Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Other crops & Comparative crop prices - mid C16th to C18th

Other crops
Hay seems to be the mainstay feed for horses and cattle. It was found on 50% of the inventories, in varying amounts, but had fallen slightly to 45% by the end of the period studied. It was still obviously an important winter animal feed, and was found in stacks, ricks, bottoms and parcels, as well as in barns.

In the late 16th and early 17th centuries there was a little hemp and flax grown, enough to provide cloth for the community. The plants were soaked in water and processed to make linen and hemp yarn, which was woven into cloth locally. Walter Saunders of Wychbold had hemp and flax both dressed and undressed at the time of his death. There were weavers and tailors living in Dodderhill in the 16th and 17th centuries, who plied their trade alongside their agricultural interests to supplement their income, especially during the winter months when there was little money to be made from the land. William Taylor of Hill End (1558) and George Sneape (1616) were both weavers who left £3 2s.8d and £7 12s.2d. respectively. William had a broad loom for weaving woollen cloth and 2 narrow looms for weaving linen cloth. George Sneap had only an old loom and gears worth 50s. and no animals, which suggests he was an old man at the time of his death. Tailors by comparison were wealthier; Walter Sanders (1564) left £33 11s., and Moses Everton (1696) left £33 6s.6d, although his inventory shows no evidence of his trade.

Comparative crop prices
There are only a few inventories that list acreage and value for crops, which means that it is difficult to compare prices. In April 1609, Thomas Lawe of Wychbold had 6 acres of ‘hard corn’ valued at £8. The most comprehensive inventory is that of William Geeves (1624) of Wychbold. He had 2½ acres of wheat and muncorn at £3, 11 acres of barley valued at £14. 3s.4d., and 3½ acres of oats and peas valued at £2 6s.4d. In May 1640, George Hill had 2 acres of winter corn worth £3 10s.

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