Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 63, 1830-1831. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].
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Die Mercurii, 8° Decembris 1830.
The Marquess of Salisbury in the Chair.
The Reverend Stephen Demainbray is called in, and examined as follows:
You are Rector of Broad Somerford, in Wiltshire?
Have the Poor in your Parish any Land attached to their Cottages, or any Means of renting small Portions of Land?
In the Year 1806 an Act was passed for the Inclosure of the Parish, in which an Offer was made of Land in lieu of Tithes, upon very liberal Terms; but, considering the Interests of the Poor, who ought to be defended by the Clergyman, I said I could not consent to the Proposals, though I acknowledged their Liberality, but on making some Provision for the Poor; and the Provision, which will appear from this Act, was, that every free Cottage should have Half an Acre of Land attached to it.
There was a Clause in the Act to enable you so to do?
Yes; the Clause is to this Effect: "And be it further enacted, That the said Commissioners shall and they are hereby required to set out and allot unto and for the said Rector and the Churchwardens and Overseers of the said Parish of Great Somerford otherwise Broad Somerford, for the Time being, all such Plot or Plots of the Waste Lands hereby intended to be divided and inclosed that shall have been encroached, taken out of, and inclosed upon the said Waste Lands within the Space of Twenty Years last past by the respective Owners of any ancient Cottages within the said Parish, and annexed to and occupied therewith respectively, such Cottages not being held by Lease or Leases, Copy or Copies of Court Roll, or by Licence in Writing, or Consent of the Lord or Lords or any reputed Lord or Lords of any Manor in the said Parish, having Authority to grant the same, and duly entered or enrolled in the Court Books of the said Manor, and the Proprietors of the said ancient Cottages having no Lands or Tenements in the said Parish, save the Gardens and Appurtenances to the said Cottages belonging; and in case any such Encroachments or Parcels of Land, together with the Garden, Orchard, or Land belonging to such ancient Cottages respectively, shall not contain by Admeasurement Two Roods, then and in every such Case the said Commissioners shall set out and allot unto and for the said Rector, Churchwardens, and Overseers as aforesaid such further Part or Parts of the said Waste Lands adjoining to such ancient Cottages or Encroachments, or as near the same as can be, as shall with the said Garden, Orchard, and Land belonging to such ancient Cottage make the same in Quantity Two Roods; which said Encroachments already made, and the said additional Allotments (if any shall be allotted) for the Purposes aforesaid, shall be and is hereby vested in the said Rector, Churchwardens, and Overseers for the Time being, and to be by them yearly and every Year, on the Tuesday in Easter Week, let and set by them to the respective Owners of the said Cottages free of Rent and all Parochial Taxes whatsoever: Provided always, that the said Owners of the said respective ancient Cottages for the Time being shall and they are hereby required to properly hedge, ditch, and fence the said Encroachments and Allotments of Land, if any shall be allotted, according to the Directions of the said Commissioners, and from Time to Time repair and keep the same in repair, or in default thereof the said Rector, Churchwardens, and Overseers shall and are hereby empowered to let the same at Rack Rent, and apply the Rents and Profits thereof until such Hedges, Ditches, and Fences are properly raised." In addition to this, the Lord of the Manor consented, as to every one of the Cottages leased on Lives, that the same Quantity of Land should be allotted to those Cottages; that altogether every Cottage in the Parish, to the Number of Twenty-two, has enough Land to make up a Half Acre. My Object in giving it to the Rector and Churchwardens was, that if a poor Man was distressed, his little Property was soon appropriated, and from the Nature of the Poor Laws, particularly the Payment of a Portion of the Wages from the Poor's Rate, made the little Cottager in a worse Situation absolutely than the Pauper, because, if his Labour was made up by the Poor Rate, and he could not receive that additional Pay for his Labour as long as he possessed Property, the sooner he got rid of his Orchard or his Cottage the sooner he was entitled to receive Pay from the Parish; therefore every thing was calculated to cut down the poor Man's little Property; I kept it in this Way to prevent the Alienation of it. This did not meet all the Difficulties of the Parish, as the whole Population would not have been benefited by this; and therefore I further obtained, by the Clauses of the Act, that Eight Acres should be allotted in the same Way, vested in the Rector and Churchwardens, for the Benefit of the Poor generally; every Individual in the Parish, according to the Number in the Family, was, every Tuesday in the Easter Week, to have his little Allotment of Land.
Do you consider your Parish benefited by the Poor having Land attached to their Cottages?
I fear I shall appear an Enthusiast upon the Subject, but I do most sincerely from my Heart believe that they are extremely benefited. If I might trespass upon your Lordships Time, I would state the general Effect upon the Parish. There was one little Difficulty I did not foresee, and that was, that the Act expressly said the Eight Acres allotted should be in proportion to the Number of the Family; the Consequence was, when a poor Man lost Part of his Family, as an industrious Man was anxious to get his Children out to Service, it was very hard that his Portion of Land which he had so well cultivated should be reduced; still the Law said it should be reduced; that was an unforeseen Accident; but I will mention how it has ultimately proved advantageous: the poor Man said, "I hope, Sir, you will not deprive me of my Land;" I said, "I am sorry, but the Law is imperative, but I shall be very glad to let you a little Land;" to which the Man would say, he would give any thing for it: and thus I let small Portions, as I was able to obtain it from my larger Farmers, to those poor Individuals who appeared worthy; from their Cultivation from Time to Time this has increased.
Have the goodness to state what Rent you asked for that Land you so let to them?
The same Rent precisely that my Farmer gave me, with this little Difference, to prevent the Trouble of poor Men being teased for the Rates, I paid the Rates, and made a small Advance, making it precisely the same as I received from the Farmer who had previously rented it.
Are the Lands held by those poor Tenants well cultivated?
Cultivated in such Perfection that, I venture to say, it is almost a Disgrace to the Farmers Cultivation; they are beautifully cultivated, and never fail.
What sort of Soil is there in that Parish?
In the first Instance, it was the best Soil. I was very anxious that the Cottager should have the best Soil to try the Experiment; but after a Time, as I really found it succeed, and it was so great a Gratification to myself, I did obtain Eighteen Acres from the very poor Land; it was called the Marsh. I said, "I am afraid this will not answer your Purpose;" "Oh, Sir, let us try." It was a Clay Land; it was a peaty Land; the Sub-stratum Clay in some Parts; in general I may say, those Eighteen Acres were bad. The Farmer had had it under Plough, and was not able to produce any thing from it. I let it them at about 25s. an Acre, to cover the Expence of Rates and all Taxes.
What Rent did you receive from the Farmer for those Eighteen Acres?
In the Outset, during the War, when high Prices were given, for an Estate of 100 Acres, Tithe-free, I received 120l.; but I reduced that to 90l.; it was too large a Price.
At what Period did you reduce it?
At the End of the War.
What Reduction did you make to the Farmer in consequence of taking away those Eighteen Acres from him?
I then let the Portion which remained for 60l.; it was necessary to make great Reductions at the Time.
Were those Eighteen Acres the worst or the best?
Perhaps it might be as good as any Part of this Farm, rather preferable, perhaps, to the Majority. The Consequence on those Eighteen Acres has been most favourable; and I beg to impress it on any Gentlemen who has poor Land, as I will venture to say the Crops for the last Five or Six Years upon this poor Land have been fully equal, perhaps superior, to those in any other Part of the Parish. A large Proportion of my Land is the best in the Parish; it adjoins to Dauncey, Lord Peterborough's; some of the best Land in the County, some of which was let at Fifty Shillings during the War; it is let now at 30s.
Do you find that the Tenants are able to pay their Rents, and that they do so willingly?
They do so willingly. I assemble them once a Year, and give them a Supper; they have never failed to pay their Rents; a single Individual at the Outset failed to pay, and he was deprived of his Land.
Do you make any Stipulations with your poor Tenants as to the Mode of cultivating their Land, or do you think any necessary?
None; I have always found it better to leave the poor Man free.
Have any of the poor Lands in your Parish gone out of Cultivation in consequence of the Reduction of the Price of Agricultural Produce?
In the course of the Summer of 1828 my Farmer, who rented it at 60l. a Year, which he had done for some Years, told me it was utterly impossible he could go on with Eighty Acres, Tithefree, at 60l. a Year; he could pay me only 30l. for that current Year; the Consequence was, I sent to my Agent in the Country, requesting him to do the best he could for me, and that, as they were still eager to take Land, he should let off Ten or Twelve Acres to the Poor, and the rest must go out of Cultivation, or he must do the best he could. A Day was appointed for the Poor that wanted it; my Agent found that the Public House was crowded with Applicants; there were a Hundred Applicants or this poor Land; and he took upon himself, contrary quite to my Directions, but I am much pleased with the Result, to let the whole of this Land to the poor Applicants; they drew Lots for their Pieces; as there was a great Difference in the Soil, there were Prices fixed to the different Parts according to the Value; and the whole was let in this Manner. That Land was not fresh turned up, but which had been under the Plough for Twenty Years, which had never produced more than a meagre Crop of Oats or Potatoes, and hardly ever a little Wheat; that Land, last Summer, when I went to see it, was, every Part of it, productive under Spade Husbandry; and by Attention in those poor Men in putting it in a different State from that in which the Farmer in general does it, namely, by hoeing it in, and by the other Attentions a poor Man can give it, was a Picture; every Body in the Neighbourhood came to see it. That Land was completely productive; the Tenants came and paid on the appointed Day, every one, cheerfully and gratefully.
You have stated that you received 30l. Rent for the last Year before you made this Division; what Rent do you now receive?
The Rent was 97l. 11s., I paying the Rates, which amounted to 14£.; and thus I received a Benefit myself, independent of every Feeling of Benevolence. I received 80l. clear for that I could not obtain 60l. for, and for which I actually received the last Year only 30l.
Have other Parishes in your Neighbourhood adopted the Plan of letting Land to the Poor?
I am happy to say, that in the Year 1820 the adjoining Parish of Rodburn was inclosed. Mr. Pollen was the whole and sole Proprietor of the Hamlet; he had some very inferior Land, bearing Gorse or Furze and Brambles; he threw out Eight Acres for the Purpose of benefiting the Poor. Rodburn is the Hamlet, and Malmesbury the Parish. Malmesbury the Year following inclosed a very large Common of very wet poor Land, which has been allotted wholly to the Poor, and the Consequence is, that, with respect to the Rates, the Amount of Poor's Rate for this Parish of Malmesbury, including its several Tithings, having been, for the Year ending the 26th of March 1819, 2,074£. 1s. 8d., was, in the Year ending the 25th of March 1830, only 1,424l. 18s. This Land was of the worst Description, boggy and clayey, and nobody could cross it with a Horse. I believe a Huntsman could hardly cross it in the Winter.
Have you seen that Land since?
Yes, I have, and there are fine Crops upon it.
You stated that you had made Allotments of Two Acres of Land to each Individual in your last Letting?
No; it varies sometimes; it was One Acre and sometimes Two Acres.
It was never more than Two Acres?
In a few Instances there was more than that; a Part covered with Furze and Fern and Trumpery, of which there is One Piece, I see, of Four Acres and Three Roods; another Piece of Three Acres; and there is One Piece, a Furze Piece, not under the Spade, which is Eleven Acres, it is given up as impossible to cultivate; but still, though that is not under Cultivation, I have received 97l. 11s. for the Land.
Do you find that the poor People who have those Allotments of Four Acres are able to do any other Work besides attending to this Land which they have under Spade Cultivation?
I should suppose not, those having that large Plot; those who have Two Acres indisputably do; but it often happens that where a poor Man gets to a certain Time of Life, Fifty or Sixty, he flinches a little, he cannot do a Day's Work; but he is happy to get a little to do for himself, and to struggle on; and he does that without Parochial Relief.
Have you found that the Effect of this Measure has been to withdraw Persons from Burthens on the Rates who were formerly supported by them?
In some Instances, certainly; not in many; in One single Instance the Parish pays for the Two Acres which a Pauper with a large Family rents of me at Four Pounds a Year, for which he has made his Bargain not to receive Parochial Relief; he certainly would have been entitled to Sixteen or Seventeen Pounds for his Family, according to the Plan so long pursued.
What is the common Rate of Wages in your Parish?
They were reduced again in the early Part of this Winter to 7s., without the Allowance usual for Families; a Man with Two Children had 7s. I think that is lower than any preceding Period; last Year it was 8s. during the Winter, and 9s. during the Summer.
What Allowances have been made in aid of Wages from the Parish Rates?
It has been usual to give so much according to the Price of Bread; a Quartern Loaf a Head to each Member of the Family per Week.
Are there any Persons unemployed in your Parish?
Certainly, there must be some still burthensome on the Parish during the Winter.
How are they employed?
We endeavour to give Employment to them in digging Gravel, of which there is a great deal, or on the Roads.
What Wages do Persons so employed by the Parish receive?
Seven Shillings; they have made Regulations since, which I hope will increase those Wages; but the Labourers have had 7s.; it is the same as the Farmers pay.
The Wages are the same whether employed by Farmers or the Parish?
Has your Parish been disturbed by riotous Meetings?
I am happy to say not; they have approached near us, to Tetbury, Nine Miles from us, on one Side; and on the other Side Christian Malford, about Four Miles.
You found that those riotous Disturbances stopped nearly where the Spade Cultivation prevailed?
I cannot presume to say that; but we have had no Disturbances.
Neither in your Parish nor Malmesbury?
There were not, nor any Disposition towards it.
Has any Advance been made in the Rate of Wages?
I apprehend there has.
Do you know to what Amount?
I cannot state exactly.
Do you know what the Size of the Holdings is of the Land in Malmesbury Common?
I cannot speak to that.
Can you state the Means the Poor have of obtaining Manure for their Land?
It is wonderful how they do procure it; the Circumstance that is most valuable to a poor Man at present is his keeping a Pig, and the Pig Manure is the strongest and best.
Is that the only Means of obtaining Manure they have?
If they can get what we call Road Scrapings, it is extremely valuable. The former Tenant supplied them with a little Straw, which they took Home; he had several of those People on his Farm; that Straw was converted by the Pigs into Dung, and he brought the whole back, and after they had had a Crop of Potatoes they were sure of a Crop of Corn.
You are speaking of Farmers Land, not of Land in the Occupation of the Poor?
Previous to this being let to the Poor, the Farmer had a habit of letting Eight or Ten Acres to the Poor, and that made it more necessary for me to let this Land to Six or Seven Individuals, though not of the Parish, because they had occupied it before; so that Seven of the adjoining Parishes had the Benefit of it; it lies nearer to them than to the Inhabitants of my Parish in general.
What Time have the Persons who cultivate Two Acres each with Spade Husbandry to employ in Labour elsewhere?
The greater Part of them, when the Farmers will employ them, do not go to their own Farm; but the Farmer has not sufficient Employment for them.
Do you mean to say that out of those Two Acres they obtain sufficient to maintain themselves and their Families?
It is a very great Assistance to them; but they are dependent on Labour; they could not pay their Rent without Labour.
What sort of Labour is it by which they earn their Livelihood?
The usual Labour for the Farmers, hedging, ditching, reaping, and mowing.
How much of their Time is employed in cultivating those Two Acres?
I cannot positively answer that Question.
Have you no Notion what Portion of their Time is occupied in the Cultivation of those Two Acres?
No; I cannot presume to state that accurately.
How long has that System of holding Two Acres been in operation in your Parish?
The Inclosure took place in 1806, from which Time they began to have a small Portion of Land; but a larger Allotment took place in 1819.
In Cases where you have given those Portions of Land to the Cottagers, what has become of the young Men of their Families when they have grown up?
I consider the young Men brought up in those Habits, being accustomed to labour on their Father's Land, to be brought up more industriously and in better Habits than the Children of the mere Pauper.
Do they remain with their Father and Mother, or do they go away?
Many of them go away. I do not consider the Population of that Parish to have more increased than that of the neighbouring Parishes.
Do you provide the young Men who marry and remain in the Parish with Land?
Not in the Outset; but they come in for their Portion allotted by Act of Parliament if they reside in a Cottage.
Supposing those Cottages were occupied, what would become of those young Men then?
I think we have not increased; but it is difficult to get a complete Census. I do not conceive we have much increased in Population; I think from the Year 1806 I can reckon up only Nine Cottages which have been built in that Parish since that Time-Twenty-four Years.
Has the building of Cottages in that Parish been avoided by the Landlord systematically or by Accident?
I think it is by Accident. I have built a Farmhouse, and have built a Cottage for a Labourer.
Are any Steps taken in any way to get rid of the surplus Population in your Parish, by sending them elsewhere?
No; we do not apprentice out our Children; we let them take their natural Course.
Are there more Labourers in your Parish at this Moment than can obtain Employment?
Certainly; there still are more than could find full Employment; the Farmers would be very glad to dispense with the additional Labour thrown upon them.
Those Persons are at present in a Situation of great Distress and Difficulty, are they not?
I should say not great Distress; and as a Proof that the Increase in the Parish is not great, I do not know, at this Moment, where Two Families are thrust into One House, which is very common in other Parishes.
You say they get 7s. a Week only?
That was the Sum intended to be paid this Winter, but it is increased.
Do you conceive with 7s. a Week they can maintain themselves with Two Children?
Indisputably not, with any Decency and Comfort; but with the Addition of a little Land they can.
Do you mean a Garden Ground or those Two Acres?
Some may have Two Acres, but the Generality have not Half an Acre. I let so small as Ten Rods to them, the Sixteenth Part of an Acre; they gladly take any thing I can let them have.
Upon what System do those Men cultivate their Land?
They are all perfectly free. I believe, after Potatoes a Wheat Crop follows; it has generally, I believe, been Wheat and Potatoes.
Do they lay down Clover?
Can you obtain an Account of the Manner in which several of those small Portions have been cultivated in successive Years, and the Produce?
It would be very difficult to obtain it. I could of any One Individual, but I can hardly tell what Quantity they obtain; they consume most of the Potatoes themselves, almost all having their Pigs. I have tried something like a new Experiment. I believe hitherto it has never occurred that any body has attempted, in large Towns, to let Land to the Poor; but acknowledging myself an Enthusiast from what I had seen in the Country, and now residing at Richmond, as being connected with His Majesty's Observatory, I have been anxious to get a little Land there, and last Spring I obtained Eight Acres of Land; Mr. Selwyn, the King's Counsel, was kind enough to let me have Six, the rest was an old worn-out Gravel Pit. Persons said, "You may have succeeded in the Country from your Influence and Knowledge of Individuals, but here there will be an infinite deal of Trouble and no Profit;" but such was the Eagerness of the Poor, that on the Eight Acres I have Ninety-five Tenants; the Produce has been most flattering; they have all paid me their Rent beforehand, for they came to pay me at Michaelmas the Rent due at Lady Day. I think it has prevented many an Hour being spent at the Alehouse; it is a Plaything.
What is the Rent of this Land?
Very heavy; I could not obtain it under 4£. 6s. 8d. an Acre.
They are merely Portions for Gardens?
Yes. I receive at the Rate of 5l. an Acre. I was to have paid the Rates, but the Vestry have said it is out of the Question that the Rates could be collected; and, after receiving my Rent, I had the Pleasure of returning 5l. to those Persons, returning a Shilling to each Man who held Ten Rods, and so on.
Is the Land in your own Parish in the Hands of a great Number of Landlords, or of One or Two Individuals?
We are singularly circumstanced; there is hardly any Land in the Parish but in the Hands of resident Proprietors. Excepting in a very few Instances, the Proprietor is himself the Farmer of the Land.
Do you know what the Wages of Labour were in that Parish in the Year 1806, when your Inclosure took place?
I cannot state with Accuracy.
Can you state, at any Time between that Period and this, what were the Wages of Labour?
I should be only leading your Lordships astray, I fear. During the War the Wages were high; they have been gradually reduced.
Do you ever recollect the Wages at 10s. a Week?
How long since?
I cannot give the Date with sufficient Precision.
With respect to the Farm which is not in the Hands of the Proprietor himself, can you speak to the Rent of that?
The Proprietor resides in the Parish, but does not himself occupy it. One of his Farms is entirely a Grass Farm; that, I should suppose, must be about 40s.
Do you recollect its ever having been let at a higher Rent?
How long since?
From the Year 1814 or 1815 the Prices of course declined.
Are you at all aware of the highest Price that was ever paid for that Land?
Are you aware of the Price that was paid for it previous to the War?
No; People do not communicate their Rents; it is very difficult to ascertain Rents; there is great Shyness in the Farmer, because the Rates are assessed at Two Thirds of the Value.
Have you any Employment in your Parish for the Women and Children?
We had, very recently, Lace-making for the Children, to a great Extent.
Does that continue?
It is very nearly stopped; it must stop. Urling's Lace takes away all the Profit.
So that the Families depend upon the Labour of the Men?
Yes; except that the Women go out to Labour at particular Seasons of the Year.
Have you a Select Vestry in your Parish?
Have you a Poorhouse?
We have a House which has been considered a Poorhouse; there are Four or Five Cottages joined together, occupied as a single Cottage; they contain a single Family each, except that One is inhabited by several unfortunate Women with their Children.
There is no Work provided for those Persons?
Do those Cottages belong to the Parish?
They are rented on the Parish Account; we pay 10l. a Year for the whole of them. Our Lease is nearly expiring; it was a Lease for Twenty-one Years, and we laid out Two or Three hundred Pounds to put them in proper Repair.
Have they Gardens?
You do not know what Produce an Acre those People make of their Lands that have Potatoes one Year and Wheat the next?
I cannot state that with Accuracy.
You probably have no Influx of Foreign Labour at any Part of the Year?
No, I do not remember any.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Mr. Richard Holloway is called in and examined as follows:
You are Overseer of the Parish of Shipley, in the Weald of Sussex?
Yes; it is Three or Four Miles from Horsham.
What is the Extent of your Parish?
About 6,000 Acres, besides Wood Land.
Is there a great deal of Wood Land?
No, there is not. There are a few Woods, but only enough to make the Hedges.
What was the Population at the last Return?
Have you a Statement of the Population at the present Moment?
I have not; but I have a Statement of the Men in and out of the Parish, and how many Families have Children over Two; ditto, how many have Two Children and under.
The Witness produces the same, which is read, and is as follows:
Those stated are above Two Children to a Family.
Families with Two Children and under-80 Families and 145 Children.
Paupers in the Poorhouse-46.
6,026 Acres of plain Land, rated at 2,710£.
Is there any Trade carried on in the Parish?
What have been the Rates for the last Ten Years?
I am not able to state that at present. I expect the last Four or Five Years they have been as high as Twenty Shillings in the Pound.
What were they in the last Year?
Upon what Valuation?
Two Thirds of the Value.
At what Time was the Valuation taken?
The Valuation was taken in 1818.
How many Men have been out of Employment at any Time last Year?
At one Time we had as many as 110.
How many have you had this Year?
About Three Weeks back we had as many as 93.
How have those Men been employed?
On the Roads.
Have they been, when at Work by the Parish, paid by the Grade or Task Work?
Now we do not pay them by Grade, but Day Work.
What has been their Pay?
A single Man had 7d. a Day; a Man and his Wife, 5s. a Week; a Man and his Wife and One Child, 7s. a Week; and a Man and his Wife and Two Children, 8s. a Week: whether Two or Three, or what Number, the highest has been 8s. per Week.
Do they pay you for the Repair of their own Tools?
No; the Parish pays for the Repair of their Tools.
Have you a Select Vestry?
And a permanent Overseer?
Do you hire any Land for Cultivation?
Not by the Parish; only Four Acres were hired, to be attached to the Poorhouse.
Have you still got that?
We have let the House at so much per Head, and the Man has that Land for the Use of the House.
Have you adopted any new System lately in that Parish?
We have called a Vestry, and adopted the Plan of taking them on the Land in some way or other; and we have taken out about Forty or Fifty, that we have now on the Road.
That is within the last Fortnight?
Yes; since the Rise of Wages.
What have you agreed to pay the Labourers you have thus taken?
For able Men we allow 2s. a Day.
Do you make them an Allowance for their Families?
No; they come to us, and compel us to pay them 2s. a Day, single or married.
What are the Rents of Cottages in your Neighbourhood?
There is a Difference in them; I suppose some from 3l. to 3£. 10s. and 4£. and 4£. 10s., according to what Ground there is to the Cottage.
Have all the Cottages Gardens to them?
There are very few but what have Gardens to them.
What Extent are those Gardens?
There is a good deal of Difference; some are very small; some Ten and Twenty, some Thirty, some Forty Roods, and so on in proportion.
Who are the Proprietors of the Cottages; are they generally the large Landed Proprietors, or the small Speculators in building?
There are some Cottages belonging to the Farms, generally a good many of them; there are some belonging to the Parish.
Does the Parish pay the Rent of the Cottages?
We have paid some Rent for those that have large Families.
Have the Rents of Cottages been reduced?
They have not been reduced; but the Poor have asked for it now since the Meetings have been.
Have the Rents of the Land been reduced?
I cannot say; in some Places I expect they have.
What Reduction do you think generally could take place in the Rents?
I cannot say; in some Places there are Reductions, and in some Places not.
How long have you known Shipley?
I always lived there; I was brought up there.
Can you remember the high Prices of Corn before the End of the War?
Yes; I have heard that Wheat was 25l. or 30l. a Load.
Are the Rents the same now as they were at that Period?
I think they are lower than they were then, to a Certainty; at most Places they are generally lower, I expect.
At the Time of the high Prices were there any Parish Allowances made to the Labourers?
Yes, they had Allowances at that Time.
Were the Allowances the same as they have now?
I am unable to say; I did not attend the Vestries then.
What were the Prices of Labour at that Time?
I can remember when they had 2s. in the Winter, and 2s. 3d. and 2s. 6d. in the Summer.
In what Year was that?
Fourteen or Fifteen Years ago.
What was the Price of Labour, before the late Rise, to Persons employed by the Farmers?
They had 10s. a Week when they worked by the Day; that is, 1s. 8d. a Day upon the Farm.
You speak of those regularly employed?
Yes, on the Farms.
Was there any Distinction made by the Farmers between married and single Men in the Pay they gave them for Work done on their Farms?
No; to some of the single ones they did not give so much, as they were not able to do so much.
They paid them in proportion to the Work they were able to do?
Yes, they did, pretty much.
What was the Sum raised last Year in your Parish?
Between 3,200l. and 3,300l.; it was 24s. in the Pound last Year, the Land being taken at Two Thirds.
Were the Cottagers, during the high Prices, in the same State of Distress that they are now?
No; they were not in so great Distress as they have been the last Three or Four Years.
Were they considered a distressed Set of People during the high Prices?
There were some of that sort, but not so generally as now.
Is there any Employment for Women and Children?
The Women get a little Employment in Summer Time in weeding and haymaking, and so on.
Was there any Spinning or other Manufacture during the Time of high Prices?
Yes, they used to spin; at that Time the Farmers used to let the poor Women have a little Spinning, by which they might earn a Shilling or Two per Week; but that is done away with now.
What is the Cultivation in your Parish?
Wheat and Oats; no Turnip Land.
Upon what System?
We bring in the Wheat Crop about Twice in Seven Years; we are forced to fallow every Time.
Do you use Threshing Machines in your Parish?
No; there has been but One in the Parish.
Do you know what Advantage results from the Threshing Machines?
I have heard there is no Advantage results from them; that it is considered that it takes as many Hands and costs as much Money as threshing by the Hand.
Is that the generally-received Opinion in your Parish?
Yes, it is.
It is considered to spoil the Straw, is it not?
It breaks the Wheat a good deal, and it wants a good many Hands; it is considered as expensive to thresh with Machines as with Hands.
Have you any Workhouse in your Parish?
How many People are in it?
Forty-six at this present Time.
Do you contract for their Support?
At what Rate?
Half a Crown a Head; and, if we put in young Chaps, we pay 3s. a Week.
Has any Attempt been made in your Parish to obtain Land for the Poor?
What does a poor Man generally earn during the Harvest?
That depends on the Help. If he has a Wife and a Boy to help him, he will earn 5£. or 5£. 10s. or 6£. according to what he can get to do.
You refer to the Corn Harvest?
Is it the Practice in your Parish to hire the Men at so much for the Harvest Month, or do you put them at Task Work?
We put them at Task Work.
A Wife and a Boy are a great Assistance in reaping?
Do the other Children of the Family lease at all?
Yes; the Women and Children lease it afterwards.
Do you consider a single Man or a married Man the best off in your Parish?
A single Man would be if he could get Work; but if he comes on the Parish I do not know which is best off at those Prices.
Do you not think that a single Man is worse off; is he not generally discharged by the Farmer the first?
No, I do not see that; for there are some that will take them on rather than others, where they have got Work.
Do you think that System of making the single Men worse off than the married Men does not produce early Marriages?
I do not know; but there is no doubt the low-priced Wages have driven some of them to it.
Are most of your Parishioners residing in the Parish?
No; we have Seventy-five able-bodied Men out of the Parish, some at Brighton and some at Horsham, or we should be worse off than we are.
Do you allow those any thing that abide out of your Parish?
Yes; all who have Children over Two.
Have you any Highway Rate collected in your Parish?
The whole of the Repairs of the Road are paid out of the Poor's Rate?
Have you a Churchwarden's Rate in your Parish?
Is that paid out of the Poor's Rate also?
Do you know whether the County Rate has increased in your Parish?
No; I do not expect that it has increased much.
Do you know how much it was the last Payment?
I think it has been nearly 40l. a Year.
The Roads do not require the Number of Men you employ upon them, probably?
No; a Tenth Part would do.
You place them upon the Roads because you think it better to give them something to do than to leave them idle?
Upon what do your Labourers live principally?
They live very hard; they have had nothing now but Bread for some Time past, they have been so bad off, a good many of them.
Do their Families drink Tea?
Yes, they do, if they can get it; and they look out and get it generally.
Do you conceive a Man can live as he ought to live on 7d. a Day?
No, not as he ought to live.
It is 7d. a Day only for the working Days?
Do they work wet and dry?
No; they do not work, but the Pay goes on the same.
When you say the Farmers give so much a Week, do they give it wet and dry?
Yes; the Farmers generally look out, and get them a Barn if it is wet.
They pay them at that Rate?
Is the Land better cultivated in that Parish than it was when you first recollect it?
I do not know; owing to the distressed Times, the Land has been driven harder, I think.
Do the Farmers keep less Stock?
Some keep rather reducing; they cannot keep their Stock up.
You do not conceive that the Farmers are in a very flourishing State in your County?
No, they are not, generally speaking; they have been; for the last Two or Three Years we have had Three very bad Seasons.
Are you a Farmer yourself?
What Land do you occupy?
About 350 Acres.
Is that your own Land, or Land you hold from any body else?
Land which I took.
How much an Acre do you pay for that Land?
I have got some I pay about 15s. an Acre, some 1l. It is under Two different Gentlemen I hold.
What is the Size of each of the Farms, and the Rent?
I have one Farm of about 130 Acres, that goes at 110l. a Year; the other Farm is about 210 Acres. I took a Lease in the high Time, at least my Father did, at 210£. a Year; but my Landlord has been kind enough to throw off 50l. a Year for the last Three or Four Years.
Upon that you pay to the Poor's Rate about 18s. in the Pound?
I paid last Year for that Farm, for which I pay 160l. a Year, 120l. Poor's Rate.
That Poor's Rate includes all the Rates of every Description within the Parish?
Have you any Labourers that are constantly employed upon your Farm?
Yes, I have.
I have Five Men that work for me constantly, if I want them.
Do you shift them from Farm to Farm, as they are wanted?
Do you pay them Wages by the Year or by the Week?
By the Week or the Grate.
When you pay those Men by the Week, what do you pay them?
Ten Shillings a Week, I did; now we give them Twelve Shillings a Week.
Have they a Cottage?
Attached to the Farm?
Do they pay you Rent for it?
I have Two or Three Men who do not pay Rent, for they look after the Stock for me; One is a Carter.
He receives 10s. a Week, and his Cottage free of Rent?
Do the other Persons pay Rent for their Cottages?
What Rent do they pay for their Cottages?
They pay me 4l. a Year.
Is there any thing beyond this 10s. a Week that those Persons can earn in Harvest Time?
Yes, in Harvest Time they can.
How do you pay them in Harvest Time?
So much an Acre for reaping, so much an Acre for mowing, and so on.
How much can they earn per Week at that Time?
I should expect they may make about 4l. or 5l.; probably about 5l.
How much by the Week do you imagine they can earn in Harvest Time?
There is about a Week or Ten Days, when they are reaping, they can earn 30s. or 40s, but that does not hold many Days; some Men want Seven Acres to reap, another Eight, and another Nine: we pay them at the End of the Month.
Supposing a Man's regular Wages to be 10s. a Week, how much additional do you think he can earn by his working at Harvest?
I should conceive a Man through the Harvest would earn 24s. or 25s. a Week, or 30s., perhaps, he and his Wife, and a Boy, if he had one.
He would earn 3l. or 4l. more in the course of the Harvest?
How is it with respect to the Hay Harvest; can a Man earn more at Hay Time than at other Times?
If he goes to mowing he works by the Grate, and earns more, working harder than by Day Work.
How long have you been in possession of those Farms?
I have been brought up in the Farms all my Time; it is a Family Concern. I have done the Business about Ten Years.
Is there any Land attached to those Persons Cottages?
Yes, there is a little Ground-a Garden.
What might be the Size?
I cannot say; it may be Twenty Rods; I should expect those Cottages I have have about Thirty or Forty Rods of Ground among them.
You say on the larger of those Farms your Rent has been reduced?
When you first took it, what did you pay to the Labourers?
They were giving 2s. 3d. and 2s. 6d. a Day during the long Days in Summer; in my Father's Time he used to pay from 12s. to 15s. a Week during the Summer Time.
Have you the same Number of Men on your Farm now that there were Ten Years ago?
Yes, about the same Number; some the same Men.
Do the Farmers in general in your Parish employ as many as they used to do?
There is a Difference; some are not able to employ the Men.
Have the Rents in your Parish in general been lowered within the last Ten Years?
I expect they have generally.
You have not any Idea how much they have been lowered?
No; there are some Farms that have not been lowered, and there are some that have.
Has there been, within your Memory, any Valuation made of the Parish for the Purpose of assessing the Poor's Rates?
There was a Valuation about Twelve Years back.
Is your Poor Rate collected on Two Thirds of that Valuation?
In point of fact, will the Two Thirds of that Valuation so taken Twelve Years ago be very much below the actual Rent paid now?
No, it is not very much below the actual Rent paid now.
Upon that you pay 24s. in the Pound?
Have the Articles that the Labourers use in your Parish been diminished in Price within the last Ten Years, such as Clothes of all Descriptions?
Yes; Things of that kind are a good deal cheaper than they used to be.
Are the Necessaries of Life there cheaper than they used to be?
How are Coals in your Parish?
We do not burn Coals much.
Do the Poor buy any thing for Fuel, or collect what they can find?
There are a great many that are forced to collect what they can find.
Is there any Wood sold in your Parish for Fuel?
Not for the Purposes of the Poor.
In fact, they have no Fuel but what they pick up?
There are some that look out and endeavour to buy Wood; but some do not.
None use Coals?
None of any Account.
Do the Farmers use Coals?
How much a Quarter do you pay your Labourers when they thresh by the Piece?
Three and Sixpence for Wheat.
Do you refer to the present Year?
Last Year; it depends on how it yields.
What are you giving this Year?
We have been giving 3s. 6d.; last Year it was 3s. 4d.; it yielded rather better than it does this.
What did you give Ten Years ago for threshing Wheat?
We used to give 4s. Ten or Twelve or Fifteen Years ago, depending on the Job, and we used to keep them better; but that has been done away with.
What is your Measure of paying by hedging?
By the Rod.
What do you pay now, per Rod, for hedging?
Two-pence Halfpenny a Rod for One Side; 5d. a Rod for the Two.
Do you know what you paid formerly?
I recollect when we paid 6d. a Rod.
At the Time you paid 6d. a Rod, how much a Load was Wheat?
Wheat was up then to 25l. or 30l. a Load.
What was the Price of Wheat last Year?
Eighteen Pounds or Nineteen Pounds a Load.
Then a Labourer with the 3s. 6d. he now gets can buy more than he could do then with the 4s.
Yes, no doubt of it.
With respect to your Profits as a Farmer, can you afford to pay 3s. 6d. for threshing Wheat as well as you could afford to pay 4s. formerly?
No, we cannot afford to pay it near so well.
The 3s. 6d. is more for you to pay now than the 4s. then?
How much an Acre do you reckon a good Crop of Wheat in your County?
I should expect that our Parish, take the Parish all through, will not average Four Sacks an Acre; Two Quarters. We have had a very short Crop the last Three or Four Years; but some Years there is some Land which will produce Seven or Eight Sacks, perhaps.
What do you reckon a good Crop in your County?
Seven or Eight Sacks, Three Quarters and a Half or Four Quarters, an Acre; there is a great deal that will not yield above Three and from that to Four.
Is the Land in worse Condition now than it was Fifteen Years ago?
I think the Land is driven harder than it was.
You say the Men now employed by the Farmers and the Parish, by the last Agreement, receive 12s. a Week; shall you be able to continue those Wages?
We shall have no Chance of continuing them if we do not get Relief somewhere.
Are there more Men out of Employ of late Years than there used to be?
A great many; they keep coming out on the Roads for the last Three or Four Years.
What is the Proportion of Corn and Grass Land in your Parish?
There is not much Grass Land.
Has there been a great increase of Houses in your Parish?
No, there has not; we have not near Houses enough to take all our Poor in if they were to come Home.
Is your Land let to you Tithe-free?
One Farm is let to me Tithe-free.
Do you employ rather more Labourers, in proportion to your Land, than other Farmers who have not it Tithe-free?
No, I do not know that I do; I employ as many as I want to do my Work.
You employ as many Labourers as you did Ten Years ago?
I believe I do.
Do other Farmers employ as many Labourers as they did Ten Years ago?
The little Farmers are obliged to drive Things off, for they cannot pay them.
Has much Land been laid down to Grass in consequence of the Change of Times?
Not a great deal; there has been a little.
Is there any Disposition among the Farmers in the Parish to do so?
No, there is not; they are not able to do it.
Is the Rent of the Cottages as high now as it was some Years ago?
Yes; I do not know that there has been any Reduction made.
There has not been a Reduction in proportion to the Reduction made in the Rent of the Land?
Is your Land much hurt by rainy Seasons?
Have you much dry Land?
No; it is flat and low, and wet and stiff.
Therefore you would suffer more in wet Seasons than those who have higher Ground?
Is that owing to the Want of Means in the Farmers to pay the Men that they would employ?
There is no doubt that if the Farmers had plenty of Money more Men would find Employment.
Would Drainage be of Use to your Land?
Yes; we keep on at that every Year.
What do you drain with?
The Drain Plough, and then we put in Cross Drains.
Do you think as much Drainage has been done of late Years as used to be done?
Yes, I think there is, in our Parish.
Are you to be understood to say that the Farmers employ more People now than they did Fifteen Years ago?
No; I expect they might employ nearly as many.
Do you think there is any considerable Difference in that respect?
No, I should think there is not any considerable Difference.
You state that the Necessaries of Life are cheaper now than they were Six Years ago?
Do the Labourers live now as well as they did when those Necessaries of Life were dearer?
No, they do not live so well.
Does your Answer apply generally to all Descriptions of Labourers?
They are not so well off, any of them, as they used to be.
Do you mean to say that a Man receiving 10s. a Week is not as well off as he was Fifteen Years ago when he received 12s.?
No. I can say that they are not so well off, by some Means, as they were at that Time of Day; they do not get so much Meat.
Did you not state that the Women and Children, Ten Years ago, were in the habit of earning something by spinning, in addition to the Wages?
Are the Farmers in your Neighbourhood considered to be in prosperous Circumstances, or the reverse?
They are in worse Circumstances than they were at that Time of Day.
Are they well off now?
No, by no means; there are a great many that begin to be very poor.
Has any Arable Land in your Parish been laid down in Pasture of late Years?
There is a small Portion laid down, but not much.
Your Land, being stiff Land, probably cannot be laid down without considerable Expence?
Is it long before it will produce Grass of good Quality?
It is some Time before it gets to a good Quality.
Do you know what Reduction in the Rents must be made to enable the Farmer to pay the increased Wages of Labour?
I cannot say how much; but if the Poor Rate was lowered we should not mind about the Rent then; but the Tax comes so very heavy that it makes the Land so dear.
You are understood to have said that the increased Wages of Labour cannot be continued?
They cannot, if the Rents remain so large.
You do not know what Reduction of Rent must be made to enable the Farmer to make these Payments?
No; it must be a great Reduction; but there is a Difference of Parishes.
How many Men are you in the habit of employing constantly?
There is a Difference in the Time of Year; sometimes Nine or Ten.
What is your Outlay for Labour in the course of the Year?
I am not able to explain that.
How many Men do you employ constantly?
About Nine or Ten; sometimes Ten or Eleven. I reckon the Servants I have in the House.
Do you plough with Two Horses?
No; we want Four with some Land.
What Wages were formerly paid to those employed on the Land or on digging Gravel last Year?
Eight Shillings a Week, an able Man; the able Men that have Two Children and upwards.
How much have the other Men?
Seven-pence a Day.
How much does a Single Man receive according to the new Agreement?
If a single Man is over Twenty-one Years, he is to have 9s. a Week upon the Roads, and 12s. on a Farm; a Man from Eighteen to Twenty-one, 1s. a Day on the Roads, and 9s. a Week on a Farm; and from Fifteen to Eighteen, they are to have 9d. a Day.
You stated those increased Wages were given in the Hope and Expectation that some Relief would be given to the Farmer?
Do you mean a Relief by Government, or a Relief by the Landlords?
I am sure I do not know.
Have the Labourers in your Parish Gardens?
Have any of them small Allotments of Land?
No, they have not.
What is the Amount of the Poor's Rate in your Parish on the Pound in the course of the Year?
Four and twenty Shillings last Year.
Are the Poor's Rates paid with Difficulty by the Farmers?
We are obliged to pay them.
Are they short of Money to pay them?
We are compelled to pay them, if we can raise Money, or we should have a Distress.
Is either of the Farms you hold some of the best Land in the Parish?
I expect I have got some very good Land and some very poor Land.
Is your Land as good as any other in the Parish?
It is as good as the Average, I expect.
You have stated that you have Nine Men employed in your Farms, and that was the same Number as you employed when you first knew it?
You state that you paid those Men when you first knew that Farm 12s. a Week?
You have been of late paying them 10s. a Week?
You have stated that every thing was much dearer Ten Years ago than it is now?
Yes, no doubt.
Then how do you make out that those Labourers to whom you now pay the 10s., and did pay the 12s., are not as well off under the present Circumstances?
Their Wives used to earn, perhaps, 2s. a Week by spinning.
The Difference is that the Wives and Children cannot now earn any Money; but as far as the Men's Wages go, that commands as much of the Necessaries of Life as it did at that Time?
Yes; I should think at 10s. a Week it would buy as much as it did at that Time at 12s.
Would it not buy rather more?
I should think it would.
You stated that a Farmer paying 3s. 6d. for threshing Wheat, now pays a higher Price in proportion to Wheat than he did formerly at 4s.?
Have you made any Alteration since you came to the Farm in the Price of your Labourers Cottages?
No, I have not.
Is the Rent of those Cottages included in the Rent of your Farm?
Are you aware what you pay to your Landlord for those Cottages?
No, I do not know what I pay to my Landlord; they are valued in the Rent.
Have you had your Rent reduced?
Yes; I have only One House, that I have taken for one that pays me no Rent.
You having had your Rent reduced, and having this Cottage as a Part, have you reduced the Rent to your Labourer?
No, I have not reduced his Rent.
Did you use to give Beer at that Time?
Yes, we did when he was threshing the Wheat.
You employ the same Number of constant Labourers, you say; did you employ more occasional Labourers formerly?
I do not recollect that we did.
For draining, or any thing of that kind?
No; I should think we have done as much of that of late as we did formerly.
Some of your Labourers live in your own House?
Is it the Case generally in the Parish that the Farmers have Labourers boarding with their Families?
Yes; the Farmers, most of them, have Servants boarding in their Houses.
Do you think that is as much the Case now as it used to be Ten or Twelve Years ago?
Yes; I think rather more.
The Farmers begin to think it is better for themselves and the Parish to have young Men boarding in the Family?
We consider it cheaper to have a Man in the House, and to give him a little Wages, than to give him Ten Shillings a Week upon the Farm.
Do you find many young Men are willing to hire themselves in that Way?
They would rather get into Service if they could.
How many Labourers are there living in your House?
It is a Family Concern; we keep Houses in both Places; and I have Three at One House and Two at the other, besides Boys.
What do you give those Labourers that board in the House?
Two Shillings a Week in the Winter.
What is their Food?
Bread and Country Cheese, and fat Meat, and Bacon, and Pork, and such like.
What do those who receive 10s. live on?
Some of them do not get any thing more than Bread. If a Man has only a Wife and One or Two Children, who work on the Farm, he may do better than those that work on the Road.
How do the Cottagers generally live?
Some of them get a little Meat and a little Cheese, perhaps; but they have hard Work, for they have a Rent to pay: those Men who have Two Children are obliged to pay that Rent; but those who have more Children than Two the Parish pays Part of Rent - 1s. per Week.
Have the Rents of Cottages in your Parish been reduced lately?
No, I do not believe they have.
What were the Rents of those Cottages Ten Years ago?
I expect they were the same; I have One that I have lowered.
Do you know of any other Cottage in the Parish the Rent of which has been lowered?
No; but there are a good many Cottages belonging to the Parish where they pay no Rent.
You do not know of any One Instance of Reduction of Rent for any other Cottage?
No; they pay more or less, according to the Ground attached to their Cottage.
You stated that One of your Farms was Tithe-free; if it was not Tithe-free you would give less Rent for it?
Yes, I conclude so.
Have the poor People any Turf at all?
Have you heard of any People going Abroad from any of the Parishes in your Neighbourhood?
I have heard a Talk of it; One Family went from our Parish.
Was that lately?
About Three Years ago.
Was that a poor Family?
Have any Accounts been received from them?
There was a Letter came back to say that they did not wish to come back again.
Have you heard any Talk in your Parish what others said, whether they should like to go or not?
No. Two or Three Families have applied to go to America, and the Parish has persevered, and tried to send them; then they have always got out of the Mind of it.
Single Men do not like going, even as Soldiers, do they?
No, they do not.
Do you know to what Part of America that Family to which you have referred went?
No, I do not.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned 'till To-morrow, Twelve o'Clock.