Books on Hertfordshire

General View of the Agriculture of Hertfordshire

by Arthur Young

1804 - reprint David & Charles 1971

Full text on Google Books

This is a detailed report of a survey drawn up for the consideration of the Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement. It contains very useful information on good farming practice of the time - plus some social commentary. One useful feature is that he names the farmers who give him information, as the following extract on part of the section on the growing of potatoes shows.

Chapter 7 Arable Land

Section X - Potatoes

More are planned in Sawbridgeworth and its vicinity this year than for many years past. Mr. Plummer, at Gilton, has a very luxuriant crop, in double rows, on six-feet ridges. Whole fields are set about Harlow [Essex], where Mr. Montagu Burgoyne informs me that he sold at a reasonable price to the amount of 500l. last year.

Mr. Byde gives a hedge-rein to several of his men, on which they plant potatoes. The land being old grass and rich, I found their crops very fine and luxuriant.

About Stevenage very few are cultivated, and even many cottagers that have gardens, neglect this important object.

Mr. Penrose, of Hatfield, has often sown wheat after potatoes, but very rarely gets a good crop; finding this culture, as I was informed, a bad preparation for that grain.

Mr. Cassmajor, at North Mims, has cultivated this root, and has had considerable crops, but he uniformly found it so exhausting, that he could never get such crops of corn after them as satisfied him; he therefore gave up the culture.

Mr. Marsh, near Hatfield, a very improving farmer, has cultivated this root for some years; he manures with horse-dung; plants chiefly the champion sort; and gets 500 to 600 bushels per acre. He has had good wheat after them, but better crops of Barley.

Mr. Newman, of Baysford, has fed cattle on potatoes, but as they were to watry, they would not answer; he therefore left off the practice.

Mr. Rooper, of Berkhamsted, has usually had four or five acres for fifteen years past; he thinks very differently from Mr Newman, and uses them raw for fattening beasts [cattle], as he assures me, with much success; for hogs they also answer very well. ...

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For another example see: The Economics of Straw Plaiting in 1801 

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At the time this page was last updated second hand copies of the reprint could be ordered online - expect to pay about 200 for first edition

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