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South & Lower Farms

South & Lower Farms provide a detailed picture of farms in the second half of the 19thcentury: census books list the people who farmed and lived there, sales particulars provide descriptions of the buildings and the land, and crop records record how the land was cultivated in the 1890s.

Sale of South Farm 1890


First, the census figures. Samuel Padwick farmed 580 acres of South Farm in 1851 and by 1861 farmed 1165 acres including Lower Farm, employing 17 labourers and 9 boys. He died in 1878 and his widow Jane is recorded in 1881 as farming farmed 881 acres at South Farm, employing 7 men and 4 boys, while George Darvill, from Berkshire and only 27 years of age, now farmed 1,000 acres at Lower Farm, employing 14 men and 6 boys; the 1891 census shows that George Darvill living at South Farm, and was responsible for both farms. He also managed Court Farm

The Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England had put South Farm and Hyden Wood up for sale in 1890, describing them as ‘Capital Down Land and Hyden Wood, a Celebrated Fox Covert together containing about 916 acres 3 roods and 32 perches with possession on completion of the purchase’. South Farm described as ‘A good Sheep Farm with … Productive Arable and Grass Lands, and Water Meadows. At this point, ‘The property is in the possession of Mrs Padwick, whose tenancy expires at Michaelmas 1890’. Sporting facilities were evidently high on the list of attractions: ‘Hunting and Shooting Rides intersect the same. The Hambledon Hounds Hunt Four Days a week … and Mr Barnard’s Harriers have constant Meets.’

South & Lower Farms Cultivation Records, 1893 – 1898

George Darvill kept a Cultivation Record of Lower and Upper Farms for five years from 1893, which provides a glimpse of farming methods in the valley at this time. He recorded the treatment of each field year by year, with details of the crops and the number of times it was ploughed, mown, harrowed, dragged or rolled.

Record of cultivation of one field: ‘Spent Hill’ 1893 – 1898

Spent Hill
Mixed seeds after barley, part dunged and part folded
Cut twice
Mixed seed after barley
Part mown, part folded
Oats, 1 roll the other half ploughed & drilled
6 harrows 1 roller
Half of field, couched & drilled with swedes & turnips
3 ploughs & half 2 ploughs & 4 drags
Sown with barley & 15 acres put in with sanfoin, superphosphates
Spent Hill (part)
17a 2.0
Drilled with swedes and super
2 ploughs 6 harrows

Most of the uses to which other fields on the farm are included here … the main crops were oats, barley, turnips and swedes; other crops mentioned are: 

Alresford Stones, 1894: ‘bunged for wheat after Bent Ley …’’;
Thistle Field 1894: ‘Italian rye cut’;
Upper Wheat Hill, 1893:‘green round turnips after wheat fed off with cake and hay’
Little Dean Field, 1896:‘Put in with rape, (failed) 2 drags & put in with mustard and sown with wheat’
Lower Twenty Acres 1894:‘Wheat (after two years’ ley) Halletts Pedigree, 1 acre. Potatoes Golden Drop Red

Although this large field was divided up, the record for Spent Hill gives an indication of the pattern of rotation: first, part barley followed by ‘mixed seeds’, one part dunged and another manured by sheep being ‘folded’; in the second year, part oats, the other fallow; in the third, couch grass in followed by swedes and turnips; in the fourth, pasture in part of the field with superphosphates as fertiliser, barley in the rest, in the fifth, swedes and more fertiliser. Pasture was carefully tended – apart from sainfoin (lucerne) and couch grass, other forage is mentioned:

 Alresford Stones, 1899: ‘vetches fed. 1 roll drilled with turnips’
Little Dean Field 1893: ‘Two years mixed ley, part cut, folded all over’
Great Deans Field 1989; ‘8 acres trifolium (trefoil) after oats’
Nineteen Acres 1895: ‘Clover ley (after oats)

Darvill’s workforce of 20 men was kept busy ploughing, harrowing, rolling &c, all detailed in the Cultivation Record. Activities listed in other fields include:

Lower Twenty Acres, 1894: ‘Threshed from field, yield 65 sacks head and tail from machine, 63 lbs natural weight’
Upper Twenty Acres, 1895: ‘Steam cultivated &c’

Before 1901, Darvill moved to Court Farm with his second wife and three children and we shall re-join South and Lower Farms in the next century, when they form part of the ‘Cumbrian Migration’ and are taken over by farmers from the north-west taking advantage of much lower rents in East Hampshire than in the Lake District.

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