Archiver > CHESHIRE > 2006-07 > 1152435460

From: "Marjorie Ward" <>
Subject: Re Farms in Cheshire
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 09:57:40 +0100

The discussion on farming is an interesting one. The actual decade being
looked at can make a massive difference of course as can the area & the
employer. Whilst all would have received some cash as wages many would be
in tied cottages the rents of which could vary quite dramatically according
to time & place.

The enclosure acts of the 18th century & early 19th affected some areas more
than others but the Napoleonic Wars seem to have affected all to some
degree. Whilst most of Cheshire was enclosed before 1790 the wastes &
commons were also taken in during the war years & by 1830 only Audlem had
any waste (Poor Law Questionnaire of 1833).

C.Stella Davies completed an analysis of the 1851 census for Cheshire &
concluded that there were 6,663 holdings or farms and that half of these
employed no extra labour. 932 of these holdings were under ten acres each
and only eleven over 500 acres. [This contrasts with Lincolnshire where
over fifty farms had 1,000 acres and over.] Some of the labourers on the
bigger farms also farmed an acre or two themselves. Of course many of these
farmers (large and small) did not own their farms but were tenants of a
local landowner - in Disley this would be the LEGHS.

The government of the day was very interested in the state of farming. For
that reason a survey was completed of each county early in the century &
this gives a useful comparison for later data. Also there were a number of
questionnaires sent out. One was sent out after the 1830 `Swing Riots` had
led to rick burning in the south of the country. From the answers to this
it appears that agricultural labourers in the north were not as discontented
as those in the south - although there was one instance when it was thought
that the cause was the employment in the area of Irishmen (over a decade
before the major potato blight forced many off the land).

Another interesting fact emerges from the 1833 survey. It is apparent that
Manchester markets were important to Cheshire farmers (although much of the
cheese was sold to factors who took it to London) & there were complaints
that they were having problems selling in Manchester because of competition
from Irish produce. This is a reversal of how Ireland is often seen at this

best wishes

Marjorie Ward
Derbyshire, UK
Hollingworth ONS
Sources for Disley; Lyme Handley; Taxal & Whaley
Sources for NWDby incl. Chapel; Charlesworth; Chinley; Fernilee; Glossop;
Hope Valley; Mellor & New Mills

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