Print

Farming

Although some inhabitants were prosperous, most were poor and all were driven by the routine of working on the land. There were some scattered farms with land in "closes" which provided work for the poorest labourers. In 1273 the Lord of the Manor employed 6 ploughmen, a cowherd and a shepherd for the 500 sheep he kept on the Common. They earned 4 shillings (20p) a year plus an allowance of barley, whilst the dairy maid received only 3 shillings (15p).

Most tenants were dependent on the strips of land they held in the four big open fields, hay from the meadows and pigs, sheep, cattle and timber from the Common. Under the supervision of the Lord's reeve they had to decide amongst themselves exactly how they would divide and farm the land. Any spare time was filled with other tasks such as making pots, weaving cloth, building and maintaining their cottages, making tools and going to market.