Farms and Fields

We can gain an insight of the lives of local people by looking at the inventories of property which were drawn up when a person died.

John Bull the Elder of Pendeford, a mason, left property to the value of £89/3s/8d.  The following inventory was drawn up in July, 1660.

butter and cheese  
hemp and flax
7 strykes of rye growing  
12 strykes of barley growing  
7 strykes of peas growing  
8 strykes of oats growing
8 strykes of oats and barley  
2 oxen
5 kine  
2 twinters, 8 yearlings and 4 weaning calves  
a horse  
35 old sheep and 24 lambs  
2 hogs and 2 shuttes  
2 old pairs of wheels, 2 old tumbrils and an old wain and yokes, chains, harrows etc.
geese, ducks and hens.

Other inventories of the period reflect the agricultural nature of Pendeford at the time.

Dude or Dodecroftes field near the Penk was mentioned around 1275.  Open fields called Middle and Nether were mentioned in 1565 and 1595 when Walter Fowlar (sic) bought some land from Thomas Huntbache, a wool merchant. In the early Middle Ages, Open Fields would have been worked on a communal basis by the local inhabitants.  These large fields, used for crops, were divided into strips or selions, long and narrow pieces of land which were not physically split up by fences or hedges.  One farmer's land holdings might be separated into selions spread out over a couple of large open fields.  Netherfield still existed in 1657 although part of it had been enclosed by then.  Enclosure allowed a farmer to have all his land together which led to better farming practice and more profits.

Cattle were an important part of the farming scene during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  In 1662, John Cresswell of Barnhurst had 18 cows, a bull, 6 heifers, 9 young beeves and 8 calves which together were worth £119 4s., as well as 8 oxen valued at £48.  The main breed of cattle were longhorns.

Sheep farming was also of importance and the same John Cresswell had a large flock of 90, valued at £15.

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