East Meon farms
We do not have figures specific to East Meon in the mid-19th century but evidence from a variety of sources tells us that a labourer could earn 8/- a week, with an extra 6d at harvest time – and if he worked regularly (which few did) could earn a maximum of £20 a year, or £2,500 at today’s rates. A farmer would probably pay £1. 2s 6d in rent for an acre of arable land, and 2/6d in tithes. By 1850, the wheat yield had risen to 30 bushels an acre. The chart below shows how the price of grain fluctuated dramatically: crops were worth between £5.0.0 and £7.10s an acre.
As we have seen, the Tithe Apportionments provide comprehensive information on land ownership and usage. Two weeks later, on 30th March, the 1851 census was conducted which provide more details of the entire population, the occupations of the heads of households and everyone who lived there. Helpfully, farmers were asked to list the acreage they farmed and the number of men they employed. Combining these two sources allows us to present a series of maps of who farmed which piece of land in East Meon and the number each farmer employed.
From a land tax survey, also conducted in 1851, we can list the farmers who paid the most tax out of a total East Meon figure of £316.
. First comes the Hon Thomas Gage of Westbury – Viscount Gage, who paid tithes on 1229 acres to his father Lord Gage; he paid £41 (£5,441 in today’s money), followed by another of Lord Gage’s tenants, William Ray of Riplington, who paid Lord Gage tithes on 966 acres and Land Tax of £40. Then came John Rake of Bordean who paid tithes on 349 acres and £31 in land tax, and Robert Berryman of Langrish, 206 acres £21. John Christmas of Hilhampton farm in Oxenbourne had secured tithes on 572 acres (and farmed 392 acres at this stage) also paid £21 in land tax. The other large Oxenbourne farmer, William Weeks, paid tithes on 592 acres but did not pay tax.