news because the price of grain fell as there was a glut.
September 17, 1814
I completely finished my harvest on the 12 but had a full days work; I never began harvest with more fear on account of the great bulk of the corn, by very great excursion & hiring Prior's wagon & 2 horses & retaining some of the acre mentally end of the harvest I have got through beyond my expectation.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into a farmer's life in Essex. No doubt I shall tell you more about William Barnard next September.
Fenella J Miller