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FIELD WALKING

ANALYSIS OF RESULTS

Skip to each of these headings in the text below:
Classes of material found
Disposal of waste
Night soil
Details of individual fields with high night soil rankings
Discussion of night soil
Unglazed red Earthenware
Red-bodied Black Glazed Coarse Earthenware
Conclusions

MODERN PERIOD

The convention in ceramics is to regard the introduction of the factory production of pottery during the middle of the 18th century as the start of the modern period. In the Bingham collection pieces of factory-made tableware that can confidently be attributed to the second half of the18th century are quite rare and for most purposes the Modern period here starts in about 1800.

CLASSES OF MATERIAL FOUND

Pottery from this period falls into five categories, which have been classified in the database as below:

  • China* – which is mostly factory-made tableware, but includes Chinese imports
  • Earthenware – which is generally mass-produced kitchen ware, but includes some sanitary ware
  • Unglazed Red Earthenware – mostly horticultural items, some of which may be earlier than 19th century
  • Salt-glazed stoneware – covering a wide range of kitchen and tableware.
  • Coarse earthenware – largely red-bodied black glazed, but including brown glazed coarse earthenware used mainly as dairy ware, but also in the kitchen.

* The term china has been used in the database, though more correctly it should be referred to as porcelain.

The best dated of these is china, about which there is an extensive literature on the styles, patterns, method of production and source potteries. However, for items that were probably kept in the household as “best” tableware, the interval between manufacture and breakage could be measured in decades. Sherds of the commonly used white wares, which might have had a short useful life, are very difficult to date. Among other finds there are coins, clay pipes, glass, ceramic tiles, various metal objects, oyster shells, slate and a large range of miscellaneous items, which to varying degrees can also be dated. Of these, clay pipes offer the best potential for dating events because the length of time between purchase and breakage could be as little as days and was always short. Major changes in bottle manufacture can be dated quite precisely. The appearance of Welsh slate as a roofing material post-dates the arrival of the railway in Bingham in 1850, when it became economical to use as an alternative to ceramic tiles. Writing slate, however, has been produced in Wales and widely distributed from the 18th to mid 20th century.

In the collection, china, earthenware and Unglazed Red Earthenware, with nearly 12,000 items, make up over 20% of the total. However, we have examined in detail and dated only the china and earthenware that was collected in the first year.

DISPOSAL OF WASTE

Population growth and migration to the urban areas during the nineteenth century and public pressure on Government to deal with a problem that was not only creating an unpleasant living environment in the towns, but was being increasingly understood as a health risk, led to the appointment of a Commission to look into the state of the great towns in 1844. This was followed by a series of Acts of Parliament to regulate the disposal of sewerage and domestic refuse. Chief among these are:

• 1847 Town Improvement Clauses Act legalised the discharge of sewerage into rivers and seas and allowed its sale for agricultural purposes.

• 1848 Public Health Act decreed every new house should have a water closet or ash-pit privy, which was to be emptied by a night soil collector.

• 1865 Sewerage Utilisation Act created sewer authorities and gave town councils and other health authorities the power to dispose of the sewerage for agricultural purposes.

• 1868 Sanitary Act enlarged the powers of the sewer authorities in relation to house drainage, privies and the removal of house refuse.

• 1872 Public Health Act required the appointment of a medical officer in each area, to be responsible for sanitation.

In Bingham the Vestry minutes gives an indication of how the town reacted to some of these changes in law:

• 20 Sept 1866 – 12-man Sanitary Committee was appointed.

• 12 April 1872 - Consider the report of Dr. Thorne H M Inspector of Nuisances.
(This office was established in the Public Health Act 1848. It does not seem that Dr. Thorne was a local man)

• 29 April 1872 - Reconvened from 12th - Agreed Dr. Thorne's recommendation (no details of what that was, but they formed another 7 man committee.)

• 27 March 1878 - Remuneration for the collection of the Sanitary Rate. Agreed £2.00

• 27 March 1884 - A committee of 7 ratepayers to bring to the notice of the Inspector of Nuisances, Medical Officer or Bingham Rural Sanitary Authority any sanitary business thought desirable.

The Poor Law Guardians for Bingham District became responsible under the Act of 1872 and sat for the first time as the Sanitary Authority on September 1872. A part time inspector of Nuisances had already been appointed. The authority proceeded to appoint the same man (Edward Arnsby) to the new full time position and Dr James Eaton as Medical officer of Health. Edward Arnsby was listed as Inspector of Nuisance in the 1881 census, but by 1889 the Trades Directory gives John Wilkinson as “Coal Merchants and Inspector of Nuisances”.

Prior to the changes in the law in the middle of the nineteenth century nearly all domestic waste disposed in towns was collected, sorted and recycled and, according to Herbert (2007), there was often very little left. Ash from coal fires was particularly valuable in brick making. In rural areas, however, the long-established practice of dumping rubbish either in pits in the garden or in dumps outside the village continued. The evidence from the field walking is that there were several dumps around Bingham and they were used up to the middle or late nineteenth century.

NIGHT SOIL

Perhaps the most significant are the Act of 1847, which allowed the sale of sewerage to farmers, and the Act of 1865, which gave local authorities the power to sell it. Night soil is a rich source of phosphate and when composted can also be a valuable soil conditioner. There is very little documentary evidence of it having been used in English farming. Macfarlane (2002) quotes several sources on farming in England from the 16th century onwards which make no mention of using night soil among their lists of fertilizers. In some early 19th century books the authors lament that this rich source of phosphate is being wasted. However, there is a degree of uncertainty here linked to ambiguity in the use of the term “dung”, which may not have been limited to animal excreta. There are references to the disposal of waste in Southampton in the 18th century where the word “dung” must mean night soil (see Herbert 2007).

Whatever trade in night soil might have existed in the early nineteenth century it was severely affected by the import of guano from Chile, which started in1840. Even the 1847 Act is thought to have had little immediate impact because it legitimised the disposal of sewerage into rivers and the sea. For many towns this gave them licence to tip directly into the waterways. At some time in the second half of the nineteenth century, possibly after the 1865 Act, trade did pick up again and the use of night soil as a fertilizer continued into the 20th century, only ending when most households had become equipped with a water closet, though Bell (1999) reports that there were remote properties in rural Nottinghamshire that still required night soil collection in 1998.

Where night soil is used in modern agriculture in the Far East and the Indian subcontinent it is common practice to compost it before it is spread on the fields. Records on how it was used in Nottinghamshire are scarce. In his account of farming in Nottinghamshire, Robert Lowe (1798) states that night soil was not a favoured fertilizer in the Vale of Belvoir, but elsewhere in the county he describes how compost heaps were built using night soil and “earth” to create a medium for soil improvement. Whether or not this procedure was followed in Bingham in the 19th century is not known. The clay pipe data from the sites of the 18th and 19th century dumps on either side of Moor Lane on Holme Farm give an indication that dumping village waste here had ended by 1870-80. The appointment of the Sanitary Committee in 1872 might have had something to do with this although their minutes do not suggest an organised collection of night soil nor its sale to farmers for fertilizer.

It is assumed that night soil spread on the Bingham fields would have been derived in Bingham. Records for the City of Nottingham (see Hammond 1985 and 1995) show that from 1867 night soil there was collected in tubs, taken to the East Croft depot on London Road and loaded onto council owned barges, which then transported it to a council wharf at Gamston Bridge to be sold to farmers for fertilizer. The farmers objected to there being too much extraneous material (broken pots and glass etc) and the barge trimmers were required to pick through the material to remove it – not too thoroughly, given the amount of china etc that still found its way to the fields around Gamston. Night spoil was also transported in council owned rail wagons and used on fields adjacent to the railway. (see Hammond 1985 and 1995). There are records of Nottingham night soil being delivered via the Canal to Redmile. (See Redmile Village Design statement on LCC web site) and the Bingham Sanitary Authority minutes record a nuisance caused by manure on the wharf by the A46 road in Cropwell Bishop. However, Henstock (1986) shows that in the middle decades of the 19th century the population of Bingham was close to 2000, which was probably large enough not to require a supply of night soil from outside the town.

Bell (1999) quoting other sources says that the ash-pit privy was used for the disposal of much domestic rubbish including clay pipes and broken crockery. The ash-pit privies were cleaned out once or twice a year, but when buckets were introduced in place of the ash-pits they were emptied and collected every week. By then it was common practice for solid domestic waste to be collected separately in towns and in Nottingham city this started in 1867. Bell gives accounts from residents of Nottinghamshire villages, however, where emptying the bucket was the responsibility of the householder, who usually buried its contents in a hole in the garden once a week. Farmers tipped the buckets onto the midden. There was no mention of how solid domestic waste was disposed of in the villages.

Without any direct evidence for the practice in Bingham it has to be assumed that the night soil available to farmers was both the material cleaned out of ash-pit privies and cesspits and the contents of buckets. The contents of the ash-pit privies and cess pits could have gone straight onto the land if collected at an appropriate time of the year, but it is not known how the contents of buckets, collected weekly, were treated prior to use. Most would have remained in use until the 1920s when the public water supply arrived - the midden at Bingham Police Station (Old Court House) was not filled in until 1925 when it was replaced with a water closet.

The minutes of the Sanitary Authority for Bingham for 1872-1881 do not record any payments for emptying ash pits or privies or any receipts for the sale of material. The committee frequently ordered extra privies to be constructed for some of the tenements (e.g. Wright’s Row) and for ‘nuisances’ (undefined) to be removed. Apart from paying for sewer repairs and disinfectant, the costs of dealing with waste seemed to have fallen on the occupier and was not covered by any of the rates then levied. All streets in Bingham had an open sewer, frequently reported to be blocked, and one can see the temptation to throw all kinds of waste into these rather than pay to have it taken away. The authority was responsible for sewer construction, maintenance and clearing. In 1872 the Pond in Fairfield Street was “filthy” - a sewer led into it - and it was filled in a few years later. Two other ponds had the same problem and solution. Typhoid fever and scarlet fever outbreaks were rare in Bingham but in September 1874 the authority ordered chloride of lime to be used in the sewers of Bingham. The Wesleyan School log book for October that year records that there was an outbreak of scarlet fever in the town. No information is available for later periods. One is left with the impression that disposal of night soil would be a matter for the occupier, and thus those that had some land might dump it there. Robert Hart’s accounts for July 21 1855 (before the page quoted in Victorian Bingham) reads “H Castledin led manure to the meadow”.

Methodology of analysis of the data
An attempt has been made to identify a night-soil assemblage of finds. It is assumed that it would include broken domestic pottery including china, earthenware and stoneware, broken glass, clay pipes, kitchen waste that included oyster shells and bones, and broken toys as well as the ash and cinders that would have been put in the privy. From these, five were chosen for detailed analysis. These are post 1750 clay pipes, oyster shells, 19th/20th century glass, stoneware and china/earthenware. The origin and dates of bones and teeth collected were felt to be too uncertain to be included. Although a few larger bones showed butchering marks and were most likely to have a domestic origin, most were too small to display such marks. Some may have pre-dated the nineteenth century, even be Roman in age and some may have been from animals that died and were left in the fields. Such uncertainties led us to exclude bones from the analysis of night soil. Cinders and coal, though a reliable component of ash-pit privies, could also have been produced by steam-powered farm machinery used in the fields. The miscellaneous items were too few for valid statistical analysis.

Two maps showing field boundaries are available, the tithe apportionment map of 1841, which also identifies owners and occupiers, and the 1883 six-inch to one mile Ordnance Survey map. There are few differences between the two. Those fields that had different boundaries in 1841 and 1883 were examined as an additional exercise.

The density of finds was calculated for each field for each of five categories - post 1750 clay pipes, oyster shells, 19th/20th century glass, stoneware and china/earthenware. The range in density values within each of the five chosen categories was statistically examined using the ‘natural breaks (Jenks)’ procedure, which produced four break values and five groups.

Various methods of comparing night soil densities between fields were considered. It was thought that any method that required adding up values of finds per hectare per field for each of the five find categories would give undue prominence to the largest assemblage (china/earthenware) at the expense of identifying the provenance of the mix. The Jenks method produced groups of ranges of finds per hectare per field. Each group was given a rank of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest). The rank for each of the five find types in each field was added up to give a score for the field. A field with the highest density of each of the five categories of find would give a score of 25. A function in ArcMap was used to colour-code the field polygons according to these scores.

The range in densities for each constituent of night soil are shown on maps (Figures 3.69, 3.70, 3.72, 3.73 and 3.74) as finds per hectare per field, but classed in the five groups identified by the Jenks analysis. Figure 3.71 shows the density groupings for bones, which were not included in the final night soil assemblage. To obtain an overall Night Soil Ranking the ranks (1 to 5) allocated to these groups for each find category in each field were summed. The resulting density map is at Figure 3.75. A high ranking for a field indicates high densities for a wide range of constituents of the ‘night soil’. A low ranking indicates low scores for a lesser number of constituents.

The results of applying this method are given in Table 3.5. For location of field numbers see Figure 3.75. The first four digits are the modern field number used in this project; the final letter identifies the 1883 field within it.

Figure 3.69. Concentrations of 19th century clay pipes by field on the 1883 OS map. Each colour represents a range of values. The ranges have been determined by the Jenks method of analysis (defining subgroups by natural breaks). The five ranges are ranked 1 (pale yellow) to 5 (red).

Figure 3.70. Concentrations of shells by field on the 1883 OS map. Each colour represents a range of values. The ranges have been determined by the Jenks method of analysis (defining subgroups by natural breaks). The five ranges are ranked 1 (pale yellow) to 5 (red).

Figure 3.71. Concentrations of bones by field on the 1883 OS map. Each colour represents a range of values. The ranges have been determined by the Jenks method of analysis (defining subgroups by natural breaks). The five ranges are ranked 1 (pale yellow) to 5 (red).

Figure 3.72. Concentrations of 19th C glass by field on the 1883 OS map. Each colour represents a range of values. The ranges have been determined by the Jenks method of analysis (defining subgroups by natural breaks). The five ranges are ranked 1 (pale yellow) to 5 (red).

Figure 3.73. Concentrations of 19th and 19th-20th C stoneware by field on the 1883 OS map. Each colour represents a range of values. The ranges have been determined by the Jenks method of analysis (defining subgroups by natural breaks). The five ranges are ranked 1 (pale yellow) to 5 (red).

Figure 3.74. Concentrations of china (porcelain) by field on the 1883 OS map. Each colour represents a range of values. The ranges have been determined by the Jenks method of analysis (defining subgroups by natural breaks). The five ranges are ranked 1 (pale yellow) to 5 (red).

Figure 3.75. Overall rankings of night soil. The scores were reached by adding up the individual ranks for clay pipes, shells, glass, stoneware and china for each field on the 1883 map. This method identified the 14 fields with total scores in the highest group of 17-22. No field had the maximum score for all five components.

Detailed examination of the fields
Table3.5 list the fourteen 1883 fields placed in the highest total Night Soil Ranking classification (17 and above). It also shows the number of closely dated clay pipes and glass fragments collected in each field. Both can be fairly closely dated in the 19th century, with clay pipe bowls to within tens of years. The date ranges covered by these finds can be an important clue to the date of the wider assemblage of finds. For example, the complete absence in a field of clay pipe bowls (and glass fragments) dated before 1850 might suggest that the majority of the more loosely-dated finds would also not be before 1850 if they were deposited in the field together. Comparison of clay pipes before and after 1850 suggests that the greater part of the deposition of night soil material occurred in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Table 3.5

Field
Score
Clay pipes
Before 1850
Clay pipes
After 1850
Glass before 1850
Glass 1850 –
1900
Glass
after 1900
Area
(hectares)
Land use
0007C
22
0
1
0
0
3
0.51
Meadow
8982I
22
0
4
0
1
0
1.80
Pasture
8793B
21
0
3
2
56
21
2.37
Arable
8589A
19
0
1
0
13
2
2.65
Pasture
8589B
19
0
1
0
5
2
1.92
Pasture
9392F
19
2
2
0
0
0
1.27
Garden
0208A
18
4
0
1
0
0
0.51*
Meadow
0208B
18
18
2
0
0
0
3.04*
Meadow
0292A
18
2
7
0
1
0
2.45*
Arable
0306A
18
10
2
0
0
0
5.04*
Meadow
1289A
18
0
1
0
8
3
1.08
Arable
9403A
18
0
0
2
83
14
4.76*
Arable
9608A
18
1
6
2
20
30
1.36*
Arable
1302B
17
1
0
0
0
0
0.68
Meadow

Note:- * indicates area of old field walked was less than original area because of loss through modern road/railway development, woodland shelter belts etc.


An alternative ranking method was applied to test the robustness of the Jenks weighting method. This was simply to list the fields is strict order (1-304) of ‘finds per hectare’ for each category of night soil. Fields with no finds in a category scored zero. The scores for each category were summed into a single score and the fields listed in reverse order of their score – the highest being those with the most night soil in each category. As with the first method, this method removes the bias towards high densities for a particular category that would occur by simply aggregating finds per hectare. This method (Table 3.6) produced broadly similar results to the first method, although the rank order of fields differed. Thirteen of the fourteen fields in table 3.5 appeared in the first fourteen fields in the second list; the top 12 fields were the same in both lists.

Table 3.6

field
score
index (score/1520)
8982I
1471
0.97
0007C
1452
0.96
8589B
1438
0.95
8793B
1438
0.95
8589A
1425
0.94
9608A
1419
0.93
0208B
1418
0.93
1289A
1408
0.93
1302B
1405
0.92
0208A
1400
0.92
0292A
1394
0.92
0306A
1393
0.92
9392F
1392
0.92
9392C
1365
0.90

Coal and clinker
Coal and clinker, mixed with the ash used in the closet, might be thought of as a typical constituent of night soil. Unfortunately, these items were not collected consistently by all field walkers resulting in a biased distribution to which the methodology used cannot be applied. As steam ploughing and threshing was used extensively in Bingham, it is possible that much of the coal and clinker collected resulted from these operations and not from household fire gates. Figure 3.76 shows the distribution of finds of coal and clinker. It is remarkable how many are located close to a field boundary, suggesting that in at least some cases these are clues to the temporary locations of steam-powered machinery. One field shows coal and clinker found only along opposing field boundaries, suggesting that it was deposited by steam ploughs.

Figure 3.76. Distribution of coal and slag/clinker. Some of the coal is partly burned. Fields showing no coal or slag/clinker may be due to collector bias.

Miscellaneous items
Various miscellaneous items that probably came with the night soil were collected, but not in great quantity (well under 100 pieces in the whole collection) and so were excluded on the grounds that ranking would give these a disproportionate weight in reaching conclusions. These included slate pencils, broken china dolls and figurines together with fives stones or snobs and marbles. A distribution map overlain on the Night Soil Ranking map is at Figure 3.77, which shows that the distribution densities tend to follow those for the overall night soil assemblages. Some of these items, however, were clearly of 20th century origin - a few were made of plastic. 35 bottle screw tops were collected, a number of which carried brewery names. A small cluster was found near what had been an anti aircraft gunnery position near Saxondale roundabout. One of the two groups of china marked with the NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) and RAF (Royal Air Force)) insignia was also found here. The rest of the bottle tops were scattered and largely found near or very close to field boundaries, perhaps suggesting they and their accompanying bottle were discarded by farm workers after taking refreshment.

Figure 3.77. Distribution of miscellaneous items overlain on the night soil rankings map. Bottle stoppers and pottery with the NAAFI or RAF insignia are shown separately.

Glass
Dating glassware produced a wide variety of different and overlapping age ranges, some as concentrated as 20 or 30 years, some two hundred or more years, which made analysis a challenge. In Figure 3.78 the glass dated 17th, 17th/18th and 18th centuries is plotted along with 19th century glass, which is divided into early, that is pre-1850, and late which is from the second half of the 19th century, often into the 20th century. Figure 3.79 shows only the late 19th century glass. The contrast in distribution of the early and 19th century glass is strongly evident from these maps. The early glass occurs in high densities in the area of the postulated village dumps and appears in fields that on other evidence were brought into arable cultivation from pasture in the 18th century. In most of these areas there is little or no 19th century glass. Areas that are difficult to interpret are Parson’s Hill and the fields immediately south and north of it. There is no evidence from pottery scatters that these were taken under cultivation in the 17th and 18th centuries, but they have wide scatters of glass of this age range as well as broadly dated 19th and 19th – 20th century glass (Figure 3.80).

Figure 3.78. Distribution of glass for all periods to mid 19th century, but including 19th century glass that has not been specifically tied down to a more refined date date.

Figure 3.79. Distribution of late 19th century glass.

Figure 3.80. Distribution of 19th-20th C and 20th C glass. Most of the glass dated as 19th-20th C post-dates 1870 and continued well into the 20th century.

The distribution of late 19th century glass shows a reasonably close comparison with the high value fields on the Night Soil Rankings map (Figure 3.74), particularly with regard to the fields along the Fosse Way. The comparison is even closer when the broadly dated 19th century glass is taken into account (Figure 3.80). However, there are two areas that do not conform. There is a particularly dense scatter of 19th century material overlying scatters of earlier glass throughout Spring Farm, extending into the north western parts of Starnhill Farm. It coincides closely with the distribution of oyster shells, a fairly reliable indicator of night soil. This area is mostly within South Field (as on the 1586 map) and was not turned into pasture in the 17th and later centuries. This evidence seems to suggest that this area has long been arable and has been fertilized using night soil for a long period.

The second area is the western end of Parson’s Hill. This was glebe land in the 19th century. One can only speculate that this was the site of the rectory dump.

Bones and teeth
It might be assumed that most of the bones and teeth found their way into the fields as kitchen waste scraped into the privies and then spread with the night soil. A close examination of the distribution, however, shows that this might not always have been the case. It is clear from the concentrations of bones and teeth in the fields on Holme Farm that have been used as the village dump that some of them may be slaughterhouse rubbish (see 0208A). There is also a high concentration of pig and sheep bones in modern field 9912 adjacent to the Margidunum roundabout. Among these are human bones and it is known that there is a Roman grave in this field. None of the other fields close to the roundabout have many bones. While it has not been possible to date these bones it is assumed that most, if not all, are Roman. Carter (2003) re-examined the faunal collections made by Todd at Margidunum and found that there were more sheep than pig bones there. This balance is reflected in the field walked finds. 50% of the bones are sheep and 44% are pig. Some sheep bones were also found in the fields in the southern part of Starnhill Farm that are thought to have been pasture from the 17th century to the mid 19th century. These are likely to be from carcasses of sheep left in the fields.

Although they were very few in number there are some bones that indicated they were butchered. Cut marks have been found and others have been broken to extract marrow. The fairly high proportion of teeth in the dump fields on Holme Farm is interesting. They are mostly from pigs and sheep. Animal heads were a cheap food in the 19th century, sheep’s head being particularly favoured, and it is likely that these teeth are from cooked heads.

Shells
Nearly all the shells found were oyster, though one or two cockle and mussel shells were collected. Oyster shells are regarded as a fairly reliable indicator of night soil. However, field 9912F, which is one of two fields with a particularly high density of oyster shells, is close to Margidunum roundabout and the shells there are thought to be Roman in origin.

Details of individual fields with high night soil rankings

Field 0007C
This field was farmed by Thomas Skellington in 1841. It was his only holding apart from his house in Long Acre and a 3.6 acre-close near the workhouse. Others occupied the surrounding fields. In the tithe apportionment it was described as meadow. The literature suggests that meadowland was manured predominantly if not exclusively by folding animals on it after the hay was cropped, which prompts the question “why is there such strong evidence of night soil here?” His house and garden were behind what is now the dentist’s on Long Acre. He does not appear in the 1841 census, but Ann Skellington appears, aged 25 as a Lace Runner together with a three months old daughter Frances. Thomas was a blacksmith, which might explain his need for a meadow, except that the two teeth collected there were from a cow and there was no metal associated with horses. By 1848 he had become a coal dealer. 16 brick fragments were collected along with 15 pieces of clay pipe and 11 oyster shell fragments (at 25 per hectare, this is the densest concentration; only one other field had more than 10 ph). The single piece of slag collected could have come from his forge. It seems likely then that Thomas and Ann kept a cow and used the field for grazing and as a domestic rubbish dump. They were not in the census of 1851. Whether the small holding continued with the next blacksmith (if there was one; smithies are shown on the 1883 map but not here) is not known
The field had the highest total per hectare of night soil in the parish. This is one of the fields in which the china has been examined in detail. Three transfer-printed pieces date from 1830 or 1840, while there is one that was made around 1850 and another 1890. The only closely dated clay pipe fragment is a part bowl made by Isaac Dance in 1860-1880. However, little of the stoneware is 19/20C, most being early to mid 19th century. There was little glass and none that could be firmly dated, it all being either 19th century or 20th century. This analysis seems to support the view that this field was used as a dump for private domestic waste probably throughout the nineteenth century. It is always possible that part of the field was used as a garden plot.

Field 8982I
This is the southernmost of a row of six small fields along the western boundary of the parish. All have relatively high night soil rankings, though only this field is in the top 14. In 1841 it was farmed by William Newton of Cropwell, who also held 8982J to the east which has a ranking of only 11, half that of 8982I. There is a similar disparity between the two old fields on the basis of total per hectare distributions, 248 fph against 71 fph. Tithe fields 771 (8982I) and 772 (8982J) were both shown as pasture in the apportionment papers. This seems to suggest a significant difference in usage of these two fields that may not be associated with crops grown. Perhaps it was merely a case of using the nearer of the fields as his private domestic rubbish dump, to be ploughed out at a much later period. Four dated clay pipes were recovered from this field, including an “acorn pipe”. All post-dated 1860. Apart from a single piece of glass that might be Roman and two that span the 18th-19th centuries all the remaining 101 pieces in this field are 19th-20th century. One embossed piece is dateable to the late 19th-early 20th century. Dumping here seems to have been done in the second half of the 19th century.

Field 8793B
John Horsepool jnr occupied this together with the rest of the modern field and some of the adjacent ones, a total of 10 contiguous old fields (63 acres), which display a variety of night soil rankings. This area included the old Moot Hill (later Fosse) Farm, which is shown on the 1883 and 1841 maps. These two fields are respectively immediately north and south of the old farm, suggesting the closeness to the farm may have led to their receiving a disproportionate amount of farmhouse and farmyard waste. These fields were described as arable. The farmhouse had an orchard attached, which if it supported some free-range pigs could explain the high density of pig bone around this area.

In addition to the house here he was also tenant of a homestead north of East Street but there is no evidence on the map of a house there. The fields here amounted to only 12 acres and were pasture or meadow. Thus, this is one of the early examples of a concentrated farm holding. Field 8793F had a similar score to 8793B but had no oyster shells, considered to be a firm indicator of night soil.

Although not all of the china has been examined three pieces with the NAAFI insignia were collected from 8793B and others that are definitely 20th century in origin. The only closely dated clay pipes post-date 1860 and include two late 19th century “Play up Notts” football pipes. Among over 90 pieces of glass only 8 are likely to be earlier than 19th century. Nearly all the rest could be closely dated as mid or late 19th century to 20th century. Field 8793B has one of the most clearly defined signature for the second half of the 19th century of all those examined.

Field 8589A
This, together with 8589E to the south east was farmed in 1841 by John Barratt of Cropwell. This field is adjacent to the Fosse Road, which would have provided access. Barratt’s adjacent field scores very low on night soil, leading to the likely conclusion that Barratt used the edge of this field as his private dump and did not spread it evenly across both holdings, both of which were described as pasture. The dated clay pipes include one attributable to the first half of the 19th century, seven that post-date 1860 and four with long ranges within the 19th century, which could easily be post 1860. Nearly all the glass in the field can be attributed to the range mid or late 19th century to early 20th with only six broadly dated pieces. Although there is a broad range of stoneware, more than half of it is late 19th to 20th century. Both oyster shells and slate were found in this field. The strong late 19th century signature is clear.

Field 8589B
This is immediately south of 8589A and was farmed by Mary Cooper who is not in the 1841 census for Bingham and whom we suspect lived in Cropwell Butler. She also had the field to the south east, 8589D, which scored 14 on the night soil ranking compared with 19 for 8589A. Both fields were pasture. As with field 8589A, this field is adjacent to the Fosse Way access. It shows slightly more evidence of spreading material than in John Barratt’s fields. Ten dated clay pipes were found, of which one fell into the range 1770-1790. The others are either long ranging through the 19th century or clearly after 1850. Of the nine glass pieces five are mid or late 19th century to early 20th and apart from a piece of a green bottle that could be any age there is nothing clearly dateable as earlier. Shell and slate also occur in this field. Like 8589A the assemblage is strongly attributable to the second half of the 19th century and into the 20th.

In 1841 Mary Cooper had three more fields along the boundary with Cropwell Butler. These were half of the 1883 fields 8982G and 8982H. The night soil rating for her half of the boundary field (Tithe no 766) was much greater than the other half (770) – 138 per hectare which would put it in the top half of table 2 - see table 3.7. If it were she, Mary Cooper would seem to have had a lot of rubbish, but again took it only as far as the field nearest the boundary – her other two fields have very low scores. Mary’s total holding in Bingham was 11 acres.

Table 3.7

 
No of finds Field 766
ph1
No of finds
Field 770
ph2
ph
difference
bone
1
1.25
0
0.00
1.25
pipes
18
22.42
6
7.37
15.04
china
39
48.57
34
41.77
6.80
glass
37
46.08
23
28.26
17.82
shells
0
0.00
0
0.00
0.00
stoneware
16
19.93
8
9.83
10.10
total
111
138.23
71
87.22
51.01

Field 9392F
This is a small area that was part of a plot of gardens or allotments, which stretched down to Nottingham Road of which the tenant was Rev Robert Lowe in 1841. They were described in the apportionment as ‘a close of gardens’. There were other plots in the parish (and nearer the town) described as gardens and shown on the map as a series of approximately equal plots of land with individual named tenants. Robert Lowe was in the vanguard of the Poor Law Reform movement and was one of the instigators of the ‘modern’ workhouse – Bingham’s was in Nottingham Road. He was a great believer in the poor helping themselves. It seems likely therefore that he let these small plots to needy but industrious (in his terms) families to aid self-sufficiency. Is it just as likely that they would have used their own night soil as manure. This seems to be supported by the content. Only two fragments of glass were picked up and they are both 19/20th century. All except one of the clay pipe bowls spans 1850 or post-dates 1860. Plentiful china but little oyster shell and bone were recorded, perhaps reflecting the low status of the gardener. The field yielded the highest density of stoneware; 76% of this is 19th/20th century, which is later than 1870. A fairly large number of unglazed earthenware sherds were found in this area, probably resulting from this horticultural activity. The density of clay pipes (72ph) was the highest in the parish – perhaps a feature one might expect of a garden plot! Unfortunately none of the other old garden plots were available for field walking.

Field 0208A
This is the northern half of modern field 0208 and was two separate similarly sized fields in 1841 but became one by 1883. Tithe field 424 was adjacent to Moor Lane, 423 to its west. Both parts were meadow in 1841 when William Wright, who was a substantial farmer with 112 acres, was the tenant. This is one of four fields around here that have been identified as possible sites of a village dump since the late 15th or early16th century. There are 12 closely dated clay pipes in this field: one has a range1820-1860, but all the rest are firmly in the 18th century with more later than 1740 than earlier. Of 106 pieces of glass only 20% are attributable to the 19th-20th century. Though dating is imprecise for earlier periods all the rest fall in the 17th-18th century range, which fits well with the clay pipe dates.

Although both parts of the 1841 field score highly on night soil, there is nonetheless a difference between the two tithe fields. An examination of the differences in night soil densities between tithe fields 424 and 423 is shown in table 3.8:

Table 3.8


field 424
ph1
Field
423
ph2
difference
bone
3
2.31
11
6.52
4.21
pipes
25
19.29
15
8.90
10.39
china
66
50.93
72
42.70
8.22
glass
14
10.80
9
5.34
5.46
shells
5
3.86
4
2.37
1.49
stoneware
7
5.40
20
11.86
6.46
total
120.00
92.59
131.00
77.70
14.89
 
area
1.296
1.69
83.91%

It is clear that there is less material in the western part (424), which is further from the access off Moor Lane. The comparative lack of bones in the western part is puzzling if bones are to be considered a standard component of night soil. Inspection of the finds record for each transect line suggest the differences may be more apparent than real. One line on the map crosses diagonally the 1883 boundary between 0208A and 0208B and must be subject to errors in map matching and surveying inaccuracies on the ground. Two transects were less completely populated than others, which may reflect collector bias.

The bones, which overall have a high density in this field, are evenly divided between cow and sheep. All the teeth are from sheep. The bones include cow shin and a pig’s toe, suggesting that they are the remains of cheap cut (shin beef and pig’s trotters), but there are sheep shin bone, a cow’s toe, a piece of cow horn, which might imply that the dump might have been used for slaughterhouse rubbish. Four pieces of possible human bone were recovered, which are difficult to explain.

Field 0208B
This is the southern half of the modern field 0208. It was farmed by George Skinner who held a total of 119 acres in the parish. It is one of the sites of the presumed village dump. It was unaltered from 1841. The clay pipes are quite unlike the field to the north. 22 are closely dated. One of them has a range 1680-1720. Of the rest 13 are within the nineteenth century with date ranges up to 1880 and not beyond. The remaining 8 are 18th century pipes spanning the century, but with most in the second half. There is no firmly dated glass, but the broad categories conform to the clay pipe data. 69% are 17th-18th century. 17% are 19th-20th century, the rest, 14%, fall within the late 18th to 19th century range. The stoneware also conforms. In 0208B 64% of it is 19th-20th century, while in 0208A there is only 9% in this age range. Oyster shells were collected from both halves of the field, but there was slate only in the southern half (0208B).

If dumping is the explanation for the deposition of the material in this field and 0208A then it started in the late 17th century in the southern field and lasted until the late 19th century, while in the northern half it seems to be confined to the 18th and early 19th century.

Field 0292A
This was arable and occupied in 1841 by John Crooke who was a butcher living at Holme Lodge, Long Acre East (or its predecessor). There is a collection of old outbuildings still present here – one could have been a slaughterhouse perhaps. He also had the close behind the house, now Perry Grove, where he might well have run stock. He had a total of 12 acres.

The construction of the railway line from Melton (now the Linear Park) in 1897 isolated this field from what was the rest of the original 1883 field. This triangular area, together with a narrow strip of a field to the south that was isolated by the construction of the A52 by-pass in 1988 makes up modern field 0292. Both construction exercises are likely to have had an impact on the finds in this field. The dated glass pieces are all late19th/20th century; the stoneware is nearly all 19th/20th century. One clay pipe bowl is 1780-1840, while the rest span 1850. Clinker, slate, slate pencils, oyster shells and a cat bone were also retrieved. Nothing distinctive was noted in the collection of china. No large animal bones were collected on 0292A (there is one marginally over the old field boundary) but there was a significant amount of oyster shell, which signifies domestic detritus. It is quite possible Crooke dumped and spread his domestic and business waste here.

Field 0306A
This was a single field in 1841 and was part of what we have identified as the village dump area. It was occupied by William Strong, a substantial farmer with 133 acres. It was described as meadow. The field lies to the south of 0208B. Among the dated clay pipe fragments two thirds are 18th century. The rest span the nineteenth century up to 1880. This a similar date range as for the field to the north (0208B) and confirms that dumping took place on the western side of Moor Lane for the same period of time. As in the field to the north wig curlers were found in this field. The glass is predominantly 18th century and there are no pieces that could be closely dated in the nineteenth century, though both slate and oyster shells were recovered from the field. As most of the closely dated glass is pre 1870 this seems to confirm that dumping here ceased around that time.

Field 1289A
This field is made up of two arable fields in 1841, but the distribution of night soil material is about even between them. The fields were accessed by an occupation road alongside on the western boundary. The occupier was John Sills, who also had a garden piece at what is now 29 Long Acre East and a house with a pig cote on the east corner of what is now Pinfold. He had less than 4 acres in total. It is surprising perhaps that no animal bones were collected on this field. The finds collection here were predominantly china and clay pipes. The clay pipe fragments are nearly all post-1750 stems. Only three could be dated. One was 1740-1750; two others are 1880-1920. Most of the glass falls in the mid 19th to early 20th century range, but a few pieces cannot be precisely dated and could be anything from 17th to 19th century. There are only two clearly 20th fragments. As in other fields the suggestion that the assemblage is dominantly second half of the nineteenth century is reinforced by the presence of slate and oyster shell.

The garden piece might have been a better target (and nearer) for ash pit (and probably pig) manure than just a small arable field. He did occasional labouring jobs for the Sanitary Authority probably cleaning out blocked sewers, the results of which may well have finished up on his field.

Field 9403A
This is an amalgam of four tithe fields (362, 358, 357 and 356), the last three of which were bisected by the railway in 1851. This may explain the peculiar shape of the resulting 9403A. It was farmed by William Strong (see 0306A above) but he did not have the fields to the east. It was all arable in 1841 and so would have benefited by the actual spreading of night soil.

Table 3.9

Field 356
ph1
Field 358
ph2
Field 362
ph3

bone
0
0.00
0
0.00
1
0.39
pipes
0
0.00
7
4.49
12
4.71
china
16
33.40
81
51.96
174
68.29
glass
13
27.14
52
33.35
60
23.55
shells
0
0.00
3 1.
92
26
10.20
stoneware
3
6.26
18
11.55
42
16.48
total
32
66.81
161
103.27
315
123.63

Table 3.9 suggests an uneven spread of material in this field. The rate of deposition reduces southwards from 362 to 358 to 356. Tithe field 357 is ignored, it having only one find in its very small area. There is neither bone nor shell in the southern part, though both are present in the northern part. It is possible that the bone in the fields is as much from dead animals left in the field as from night soil. There are only four dated clay pipe fragments and they are all from the second half of the 19th century. However, there is a considerable amount of glass and this is predominantly late or mid nineteenth century onwards to early 20th. There is some that cannot be as closely dated, including a small number that at best can be ascribed to the 17th-19th century. 58% of the stoneware dates from the late part of the nineteenth century.

Field 9608A
This field and the next, 9506B, surround the present Fosse Road Farm on the A46, north of the Saxondale roundabout. The tithe map and the 1883 map both show a set of buildings just north of the present bungalow. The fields were arable.

9608A and B were occupied in 1841 by George Hill, the tenant of this farm,. He had six acres in total. He was described as a cottager in the 1841 census and his address was Bingham Road Toll Bar; its position is fixed by the tithe map (plot 373). But the census shows a second household with that address. The second has to be the toll keeper’s cottage at the junction of Fosse Road and the old Chapel Lane. In 1861 the address given for George’s widow was Old Fosse Road. The only cottage mentioned in 1871 was the toll cottage; perhaps Ann had died and the Hill’s cottage was unoccupied (although this would normally be stated on the census). By 1881 a Hill was back in residence – Thomas, a blacksmith with son George a carrier, who might have also been a night soil collector. The address now was Toll Bar, Fosse Road. There were two other cottages – Fosse House (Victorian Bingham, p76, suggests this was the old toll cottage) and Brown’s Barn House. George was still here in 1891 (‘Fosse Road’) and 1901 as a farmer living at ‘Hill’s House’. By this time the third house was ‘Fosse Farm’. Although the maps do not appear to show two houses here it seems more than likely that they were at this location and therefore possibly responsible for much of the night soil, maybe supplemented by the George the carter’s, activities as a part time night soil collector. Hill ran a piggery, which in the 1870s was deemed a nuisance and was forcibly closed by the Sanitary Authority in 1873.

Of seven dated clay pipes one falls in the 1820-1860 range, while all the others post date 1850. Nearly all the glass found dates from the mid 19th century to modern. A few could not be ascribed to better than 19th-20th century or 17th-19th century. The stoneware, however, is fairly long ranging with dates of 18th-19th to 19th-20th centuries. Shell and slate were both collected from here. Surprisingly there were no bones, but teeth from a cat and a sheep. Like several other fields this one shows a dominant night soil assemblage from the second half of the 19th century, but with evidence of earlier deposition

In field 9608A the heaviest night soil rankings are for the fields alongside the road/house. The fields beyond were in the third highest rating class, so again the manuring activity did not penetrate far into the hinterland. The fields near the road had oyster shells, the others did not.

Field 1302B
This was occupied by Samuel Wilson as meadowland in 1841. He had a total of only 6 acres, including his house on East Street, which lay across the modern junction with Rutland Road. He had a two-acre close behind which is now the area occupied by the houses on the west of Rutland Road as far as the railway line. Samuel Wilson was a wheelwright. Field 1302B lay some way from his house, access being directly from the end of Cogley Lane. In a small collection of mainly post 1750 clay pipe fragments only one could be dated and that was a commemorative pipe for George III dated 1790-1800. The glass collection is also small, but contains 17-18th century fragments as well as 19th-20th century pieces that have not been more closely dated. Stoneware is similarly long ranging, though 89% of it is late 19th –20th century. No slate, shell or bone was found in this field.

Field 1302 and the eastern part of 1002 to the west have a long history of isolated high concentrations of finds. The fields are within what was East Moor in 1586 and were used for grazing until quite recently. However, small clusters of 17th and 18th century pottery here seem to suggest that some dumping was taking place and the evidence of the night soil assemblage is that it continued into the late 19th century.

DISCUSSION OF NIGHT SOIL

There are a number of common factors in the analyses of the 14 fields:

  • Five of the 14 fields were arable and eight were pasture or meadow; one was garden strips. Given that farmers around Gamston complained to Nottingham Council about the amount of pottery and glass in the night soil from there, it would seem unlikely they would willingly spread it where animals were likely to ingest it or tread on it. Two explanations for the high content of night soil in the fields classed as meadow or pasture seem possible. Either it was dumped there and spread by ploughing later in the field’s life or land use changed regularly.
  • In 1841 six fields were rented by tenants who had no or few other fields (up to a total of 15 acres), two or three were farmed from Cropwell and the remainder were occupied by larger farmers (over 30 acres).
  • 13 fields were alongside a track or road shown on the contemporary maps (and one, 1302B, only 80 metres away across one field), suggesting that ease of transport was a key factor in determining where to dump night soil. In several cases the adjacent field occupied (in 1841) by the same tenant showed a much lower distribution of night soil. Whether the ‘manure’ was then spread or whether this has occurred through later ploughing is not known. What it does suggest perhaps is that those who had some land took the opportunity of dumping their waste there rather than at home.
  • The five elements of the night soil assemblage are present in most of the fields. There are, however, some interesting variations.
    • Field 9912F was not in the top fourteen but had the second highest density of oyster shells (15.4 per hectare). It had almost no glass, china or stoneware and a middling density of clay pipes (16ph). It was a meadow leased by Hannah Whitworth of the Kings Head Inn – might the oysters have been served to guests and the shells part of the kitchen waste which was then disposed here? It is the northern part of a field that yielded very high densities of Roman pottery, so the shells might belong to that assemblage, but the other parts of that field yielded virtually no shells at all. The area of shells corresponds quite closely with the area of high density of bones in this field too. Possibly these would also be kitchen waste. The question is Roman or Victorian?
    • In field 9392F, which was used as garden strips, there are only two pieces of glass, which suggests that some hand sorting may have happened. It also recorded the highest density of clay pipes.
  • Where dating evidence is precise the majority of the closely dated items fall in the second half of the 19th century or later, suggesting that much of the material was deposited after rather than before 1850. However, many of the fields do have a scatter of earlier material and this applies whether the field was pasture or arable in 1841. One possible explanation is that most villagers dumped the content of their ash-pit privies and cesspits on the village dumps in fields 0208, 0306, 0409 and 0507 up to around 1870 or 1880, the date of the most recent clay pipes found in these fields. It is possible that changes in regulation made it necessary for householders to find other ways of disposing their waste after this time. Thus the earlier solid domestic waste found in the fields probably came there in farmyard manure. The solid waste dating from the second half of the 19th century, however, which is in much higher concentrations than earlier material, may have got there primarily in night soil.
  • The occurrence of coal, cinders and clinker has been recorded in many of the fields. This material was not always picked up, so where it is not recorded it cannot be assumed to be absent. This material may have been included in night soil or may have been waste from steam engines used for agriculture.
  • Many of the fields have fragments of slate. Mostly it is Welsh roofing slate, but two pieces of writing slate and 39 slate pencils were found. The almost ubiquitous presence of roofing slate puts a firm date on its deposition because it was not used here until after the railway made it cheap to transport it from Wales. However, as it is not included in the night soil assemblage, this says nothing about the date of those assemblages.
  • The five elements of night soil used in this analysis are fairly widespread in the parish. Oyster shells were recorded in 112 of the 1883 fields (See Figure 3.70), including some that were more than 10 hectares. The fields are widely scattered but with some large areas free of them. These, in modern terms, are SE Spring Farm, much of central Brackendale Farm, Brocker Farm, all the central and southern part of Starnhill and much of Parson’s Hill and the fields to the north west of it. This distribution could be explained if these areas were dominantly pasture. But there is also an implication here that night soil was widely used as a fertilizer on arable land in the parish in the later parts of the nineteenth century.

    Figure 3.70. Concentrations of shells by field on the 1883 OS map. Each colour represents a range of values. The ranges have been determined by the Jenks method of analysis (defining subgroups by natural breaks). The five ranges are ranked 1 (pale yellow) to 5 (red).

UNGLAZED RED EARTHENWARE

Most of the Unglazed Red Earthenware sherds are from plant pots, some quite large, but insufficient is known about them to put a date to any of them. Though some are definitely 20th century many could be as old as the 17th century. Other uses for Unglazed Red Earthenware are for bread baking tins and some kinds of chemical containers, both of which may have been present in Bingham.

As with the night soil assemblage the finds density for each 1883 field was calculated and ranked. The top 12 were selected for further consideration. These are shown in Table 3.10. Four of them feature in the ‘top 12’ list at Table 3.5, but not in the same ranking order. Four are in adjacent fields. Small landholders occupied eight and five were grassland in 1841. The distribution of finds is shown in Figure 3.81, compared with the overall night soil rankings.

Table 3.10: the 12 highest density fields
with Unglazed Red Earthenware

Old Field
No of Finds
per hect

Land use
0007C
9
16.98
Meadow
0292C
1
16.67
Arable
1583C
3
14.28
Arable
9403A
59
12.39
Arable
9392G
2
11.11
Garden
9912H
2
10.53
Waste
1695A
25
9.96
Arable
9912G
4
9.75
Waste
0004C
11
9.73
Arable
8793B
21
8.86
Pasture
9403B
12
8.75
Arable
1803K
4
8.00
Meadow
8982I
12
7.59
Pasture
1302A
4
7.02
Meadow

Two questions that these findings provoke are these:
• Is Unglazed Red Earthenware a component of night soil?
• Was the night soil used preferentially on market garden plots?

The highest density of Unglazed Red Earthenware is in 1883 field 0007C, which has had a long-standing unique identity within modern field 0007 on Chapel Lane. The next two are 0292C and 1583C, which do not feature in the top 14 night soil rankings. Two high value fields, 9403A and 9403B, are at the south end of Whinhill, and 9403A was in the top 14 night soil fields. 1695A adjoins an un-walked field that used to be part of a nursery for many years. It is also on the top 12 list. 8793B is north of Fosse Farm and is in the top 14 for night soil rankings.

Although some (4) high distributions coincide with high night soil rankings they are not in the same order. Many more fields have high Unglazed Red Earthenware rankings and low night soil. This suggests that Unglazed Red Earthenware is not a component of night soil. The predominance of smallholders among the tenants might suggest the more common origin of this material was horticultural use rather than night soil. Smallholders would be more likely than farmers to grow vegetables for home consumption and perhaps to start these off in pots before planting out on their small holding.

RED-BODIED BLACK GLAZED COARSE EARTHENWARE

Evidence presented in the discussion of coarse earthenware in the 18th century section suggests that red-bodied coarse earthenware is most likely to be predominantly a 19th century fabric and in two of the top 14 fields for night soil the only coarse earthenware is red bodied. The overall distribution of red-bodied coarse earthenware (Figure 3.82), however, while it shows some comparison with the night soil, (notably both are high along the A46 and along the western parish boundary), is not so close that it could be regarded as a component of night soil. There is a possibility that because much of the red-bodied coarse earthenware was used in the dairy and farmhouse it came into the fields with farmyard manure and rather less with domestic waste from kitchens in the village houses.

CONCLUSIONS

  • Evidence from the literature seems to indicate that the use of night soil as a fertilizer was not widespread anywhere in England before the second half of the nineteenth century.
  • Documentary evidence shows that by the 1860s the collection of night soil and its disposal by selling it to farmers was well organised in Nottingham city. In Bingham it seems more likely that disposal was the responsibility of individual occupiers.
  • There seems to be an association of stoneware, china, clay pipes, glass and oyster shells in many fields, where the dominant age group for the stoneware, glass and clay pipes is from the mid 19th century to early or mid 20th century. This is interpreted as a night soil assemblage.
  • Bone, though a likely component of night soil, might also originate from carcasses left in the fields and in one field it quite possibly is Roman in origin and has not been used in calculating night soil rankings.
  • The distribution of oyster shells, found with low densities of the other elements of the night soil assemblage, is widespread, which may suggest that the use of night soil as fertilizer also was widespread. Large blocks of land where there are no oyster shells may have been long-term pasture, which suggests that pasture was probably fertilized preferentially directly by stock.
  • Some of the fields that have no oyster shells have very low densities of the other components of night soil. It is considered that these arrived in the fields with manure spread on pasture to enrich it when this became the practice and is mainly derived from the farms themselves.
  • All the high-density night soil assemblages are close to roads, many in small fields alongside a road. It is thought that these were probably originally dumps of night soil and other domestic waste put in the corner of a small field by small landholders using these fields for the disposal of their domestic waste. Two of the fields were rented by men known to be carriers or to have worked for the Sanitary Authority. These dumps only later came to be spread about by ploughing.
  • The fields (0208, 0306) identified as sites for the village dump since the late 17th century continued to receive the contents of ash-pit privies until after the fields came under single tenancy some time between 1776 and 1841. There are high concentrations of night soil assemblage with dateable items up to 1880 only in modern field 0306 and the southern half of 0208. This suggests that dumping continued there by some sort of agreement with the tenant until 1870-80, when it stopped.
  • Welsh slate is often associated with the high concentrations of night soil, but is not thought to be part of the basic assemblage. Cinders are part of the assemblage, but have been inconsistently collected and may also originate from steam-powered farm machinery.
  • The proportion of glass in the assemblage varies and suggests that glass might have been disposed by more than one method. In the garden plots (9392F) it appears to have been picked out. In most of the parish it is less than 3 finds per hectare, which seems to suggest that where night soil was directly applied the levels of glass were low, again possibly because it was picked out. The highest levels are in fields that it is thought were used by the tenants to dump their own night soil and domestic rubbish. Only many years later was it spread by ploughing.
  • The start of widespread use of night soil as a fertilizer can be dated within the second half of the 19th century, but it is not possible to put a date on when it finished, though it is likely to be some time in the first half of the 20th century.
  • Red-bodied Black Glazed Coarse Earthenware is the dominant coarse earthenware fabric type in only a small number of the fields with a strong night soil assemblage. This suggests that the coarse earthenware might not always have been a part of the night soil assemblage and may have been deposited in the fields separately with farmyard manure.
  • There is a coincidence of high values of Unglazed Red Earthenware with high night soil densities in only four fields. This suggests that Unglazed Red Earthenware is not a component of night soil. The presence of high levels of Unglazed Red Earthenware is small fields suggests either that some of these fields may have been used for horticulture or the tenant was involved in horticulture at his or her home plot.

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