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1841 maps – Archive (4)

Analysis of Land Holding

Distribution of holdings

Ten people held more than 100 acres of land.
Six held between 50 and 99 acres
Ten held between 25 and 49
17 held between 10 and 24
27 held between 5 and 9
36 held between 1 and 4
193 held less than an acre

A complete list of occupiers with the total area held in 1841 is here.

Location of holdings

Figures 1 and 2 list the major land holders dividing them into more than and less than 50 acre holdings. There were now six outlying farms, shown on this map:

Richard Brewster, farmer with 118 acres, lived at The Holmes (Holme Farm).
Robert Harris, farmer with 55 acres, worked Brocker Farm.
George Harrison Jnr., farmer had 31 acres, on Grantham Road.
John Hutchinson, farmer with 259 acres, had Starnhill
Thomas Beet, farmer with 67 acres, was at [Lower] Brackendale Farm
John Horsepool Jnr., farmer with 76 acres. He still had a detached field over at Brocker. Not in census. His house is now the derelict Fosse Farm building (Moot Hill Farm on some later maps).

Other large land holders’ properties were distributed around the village, as they had been in the earlier post enclosure period up to 1776, to an extent mirroring the distribution of strips to achieve a fair division of land qualities. Some field boundaries had changed. Some larger enclosures were divided into smaller units, possibly to make grazing more efficient:

  • Bull Moor, Fell Dyke, Meadow Moor and Far Little Moor were divided into 22 new enclosures.
  • High Starnhills and Far Starnhills were divided into 5 enclosures.
  • Three or four smallish fields in what is now Spring Farm were further divided.
  • Four or five fields on Brackendale were similarly divided.

This map shows how some holdings were already concentrated into groups of fields but that many holdings were still scattered about the parish, particularly on the more productive southern lands. Their farmhouses were still in the town – Beauvale, Banks House, Newgate Street etc. John Foster (Banks House) had two groups of fields; three in pasture in the north of the parish and a mixture of arable and meadow on the southern slopes. William Pacey had a block of arable near the south west corner, a meadow on Nottingham Road, some pasture in the north and Crow Close, of which he owned the freehold. Lee, Skinner, and the others similarly held three or four groups of fields.

Figure 1

Major farmers
Surname
Forename
Acres
Hutchinson John
259
Foster
John
225
Pacey
William
218
Lee
Thomas
202
Chettle
William
159
Strong
William
133
Skinner (Farmer)
George
119
Brewster
Richard
119
Wright
William
113
Walker-Executors of
Samuel
103
Pilgrim
William
97
White
Samuel
81
Horsepool jnr
John
76
Beet
Thomas
67
Foster
Thomas
66
Harris Robert
60

Figure 2

Small farmers
Surname
Forename
Acres
Whitworth
Hannah
42
Bower William
41
Horsepool
James
37
Horsepool
John
37
Lowe
Rev. Robert
36
Crooke
Henry
35
Welch
John
34
Felton
William
33
Harrison jnr
George
30
Scott Arthur
27

 

This map shows the smaller farmers’ holdings (25-50 acres). Even with smaller holdings, the fields were often scattered; Henry Crook (also keeper of the Blue Bell Inn) and James Horsepool had the most scattered holdings. William Bower’s main holdings were in Whatton. The remaining smaller land holders (under 25 acres) are shown on this map.

The occupiers of series of small holdings in Brackendale along the parish boundary with Cropwell Butler to the north of Beet’s Brackendale Farm, are an interesting group, as most seemed to live in Cropwell and not Bingham. This was noted on the 1776 map also. Two, William Newton and John Barratt had ‘Cropwell’ after their name to distinguish them from Bingham tenants of the same name. Several others do not appear in the Bingham census of 1841 and a few names do appear but as agricultural labourers whom one might not expect to be in a position to rent land. None of the names appeared as possible tenants in Cropwell Butler, Tithby or Saxondale. The list is as follows:

Name
John Barratt
William Newton
William Willoughby
John Willoughby
Thomas Crampton
William Widdowson
William Smith
John Pilgrim
William Walker
Mary Cooper
John Davey
Village
Cropwell Butler
Cropwell Butler
Cropwell Butler
Cropwell Butler
Cropwell Butler
Cropwell Butler
Bingham
Bingham
Bingham
not found
not found
Occupation
Farmer
Farmer
Farmer
Farmer
Farmer
Blacksmith
Cabinet Maker and Nailor
Innkeeper
Seedsman

John Pilgrim ran the Royal Oak – later the Chesterfield Arms – and his only holding was at this far flung end of the parish. One can only wonder why he bothered! William Walker was a seedsman and one wonders if he grew his seeds on his five fields.

Size of holdings over time

Comparison of size of holdings since 1586 (figure 3) provides an interesting commentary on social change over the period resulting from the two processes of enclosure and urbanisation. The absolute numbers of holdings over 25 acres changed little (28 in 1586 and 1776, 26 in 1841). This is no great surprise; the point it emphasises is that the expanding population was crammed into an unchanging and relatively small area of land, resulting in the slums of the nineteenth century. Farming practices may have changed – the ratio of arable to grazing, mechanisation leading to reduction in the labour force etc, but the amount of land in production and the division of that land continued unchanged for over 300 years. Although the number of holdings over 50 acres did not change, the number over 100 acres increased after enclosure by the same amount as the decrease in number of holdings between 50 and 100 acres. This suggests that demesne land, after enclosure no longer farmed directly for the estate owner, was generally redistributed amongst existing larger land holders. By 1841 over half the land in the parish was farmed by just ten families.

Figure 3

Comparison of sizes of holding
 
1586
1776
1841
size of holding (acres)
No.
% total acreage
No.
% total acreage
No. %
total acreage
over 100
3*
37
10
51
10
55
50 - 99
14
40
7
20
6
15
25 - 49
11
20
11
13
10
12
10 - 24
3
2
13
8
16
8
1 - 9
6
1
51
8
61
10
under 1
6
~
43
~
305
1
Totals
40
100
135
100
408
100
notes
1 : * includes domain (443 acres) 2 : ~ = less than 1%

Land Use

The apportionment shows the cultivation of each field, except that instead of repeating the same entry for successive fields or even writing ‘ditto’, the clerk left the space blank. Thus we have assumed ‘ditto’ where this seems reasonable. We have used ‘unknown’ where the land occupier’s field is sandwiched between others and therefore it may not be reasonable to assume a continuation of their land utilisation on his property. This is shown on the parish map. On this basis, figure 4 shows an

Figure 4

Cultivation
Acres
%
Arable
1866
61.74%
Pasture
478
15.83%
Meadow
482
15.95%
Unknown
64
2.12%
Orchard
18
0.61%
Garden
61
2.01%
Plantation
3
0.11%
Other
49
1.62%
Total
3022
100.00%

approximate distribution of land use in 1841. Lowe’s survey in 1798 of the Vale of Belvoir suggests that a farmer might change from arable to pasture every six or seven years. This may have happened to the north west of Bingham which had a history of meadowland and moorland. The old moorlands might not have been suitable for such rotation. It may not have happened so much to the south on the better drained lighter soils. Our interpretation of the pattern of cultivation is reinforced by the summary at the beginning of the apportionment document which shows 2100 acres (around 70%) as arable and 823 (30%) acres as meadow or pasture – 234 acres more arable than we estimated.

The summary also contains an interesting table of crops and total titheable value:


Price per bushel
s d
Bushels and decimal parts
Total value (our calculation)
Wheat
7 0¼
1344.75965
£470.67
Barley
3 11½
2385.17895
£477.04
Oats
2 9
3433.21212
£472.07
 
7163.1502
£1419.78

The total value of tithes was given in the summary as £1416 4 shillings which is in line with the figures in the table. A similar table, but with different totals, was given in the tithe apportionment for Barcombe (www.bandhpast.co.uk/barcombe/b-tithe3.php). The Tithe Commutation Act provided for what we would call today index linking, using the price of the three cereals as the base. A tithe rate of £100 was divided into thirds (£33.6.8d) and the quantity of each cereal that could be bought was calculated on the basis of the current national or standard price per bushel. On the prices above this would give 95 bushels of wheat, 168 bushels of barley and 242 bushels of oats. This produced a figure known as the corn rent. In succeeding years, the new cost of these quantities of cereals could be calculated to give the new tithe. If for instance wheat went up by 10%, barley by 15% and oats by 20%, the new tithe rate would be
(7s * 10%) + (4s *15%) + (2s 9d * 20%) per £100 of the old tithe. The table presumably acts as a ready reckoner to allow the final step to be omitted by merely multiplying the new prices per bushel by the calculated ‘bushels and decimal parts’ to reach a new total valuation. The new tithes for each property would presumably then be calculated in proportion whenever prices had been deemed to have risen sufficiently.

The table is not an indication of crops grown or yields achieved. The raw figures in the table work out at about 3.4 bushels per acre. One web site (www.hartley-kent.org.uk/history/farming.htm) quotes 22 bushels per acre for wheat, 32 for oats and 28 for barley for Hartley in Kent for 1844. If a tithe was one tenth of the production this would allow Bingham yield to be about 34 bushels per acre and Barcombe about 32. Could it be that this sort of relationship underpins the choice of index, on the basis of nationally expected yields?

The presence of three windmills in the parish rather confirms this concentration on crop growing.


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