Bygone Times in Farming.

My Maternal Grandmother cherished family. She was also perceptive because she retained numerous old photos of the family, newspaper cuttings and various documents to do with her early contact with my Grandfather’s family who farmed in a small Hampshire village from the early 1900’s. This memorabilia was stored in a well-worn, now antique, bureau.
My grandparents lived with my parents until their deaths, for all of my siblings and my childhood. Grandmother lived until she was over hundred and one and all of us can recall various bits of information and names of people from her early years that she would talk to us about. Her bureau stayed on with my parents until we had to clear the contents of their bungalow on the farm in Wales at the end of their lives in 2002. The contents of the bureau was carefully loaded into 3 suitcases and it has lived under a spare bed until 2 years ago when I started to go through it all.
One interesting event I have unearthed was the sale of my Great Grandfather’s farm stock in 1921 when he retired from the farm he leased from the big estate in the village. A catalogue annotated with sale prices in blunt pencil of much of its contents had been carefully kept. It reveals a very different world to the farming of today.
The sale was described on the front cover as ‘Live and Dead Farm Stock’ comprising of ‘The Registered Hampshire Down Flock of 337 ewes and lambs and 60 Fat Wether Lambs, 6 Upstanding Cart Horses, 2 Well Bred Milk Cart Horses, The Prizewinning Herd of 32 Dairy Shorthorn Cows, 15 rising 2 years old Home Bred Heifers, a Pedigree Roan Bull, 3 years old, of which I have a photo so he was indeed highly prized. The catalogue goes on to state there was a large assortment of modern Farm Implements, Machinery, Tools, Harness, Milk Churns and Miscellaneous Items.
The Horses were listed by name: “ Derby” roan mare, quiet and good worker’ who made £38, equivalent in buying power to about £1845 today. A 6 year old bay gelding, “Champion” made £70, £3,398.25 today. Other names were “Flower” £71 (I have the photo), “Pom” a bay nag (elderly) gelding £29 and Bessie a brown nag mare £18.
A herd of 32 dairy cows was a big one in those days. All of them are named in the catalogue; roan cows “Curly”, “Myrtle”, “Rose” and “Granny” made from £60 to £66 (“£2900 to £3200). The bull made £179 around £8700. Poor “Ugly” made £15, so it seems was not so appealing! “Dumpling had a calf at foot and made £72.
The Titan Tractor and Cockshutt plough made £200, around £9700 today. The Shepherd’s Hut which from photos, resided in the poultry orchard field when not in use, made £10. There was also some surplus furniture and miscellaneous items sold unfortunately not detailed, but an Iron and wood bedstead and Child’s Crib is mentioned. Beds were often left to someone in a Will in those days as they were valued items.
Interestingly, if you look up the value of money in 1921 inflation was at -8.7%. Today it is 1.8%.
Jackie Brundrett

Taken @ 05:15 20 April by Maureen