Category Archives: Agriculture

Nigel`s Notes on Agricultural Improvement in Shropshire 1813-1914

Aspects of Agricultural Improvement in Shropshire (1813 -1914)

Edited extracts from a dissertation submitted by Nigel J Hinton as part of the requirement for the degree of MA in West Midlands History.

University of Birmingham

17th September 2014

Abstract

This work is a micro study of agricultural improvement in Shropshire in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It comments on some key elements of improvement by owners, agents, farmers, breeders and others with a financial interest in agricultural in the areas of land, livestock and agricultural societies.

 Contents

Cover                                                                                                              1

Abstract                                                                                                           2

Contents                                                                                                         3

Abbreviations                                                                                                  4

Acknowledgements                                                                                        5

Introduction                                                                                                     6

Chapter 1 – Improvement – Land                                                                 15

Chapter 2 – Improvement – Livestock                                                           26

Chapter 3 – Improvement- Societies & Shows                                            36

Conclusion                                                                                                               48

Appendices

Tables & Illustrations                                                                                            54

Bibliography                                                                                                             

Abbreviations

Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England: JRASE

Royal Agricultural Society of England: RASE

Shropshire Archive: SA

Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture: SCoA

Shropshire & West Midlands Agricultural Society: SWMAS

Acknowledgements

Firstly I have to acknowledge and thank Dr Malcolm Dick for his enthusiastic support for the subject of Midland History. He is a superb supervisor. His combination of approachability and scholarship has made working on this dissertation a most enjoyable experience. His supervision has been supportive as he attempted to keep me focused on the title. I would also acknowledge the support received from Dr Matt Cole and other members of the staff at the University of Birmingham who have greatly added to my knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of our West Midlands history.

Thanks to the Trustees of the Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society who gave of their time freely and permitted me full access to their archive and gave permission to use some of their images. I would also commend the commitment of my fellow students over the last two years this has added to the enjoyment of this very special experience. In the course of the preparation of this dissertation I very much appreciate the help and assistance received from Mary Mackenzie and team at the Shropshire Archive. Other supporters include Dr Nigel Baker, Dr Roger White and the late Sylvia Watts.

During my time on the course I have reduced my other activities and would like to acknowledge the support from my many friends and business colleagues who kept more than a polite interest in my progress. These include the directors of Andrews, Orme & Hinton, Chartered Accountants, fellow Drapers, Shrewsbury Concert Band members and the Duffers.

History and its study has been very important to me it is a real pleasure to share this interest with my wife, Bridget, who is also a keen local historian and a qualified town guide in Shrewsbury, I could not have started and finished the course without her encouragement and full support.

Introduction

This work is a micro study of agricultural improvement in Shropshire in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It examines some of the people and organisations who were the key to improvement in Shropshire. The improvers included land owners, their agents, farmers, breeders and others with a vested interest in the success of the agricultural sector. The need for improvement followed a Board of Agriculture review of Shropshire, and recommendations were made by archdeacon Joseph Plymley and published in 1813. Plymley’s programme suggested the main themes for the three chapters of this dissertation as land, livestock and societies. The study seeks to answer these questions. To what extent were Plymley`s recommendations implemented? To what extent did investment in improvement achieve the expectations of land owners and farmers? To what extent did improvement continue and develop during the study period?  This chapter will look at how other writers have commented on improvement and offers a discussion on methodology and primary sources used.

Improvement was dependent on control of land. Open field systems, commons and waste land were not under control before enclosure gave it to new owners and farmers, as Robert Allen sets out in 2004, in his chapter on agriculture during the Industrial Revolution.[1] The Enclosure Acts were widely used throughout England and Wales but according to Trevor Rowley there was a difference in Shropshire, where much was achieved by agreement. He wrote extensively about this aspect of improvement in his work in 1982.[2] Rowley describes the enclosure of upper common land in detail, in his follow up volume in 1986.[3]

Henry C. Darby produced a paper for the British Agricultural History Society which looked at early topography in all the counties of England.[4] He quotes Henry Tanner, who produced the first topographical survey for Shropshire in 1858, in his award winning essay for the Royal Agricultural Society of England. It was Government policy to support under-draining of wet land by granting loans to land owners, in 1989 A.D.M. Philips published his findings, which analysed the government and other loan data to estimate the amount of under-draining done in England.[5]  James P. Bowen`s study of the impact of James Loch Chief Agent of the Lilleshall estate has made an important contribution to this micro study.[6]

The improvement of cattle by high levels of feeding to achieve higher levels of profit, described as high farming, was featured by Guy M. Robinson in 1983 in his study of West Midland farming from 1840s to 1970s[7].   He follows the section on high farming with a description of the great agricultural depression, but pointed out, it was not all doom and gloom for the increasingly profitable dairy farmer in North Shropshire, in the later period covered by this study.[8] J. Phillip Dodd contributed a study on high farming in Shropshire 1845-1870, and suggested that Shropshire`s mixed farmers were ideally placed to benefit from the move to high farming.[9] High farming was made practical by the coming of the railways to Shropshire after 1848, which led to reduced costs of transport of imported grain and also gave wider access to market for Shropshire produce as described by Barry Trinder in 1982.[10]

In 2004, David Wykes wrote a paper on Robert Bakewell, livestock improver, and his controversial methods of inbreeding will be contrasted with the development of Shropshire Sheep in the section on breeding improvement.[11] The success of Shropshire as a wool-producing area is evidenced in Mendenhall`s detailed study of the wool trade in Shropshire and the Marches.[12] Robin Hill described the development of the breed in an accessible way in his history of the Shropshire sheep written in 1984.[13]

Keith Ritherdon wrote about the background to the formation of the Shropshire & West Midlands Agricultural Society, SWMAS, and its first Show in 1875, in a centenary publication.[14] T.C. Morgan`s study of implements and machinery was set out in the same publication.[15] Although it was celebratory publication much of the material was written by local historians with access to original sources. Another celebration marked the 125th anniversary, and used material from the centenary publication, and was also published by SWMAS, written by local journalist Gordon Riley.[16] This included useful and previously unpublished material on agricultural engineer Thomas Corbett.[17] The Corbett family of Shrewsbury and Wellington had an impact on improvement of implements in the second half of the period and have been the subject of research by Tamsin Rowe.[18]

Christabel S. Orwin and Edith H. Whetham wrote a wide ranging history of British agriculture from the period following the repeal of the Corn Laws, it has useful references for the dissemination of knowledge by the Royal Agricultural Society of England and local references to Shropshire and Shropshire sheep[19] Heather Williams study of the history of the Harper Adams College includes a chapter on the life of the reclusive agriculturalist Thomas Harper Adams, 1817-92, whose estate funded the college. This study also highlights the important input from the Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture in the establishment of education for teachers in the county.

This micro study of Shropshire agriculture has been greatly assisted by being able to select from the rich seam of agricultural historiography from local historians, many of which have been published in Midlands History and the Agricultural History Review. The writer has not attempted to compare agricultural improvement in Shropshire with other midland counties, but this could be the subject of further study. More evidence of individual farmer’s profits in Shropshire would further enlighten this study and further analysis of the maintenance costs of draining would have been useful. The study will now move to discuss the methodology for utilising the primary source material.

The starting point for this study has been chosen as 1813. The date that archdeacon Joseph Plymley published his Agricultural Survey of Shropshire, this identifies the need for improvement in many aspects of agriculture.[20]

Plymley was not a full time farmer; he had some experience in managing the Church`s glebe land and was a member of the board of Agriculture. He acknowledged the original work done by John Bishton and his revised and standardised work could be seen as an edited edition of the 1803 publication. The advice is generic and because of the various types of land and soils varied, care had to be taken in the practical application of his recommendations. This study will use aspects of his book to form the chapter titles. This study will not pursue the wider interests of the moral welfare of farm labourers and their families, and will concentrate on the main improvement areas he identified. The records of the Lilleshall estate are held in the Shropshire Archives, SA, and these records will be used in the micro analysis of under draining and liming and manuring as improvement measures.[21]

The Lilleshall estate was owned by the Marquis of Stafford, and in 1820 he appointed the leading agent of the day, James Loch, to look after his estates in England and Scotland.    Some extracts of the accounts of the Home Farm for the 1840s have survived and were marked as being sent to Loch in February, 1849. [22]  The author has abstracted amounts of expenditure related to improvement and these throw light on the level of investment the Home Farm in the 1840s. The income and expenditure schedules as presented have been entered onto a spreadsheet and extracts have been included in this chapter on land.  Full extracts are included in the appendix. There are some questions that arise from the critical review of the income and expenditure statements and the findings are included in the first chapter of this work. After enclosure draining was the next most important element of improvement on wet lands and data has been extracted from the estate Draining Book to inform the study of the nature of land and the costs of improvement.[23]

The bi-annual journals produced by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) are substantial volumes edited by Philip Pusey, containing several hundred pages of articles, correspondence, reports, plans and illustrations, relating to local national and international agriculture. Two volumes have been selected for further analysis. 1850, as it includes recommendations for improvement to buildings and 1885, as it includes a report and criticism of one of Corbett`s implements shown in Shrewsbury the previous year.[24] This study will include extracts from the journal relating to prize winning essays and agricultural education. Matters relating to agricultural societies and agricultural shows were an important method of improvement used by societies as the way of disseminating knowledge.[25] These comprehensive journals were written by wealthy gentleman farmers for their peer group. The small farmers in Shropshire may have had limited access to the journals but some of the knowledge may have trickled down via agents and meetings of societies and agricultural shows.

There were a number of agricultural societies where only a trace remains in the Shropshire Archive and these have been selectively quoted from as they illuminate the improvement climate of the time. Included is a talk on Agricultural Chemistry by the Reverend C.A.A. Lloyd and delivered on the 3rd April 1840.[26] There was also a speech by Shrewsbury MP Benjamin Disraeli in 1846 on free trade,[27] and a printed version of a talk given by Jasper More MP, referring to Broseley pipes for use under the 5th clause of the Agricultural Holdings Act.[28]  The Marshbrook Agricultural Society reported on discussions with of the Royal Commission of Agriculture in 1879.[29]

Flock and herd book societies were published annually with details of the pedigree of breeding stock available and other information for breeders. Volume VII of the herd book of Hereford cattle was produced by T. Duckham in 1869, and although this was published for marketing purposes the content gives an insight into the competitive nature that existed amongst breeders of Hereford cattle.[30] The Flock Book of Shropshire Sheep was compiled by Alfred Mansell published in 1898.[31] A small uncatalogued and private archive of the Shropshire Bee-Keepers has been used to demonstrate another local contribution to improvement illustrating how knowledge has trickled down to the cottagers.[32] A flyer, for a bee-keeping competition, was found inside the cover of a manual of bee-keeping published in 1839.[33]  Extracts from a contemporary bee publication will be used to demonstrate the importance of education.[34] The source material described in the last two paragraphs are all published by groups with a limited perspective and narrow interest in their own chosen specialism , they contain propaganda and tend to report the positive aspects of organisations that produces them.

An uncatalogued library and archive of agricultural books, journals, papers, catalogues, illustrations and other material is held by the SWMAS in its offices in Shrewsbury.   This includes cash books with details of the monies received and paid are available in the original hand written cash books from 1874 until 1900. There are also audited statements of Income and Expenditure from 1875 for five years. These have been summarised on spreadsheets. The main sources of income and expenditure will be examined and further analysed.[35]

The success of the society can be illustrated by the numbers of members and from the summaries referred to above data on the number of members can be abstracted. Another pointer towards a successful show is the value of exhibitor’s fees, and whilst the number of entries can vary an overall trend can be established.[36] All committee reports and material produced by organisations depend on the skills and bias of the writers and care needs to be taken in the interpretation of such material.  The dissertation will examine the subjects for each chapter in the following way.

The first chapter examines the need for improvement of land and buildings identified by Plymley and his recommendations. Beginning with a brief examination of the management structure of the Lilleshall estate and then the study looks at other examples from Shropshire of the enclosure of waste, field systems and upper common land. Then a micro analysis of the draining work done on the heavy and stiff lands of farms on the Lilleshall estate follows. Then the chapter concludes by addressing the question what level of investment did owners and farmers make to improvement and to what extent did the investment in agricultural improvement achieve the returns they were expecting?

The second chapter examines improvement to stock by selective breeding and follows with a review of the work of Robert Bakewell and compare his methods with the development of a distinct breed of Shropshire sheep. This section will examine the development of the breeding and improvement of Hereford cattle. High farming was a method of improving returns from livestock was fashionable for a few decades from the 1840s. The essay answers the question what happened to profits and farm rents after the so called golden age?

The third chapter looks at the establishment of societies as lobby groups of farmers and the development of agricultural societies and shows. Innovation in the design of new implements was an important element of improvement and prizes were offered by show organisers for new implements. The study will answer how did the RASE respond to the increasing number of entries of new implements that did not feature new or improved technology?

The conclusion will answer to what extent Plymley`s recommendations were followed in Shropshire? Did the investment in improvement achieve the expected returns for land owners and farmers? Did improvement continue throughout the study period?  The writer hopes that the data abstracted from the Lilleshall estate and the SWMAS may add to the detailed knowledge of under-draining and the formation of societies as improvement in the period of study.  The conclusion will finish by making some recommendations as to what to do with the archive held by SWMAS.

Chapter 1: Improvement – Land

The need for improvement in all aspects of agricultural practice in England was the reason why the Board of Agriculture originally set up an agricultural review for each county in 1793.[37] In 1813, a revised and standardised edition of the second Shropshire Survey was based on the work of John Bishton ten years earlier, was published by archdeacon Plymley.[38] In the preface he stated that part of the Board`s objects were to improve conditions of labourers, their morals and their outward prosperity. He added that it was important for clergy to know about the management of glebe land and to see that it was properly cultivated. He concluded by stating that `the income from most livings was so small that the benefit of raising provisions from glebe or hired land had become requisite to the maintenance of Country Clergymen`.[39]

Plymley reviewed the geographical nature and agriculture in Shropshire and then made several recommendations. He identified shortcomings in most areas, beginning with land and property, farm buildings, occupation, costs of leases, tithes and the poor rate. He then looked at implements, enclosure and the management of land giving details of crops grown. Grass management, hay and feeding followed with sections on gardens orchards and wastes. His chapter on land improvement recommended draining, paring and burning, manuring weeding and watering and then his thoughts on live-stock and bees followed. His final chapter dealt with issues of the rural economy, labour, the poor and obstacles to improvement and he noted the absence of agricultural societies in the county.[40] This chapter will answer to what extent Plymley`s recommendations were followed and will review the return on investment for land owners and or farmers and assess evidence for improvement continuing throughout the study period?

The main source documents for this chapter relate to the Lilleshall estate and Plymley noted the importance of appointing good land agents.[41]  The Lilleshall Estate, had several farms and substantial interests in Industrial enterprises in and around the area of Ironbridge, with other estates and farm-land in Staffordshire and Scotland under one owner. George Granville Leverson-Gower, the marquis of Stafford, later the first duke of Sutherland,  He appointed James Loch as chief agent  in 1812, He was the leading exponent of estate management at the time.[42] As Loch was based in London, and had several estates to manage, he set up a management structure of local agents, who implemented his improving policies and became the contact point with the tenants of the estate.[43] This structural change meant that the farmers had less contact with the land owner and the new agents became an elite group in rural society.[44]

Loch`s improvement programme continued with the policy of land consolidation and acquisition, with the aim of increasing the size of the estate farms. Plymley had recommended that any new farm house should be constructed in the centre of the farm land, rather than at one end of it or in the village. Preferably it should be built on high ground so that water would drain away from the fold yard.[45] By 1820 Loch had already instituted some major reorganisation of the estate and had built new farmsteads in local parishes around Lilleshall, including Edgmond, Ercall Magna, and Sheriffhales.[46] His private enclosure program reorganised fields into rectangular shapes of a good size, existing land holdings and waste land were acquired if available. His improvements included the building of new roads leading to the new centrally located farmsteads, so that access was improved and less time was wasted travelling between farm house and field.[47]

Loch achieved some success in his policy of consolidation and rebuilding as is illustrated in the figures quoted by James Bowen. The number of farms in the manor of Lilleshall had fallen to 18 by 1839 with an average size of 228 acres compared with 25 farms with an average size of 160 acres in 1804.[48] Loch believed that tenants holding tenancies for life were not profitable but of course tenants differed. Some farms held under long leases gave the tenants security, some invested in improvement, others were indolent and they exhausted the land and let the farmsteads run down. This was also the case in other parts of the county as on the Craven estate in South Shropshire, and mentioned by Plymley.[49]

As these long leases came up for renewal many tenants found their new lease was for just twelve months and this change enabled the agent to renegotiate the rent annually in line with current market conditions and to remove unsatisfactory tenants.[50] The structure Loch put in place incurred extra costs as more agents were appointed, however these costs were supposed to be offset by increased rentals received from the increased size of farms and by charging market rents, the writer has not seen evidence of this.

Outside of the large estates some of the small farms and villages in Shropshire, were still farming on open-field systems and grazed their stock on common land, to improvers this was inefficient.. Rowley comments that the enclosure of open-fields by agreement in Shropshire is in marked contrast to other Midland counties. He highlights only one Shropshire example of enclosure of open fields by Act of Parliament in the nineteenth century, that being Sheinton in 1813.[51] However, he states that with regards to open commons on upland moors, during the Napoleonic wars, they were seen by agricultural commentators as not reaching their cultivation potential. Thirty-seven Acts of Parliament for enclosure of upland commons were brought in during the time of war or threat thereof. Later more legislation followed the last being in July 1891, on the common in Llanfair Waterdine.[52]

Independent commissioners were appointed to supervise the process of enclosure, and they allocated parts to the freeholders, a surveyor was appointed to `form roads at least forty feet wide` and the costs of enclosure were met by selling off part of the land, the squatters and poor were the losers.[53] There was a formal process of consolidation which Plymley set out as `the appointment of commissioners to make such improvements when called upon to do so by the persons forming the majority of landed property`.[54] Whilst this process benefitted land owners and farmers enclosure and consolidation were controversial, as in some cases the process led to the demise of many small rural hamlets. As in the case of the enclosure of the remaining ninety one acres of Balaam`s Heath, in Tugford, in 1815. Seventy-three acres were allotted to Lord Craven and the remainder to six other freeholders, after consolidation of land and the building of new roads the hamlet of Baucott was reduced to two tenants by 1841 compared with eight in 1770.[55]

The new owners set about improving their newly acquired land, they started by erecting new fencing and consolidated their lands where practical. Many Shropshire villages were owned and acquired by the great estates. Trinder distinguishes between `open` Villages that were inhabited by small freeholders and `closed` villages that were owned and controlled by the great estates or squires. Only essential estate workers were allowed to live in the closed villages and the more casual workers travelled in from the open villages. Trinder suggests this was done to keep the costs of poor relief down, he adds that in the period between 1831-1871, properties in the closed villages were demolished when they became vacant, and he lists a number of Shropshire villages where this happened, including Ditton Priors, Eaton-under-Heywood and Stoke on Tern and others.[56] By 1873 the great landowners of Shropshire owned 51.59% of the land, compared with the average for England and Wales of 41.18%.[57]

Not all landlords demolished property and indeed some appear to have been more enlightened, as evidenced by the new `Model cottages` built for the labourers in the closed villages at Dudmaston, Caynham Court and Alberbury.[58] Some of the labourer`s children from the age of 12 or 13 worked as indoor servants for some farmers and at Huck`s Barn, Richards Castle, five farm labourers lived in with the farmer and his family. However the aspirations of farmers towards gentrification saw this practice decline after the 1860`s.[59] At this time children`s lives were subject to the demands of agriculture and the season. Education had become compulsory but frequently took second place to the economic need for the children to earn money for the family. It was difficult for labouring poor parents who had to pay for the school but needed the income to make household budgets balance.[60]

Having enclosed the land the next task was to improve the condition of the soil to make it suitable for arable or to improve its condition to grow grass. Darby looked at early topography in all the counties of England. He quotes Tanner, `there is a variety of types of soil in Shropshire`.[61]  The available statistics (see next section) show that at least 50% of the land in Shropshire was wet and therefore needed draining. The next section will undertake an in-depth review of under-draining and use the Lilleshall Estate Home Farm as an example of expenditure on improvement.

Phillips writing in 1990 said that land draining was an important improvement undertaken in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and it came to the fore in the nineteenth centuries.[62] Underdraining became a panacea for farmers of wet lands. Phillips quotes Chambers and Mingay: `under-draining is a major technical element of the agricultural revolution`.[63] In most areas the land could be described as wet. How much of the wet land was drained? What were the effects farming practices in the areas that had been drained? Contemporary estimates of the area drained vary and are unreliable; Phillips uses J Bailey Denton as an example of the difficulties. In 1842, as a young drainage engineer Denton estimated that 10 million out of 12 million acres of arable in Great Britain should be drained. By 1880 he revised his estimate upwards, stating that some 3 million acres out of 20 million acres, requiring drainage had been drained.[64]

Denton`s figures are unreliable according to Philips, as they varied and he changed his methods of calculation.[65] However he reports that his is the only detailed analysis available for the nineteenth century, which shows a breakdown by county or county groups, with a comparison of the situation in 1855 and 1883. The figures for Shropshire are included with Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire and for 1855 of 2,666,500 Total acres with wet-lands of 1,497,000 and 56.1% in 1883 Denton quoted total acres of 2,715,200 with wet-lands as 1,450,000 53.4%.[66] It would be preferable to have another source to corroborate the figures and any conclusions should be drawn with caution.

To avoid the problem of basing his assessment on estimates Phillips has used contemporary government data relating to the land–improvement legislation in his work. He has used money advanced from government and other lenders to land owners for expenditure on draining as the basis of calculations of the area drained. His detailed analysis of money advanced under the various schemes follows. The sources of loan capital were from 1) Public Money Draining Acts, 2) General Land Drainage Company 3) Land Improvement Co 4) Land Loan Co, and 5) Improvement of Land Act. He has also further analysed the data by county and calculated expenditure per acre of soil with impeded drainage. Shropshire appears to have made good use of the schemes.

Phillip`s tables show that in the period 1847-1899 Shropshire land owners were granted loans amounting to £233,972 for expenditure solely on draining. Shropshire was the county that borrowed the third largest amount after Northumberland £698,786 and Yorkshire £671,641.[67] Shropshire land owners borrowed a further £147,574 for combined loans for draining and other improvements. Again Shropshire land owners borrowed the third highest amount behind Yorkshire £172,872 and closely behind Northumberland £145,647.[68] Within the county, the larger estates applied for the largest loans and of the eight owners with large estates over 10,000 acres, seven of them used loans.[69] In Shropshire the smaller holders did not take up loans, there were 3841 owners that held less than 99 acres and only .1% that is 31 land owners borrowed money.[70] He concludes that about 4.5 million acres were drained or 35 per cent of the total wet-land area in the period 1845 and 1899.[71]

It is clear from those figures that the estates were committed to draining but clearly almost all of the small farmers did not borrow money and a question remains as to whether they did any draining work themselves or not?

Extracts from the Draining Book 1846 where the nature of the soil has been described[72]

The writer concludes that from an analysis of the figures extracted from the Lilleshall Estate Draining Book for 1846 it clearly throws light onto the nature of the soil being drained. As would be expected from a draining book most of the soil is described as stiff with clay and rocks. Looking at the field names it can be seen that in February and March Harriet Belliss had draining work done in fields named `New Enclosure` no 49-52 on her farm in Wappenshall. Of course this year 1846/47, may not be representative, but the main months for draining work were in early spring when the ground was fairly dry in February, March, April and May and again August & September.  A number of the tenants were female.

The next detailed work was a review of the expenditure on the Home Farm. The following extracts are taken from a bundle of Lilleshall estate papers and relate to the expenditure analysis of the Home Farm accounts. They have been marked as sent to James Loch in February 1849. The full expenditure is shown in the appendix but these figures show expenditure on improvement, including draining and lime and manure. Note the figures for 1851 were in the same bundle and have been included for completeness.

Extracts from the expenditure of Home Farm Lilleshall estate.[73]

From the information in the above table, the writer has concluded that expenditure on draining substantially increased in 1846 and 1847. The average expenditure on draining in the five years to 1847 was £280, which was14.56% of the average total expenditure. There are notes in the financial statements which show the amount spent on draining is added back to the profit.[74] The writer also noted that in 1851 there was no expenditure on draining work at all at Home Farm, this is after the figures were submitted to Loch in 1849 and this observation would need further work to establish if there was a change in policy or just a temporary pause.

The writer also be concluded that the percentage of total expenditure on manure and lime increases from 6.30% in 1843 and is more than doubled in the years after 1845. This could mean the expenditure in 1843 and 1844 was low or later there was a significant price increase or there was a greater emphasis on the importance of manure and lime. The writer`s conclusion is that in the period 1843-1847, the Home Farm spent an average of 12.51% of total costs on lime and manure and an average of 12.29% on draining. This equates to almost 25% of the total expenditure of the Home Farm in the years under review, this level of investment shows the commitment to improvement.

Plymley gave specific broad suggestions for the timing of farming work.[75]  This gave farmers some discretion to adjust for local climatic conditions and the timing of a particular season. The location of the farm land had a bearing on the temperature of the soil. He also recommended that a rotation of crops would be beneficial to the land and he followed the rotation suggested by Mr Harris.[76] Clover was followed by Wheat which was followed by Barley or Oats then Clover, Pease would also follow clover before wheat. Plymley had the answer for everything including grass Improvement of pastures and meadows.[77]

This chapter has examined aspects of improvements in land and to answer the question did the investment show an increased return we refer to Richards. He stated that the farm rental income on the Lilleshall estate increased to £24,772 in 1817 of this 20% related to non-agricultural rents and did not achieve that figure again until 1841 and by 1855 rental of £27,800 was achieved including industrial rents that contributed about one third of the total.[78] Therefore agricultural rents had lost considerable ground. A long-term view was taken that returns would come through in future; the psychic well-being was seen by some land owners as a return equal to the economic.[79] Further work would be needed to establish that the policy of appointing agents and moving to short term leases increased the profitability of the estate. From the micro analysis of the Home Farm information in the five year period to 1847 it was demonstrated that 25% of total costs were spent on improvement.

The focus of this first chapter was on preparing the land to increase output, the next chapter will ask if Plymley`s recommendations were followed as regards the improvement of livestock.

Chapter 2: Improvement – Livestock

Enclosure brought control of the land and offered choice as to how it was husbanded.[80] The first part of this chapter examines the selective breeding of livestock that resulted in improved breeds of cattle and sheep.[81] The work of Robert Bakewell, the eighteenth century breeding pioneer, is compared with the development of the Shropshire sheep. High farming, a fashionable improvement technique, from 1850-1870, is considered in the next section. The third section examines the benefits that the general decline in grain prices brought to the resourceful dairy farmers of north Shropshire. This chapter will ask to what extent were Plymley`s recommendations followed in relation to livestock improvement? Did the investment in livestock improvement achieve the expected returns for owners and farmers? Did livestock improvement continue throughout the study period?

Wykes re-assessment of Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) in 2004, informs us his father and grandfather, were enlightened improvers.[82] Robert`s father, `a most ingenious and able farmer` encouraged him to make a tour around the this country Ireland and Holland, to learn what other farmers were doing.[83] Bakewell enjoyed some early success in 1763 as a breeder of prize-winning horses.[84] He achieved the qualities he was looking for in livestock by in-breeding within families, and particularly sheep.[85] His Leicesters reached maturity and could be ready for the butcher as early as 27 months, about the time of second shearing.[86]

The breed had other problems, as well as the concerns of consanguinity, it had low fecundity and rarely had more than one lamb and was described as `delicate and unhealthy`[87] Its lack of wool was due to changes in diet, as sheep started to be fed with turnips and coleseed, when grass was scarce.[88]   Inbreeding and associated problems can be contrasted with the development of the Shropshire sheep, which was achieved by centuries of natural selection, which may have included some in-breeding.

In Shropshire and the marches wool and woollen cloth produced from local sheep have been economically important to the region for centuries, as `much of upland Wales is good for nothing but cattle grazing and especially the grazing of sheep`.[89] These upland-sheep had developed similar characteristics in several areas of heath and common land in the Marches, Shropshire and Staffordshire.[90] Hill quotes William Youatt writing in 1878 `The cultivation of the sheep and the manufacture of the fleece have, from the earliest period of history, formed the most important branches of the agriculture and commerce of Great Britain`.[91]

Some breeding improvements had been made and the Shropshire sheep was now described as having black legs and faces and a fleece that gave between 6-8 lbs of wool of best quality. Broad shoulders, well covered ribs, a long and level back and very heavy hindquarters, average weight at sixteen months 20-22 lbs per quarter.[92] Alfred Mansell wrote, in his history of the breed in 1913, that at the 1857 meeting of the RASE two Shropshire Breeders won two first and one second prize and Mr Adney`s shearling ram was afterwards let for the season to Lord Aylesford for 65 guineas.[93] In 1859 RASE had given the Shropshire sheep their own class for competition.[94]

In November 1862 the Parlington Tenant Farmers Club conducted a second grazing experiment with four breeds of sheep to see which would most profitably adapt to their locality.  The results confirmed results from the first experiment that the Shropshire put on most weight between May 20th and October 20th in 1862. [95]

Results of test by Parlington Tenant Farmers Club November 1862

Table of weight increase

The writer concludes from this trial that a comparison of the weights above clearly demonstrates the value of improvement but no information is available on the costs of this improvement in terms of higher inputs or consumption of feed. Questions will remain unanswered about the selection of the twelve sheep and their history.

Robinson endorses the value of inputs and writes that local breeds had been improving by crossing with Southdown breeds and that the Shropshire Down breed gained from the rise in wool and mutton prices in the golden age.[96]

In 1882, the Shropshire was the first breed of sheep to have its own flock book and an early compiler was previously mentioned, local auctioneer Alfred Mansell, College Hill, Shrewsbury[97] The flock book provided a listing of animals and their owners together with some details of the pedigree of the animal. Flock books contain useful information about the breed and news of prize winners.[98] These books were written by the compiler who like Mansell would have a vested interest in the success of the breed.  They were used by subscribers as advertising the quality of their rams and they gave information to breeders who were looking to improve their own herds and their own for stock for breeding.[99] In 1887 Mansell wrote in his report that in spite of the depression, the long drought and the shortage of winter Shropshire sheep have maintained their reputation as producers of mutton for the million, and had won many awards at recent shows.[100]

The cattle equivalent of the flock book is a herd book and Ritherdon claims an element of the improvement in Hereford cattle for Shropshire, stating that Mr T.C. Eyton of Eyton Hall, Shropshire[101], obtained the information and produced the first two volumes of the Herd Book of Hereford Cattle in 1845 and 1846.[102] The Hereford bull was a bred as a draught animal and has the distinction of colour-marking the next generation, with the distinctive white face, irrespective of the colour or breed of cow he serves.[103] After 1865 the US and Canadian government offered inexpensive land for settlement made practical as  the railway pushed west and with the buffalo almost extinct there was space by the 1870s for cattle to be farmed and many Hereford bulls were exported.[104] Some of the exported animals owners entered them into herd books. As in this example in 1869 from Canada, `Hebe the Second` bred by Mr F.W.Stone, Moreton Lodge, Guelph, Canada West, the property of Mr Cochrane, Compton, Canada East.[105] The gentlemen farmers of Shropshire were interested enough to add details of their cattle including Lord Berwick of Cronk Hill, near Shrewsbury.[106]

Hereford Ox at Four Years Old Winner of the Gold Medal Smithfield Club 1868[107]

Another element of improvement was launched nationally by Philip Pusey of (RASE), in 1842, the same year the Rothamstead Experimental Station was started up and its reports of the experiments were included in the Journal of RASE.[108] The system of High Farming involved feeding high levels of inputs such as oil cake to cattle. This high level of feeding produced high quality dung, which enriched the arable land, that was used to grow feed for the livestock, which grew bigger and quicker than with traditional methods, this virtuous circle produced increased returns to the farmer.[109] Robinson sees high farming, as it developed in the West Midlands, in the 1850s and 1860s as requiring an increase in investment from the farmer as he had to operate a more intensive system of feeding more cattle per acre, which meant more cake was consumed, which in turn increased dung and thus improved the condition of the soil.[110]

Dodd suggests that the county`s mixed farmers were ideally placed to benefit from a move to high farming.[111] Robinson states that this higher investment from the farmer resulted in higher profits because he was able to produce more and was able to access a larger market, thanks to the railways, due to the population growth in the towns and cities of the West Midlands.[112] Trinder agrees that high farming was facilitated by the coming of the railways to Shropshire after 1848, leading to reduced costs of transport for inputs of feed and fertiliser but also saved on transport costs and provided access to wider markets.[113]  Dodd writes that the details of availability and price of artificial fertilisers were reported in the local press. Liverpool was the main port of entry for Peruvian guano, River Plate cattle bones Linseed and cotton seed cake and could be all delivered by rail.[114]

The benefits of these and other high feeds were the subject of correspondence and reports under the title of `Rape-Cake as Food for Stock` was started by Pusey and received copies of correspondence from Charnock.and Milburn.  Charnock stated his land was inferior but that he stocked heavily, he went on to give details of his feeding regime of half a pound for each ewe each day. He left the stock in the field which saved transporting manure compared with an indoor system and he had kept statistics which show his losses were lower than previous systems. To summarise 1) Sheep were given cake all the year round.2) The health of the flock was above an ordinary standard. 3) The subsequent corn crops were superior 4) `By feeding on the land the cost of cartage was saved and the manure was distributed in the most uniform manner`.[115]  In a lecture Duckham recommended changing the feed for stock and did not believe in giving excessive quantities of cake as it may exceed the assimilating powers of the animal and valuable matter passes into manure.[116]

Some Shropshire farmers were not convinced of the benefits of high farming and Tanner said that the costs of extra feeding and the extra work and cost involved with taking feed into the cattle and then removing the manure to put onto the land double expenses.[117]  Tanner added that farmers in parts of south-east Shropshire were too reliant on arable and economically unbalanced and conversion to grassland would be a great boon. Dodd concludes this started a progressive change across Shropshire and low yielding arable was converted into grassland in the period 1850 -1870. The agent of the Clive estate in South Shropshire reported lime and manure was needed to improve the existing permanent grassland. Clive promoted grassland improvement and with the coming of the railways, see Trinder above, Clive was able to get artificial fertiliser onto his land.[118]

The twenty years after 1850 has been described as a golden age of farming and land ownership as higher rents followed draining improvement. Farmers were able to use railways to get their products to markets further afield and the increasing population of the towns and cities of the West Midlands demanded more and better quality food. This was surprising as it followed the repeal of the Corn Laws and improved communications should have driven prices down, but the Americans were occupied in Civil War and the Crimean War interrupted supplies from Europe, so markets were enjoying good prices.[119] Another stimulus to farming growth brought about by the coming of the railways was the development of the fresh milk market for delivery into towns, this helped the outlying dairy farmers and the Shorthorn breed was developed for milk and beef as their Cheshire cheese products could get to the West Midlands.[120]

By 1856-7 the grain price fell almost 20% from 69s.2d. per quarter to 56s. 4d.and after 1861 prices did not achieve previous levels and Shropshire farmers started grassing down arable to permanent pasture land.[121] But the graziers had their own problems and serious cattle plague hit Shropshire in 1865-7. It was first noticed in London in June 1865, with the death of large numbers of dairy cattle, a quarter of a million animals were slaughtered or died in the first year, and it quickly spread to the Midlands.[122] This had a longer term benefit for rural milk producers as there was a move away from milk production in towns and cities.

By 1870, Dodd states, everywhere in Shropshire except for the grass regions of Whitchurch and the hill region of south west Shropshire, the less productive arable land was being grassed down, with reductions of 20% in the southern and central wheat lands to 40% in Oswestry and Whitchurch areas.[123] This was timely as Robinson states cereal prices `fell dramatically from the early 1870s`at the same time grain imports were increasing as freight rates were also coming down, this had the effect of reducing the price of wheat in the West Midland markets  by over £1 between 1870 & 1900.[124]

Nationally these price reductions discouraged grain farmers and encouraged more imports, so that by 1880 more than 25% of the agricultural produce consumed in Britain was imported This was serious enough to warrant the setting up of a Royal Commission on the `Depressed Condition of Agricultural Interests` it met in 1880-82. The depression was felt most, on heavy land and on the poorer light soils in the east of the country. Between 1875 and 1895 the move away from arable increased the amount of pasture by 2.7 million acres and extended dairy and cattle farming. Fortunately this helped cattle farmers as there was an increased customer demand for young beef cattle to be ready at two years old.[125]

The fall in wheat prices had consequences for landlords. Locally in Bridgnorth and South Shropshire the fall in wheat prices from 60s. per qtr to 40s.between 1870 and 1890 was reflected in a report of the chairman of the joint committee of Shropshire County Council and the Chamber of Agriculture. W H Lander, reported to the Royal Commission on the Agricultural Depression, rents in Bridgnorth and Shifnal had fallen temporarily by between 10% and 40% and 10% permanent reductions.[126] The fall on Sutherland`s farms rented out for more than £50 was 14.65 per cent in the period 1873-7 and 1896-1900.

In north Shropshire the dairy farmers were doing well with an occasional downward swing. Robinson reports the results for Peatswood Farm, Tyrley near Market Drayton with profits in 1881-5 at £88 per annum. They then increased in 1891-5 to £351 per annum and then in 1901-5 increased further to £545 per annum. Robinson noted a downswing in the mid-1890s.[127] On the Sutherland estates as dairying was manageable on less acreage, farms were being divided into smaller units in the 1870s and 1880s.[128] A contrast to the expansion in the days of James Loch described in the first chapter.

Cattle farming required less labour than arable and although agricultural wages had increased in the 1870s, they fell in the 1880s, and did not increase much until after 1900.[129] Since the 1870s there had been a decline in the numbers employed in agriculture. Labourers left the countryside to work for higher wages in factories in the towns and cities. Some farmers invested the savings on wages on new equipment and agricultural machinery and this trend of increasing mechanisation continued although this study will not be exploring the development and agricultural uses of steam.

Plymley`s recommendations were still valid but as so often happens in agriculture the market had changed so that by the time the Royal Agricultural Society of England made its third visit to Shrewsbury in 1914 agriculture represented about 10% of GNP compared with 33% in 1800.[130] In the 1850s the coming of the railways had opened up new markets in the towns and cities of the West Midlands for Shropshire farmers. But then, after the American Civil War, in the 1870s railway technology had spread across North America and reduced the costs of imported wheat which flooded into the UK. The technology of refrigeration and deep freezing enabled the North Americans and Canadians to start shipping meat products to the UK. Later Wool was shipped from Australia and New Zealand and dairy products from Canada and Europe.[131] This competition reduced wheat and wool prices by 40% and butter and cheese prices fell by 25%.

To conclude this chapter on livestock the writer concludes that livestock improvement was essential and profitable for Shropshire`s mixed farmers and the farmers who grassed over their marginal land if they found markets for their cattle and sheep. So to this extent Plymley`s recommendations continued to be followed where they had become best practice. In Shropshire there was great support for the development of Shropshire Sheep and Hereford cattle and to answer did the investment in livestock improvement achieve the expected returns for breeders and farmers the answer is yes. Certainly for the top breeders who were able to command top fees for their rams, as illustrated by the fee for a ram for the season of sixty five guineas paid by Lord Aylesford.  Livestock improvement continued throughout the study period and was given impetus by the flock books and their own breeding societies. The study will now move to the third chapter to review the contribution to improvement made by agricultural societies who put on agricultural shows where the agricultural implements were shown and livestock competed for prizes.

Chapter 3: Improvement – Societies

Plymley stated, in his review published in 1813, that there were no agricultural societies based in Shropshire, although Shifnal and Market Drayton had affiliations to Staffordshire based societies.[132] This chapter will examine to what extent were Plymley`s recommendations were followed by the setting up of agricultural and related societies in Shropshire.  The second section of this chapter will examine how effective were agricultural shows, organised by some societies, as a method of communications of improvement ideas, and to ask if standards were improved by competition.  The final section of this study will examine the contribution made by agricultural implements to improvement in Shropshire

One of the early references to an agricultural society in Shropshire Archive is the `Shropshire Agricultural Society in 1845`[133] this is in the Eyton Family papers and there is an opportunity for further research.[134] The Royal Agricultural Society of England, (RASE) was formed in 1838 had the motto `Practice with Science`.[135] Supported by the nobility, the owners of the great estates and gentlemen farmers, the Royal Agricultural Society of England contributed greatly to improvement when it established prizes for essays on agricultural practice and published them its journal.[136] Prizes were awarded at its annual show for other improvements, including livestock and the design of new implements.

RASE visited Shrewsbury three times in the period under review and held agricultural shows in Shrewsbury. In four years leading up to the show in 1884 R. Jasper More reported the Shropshire membership of RASE as follows in 1880:420, 1881:396, 1882:382, 1883:371.[137] The programme of the RASE meeting held on the Racecourse on Monkmoor Street in Shrewsbury in 1914 started on Saturday with the exhibition of implements and systems only. It was then open to the public on five days starting on Monday, on Wednesday there was a lecture on Bee Management and in the working dairy there was a demonstration of the butter making using French and Danish methods.[138]

The start-up of RASE may have encouraged a number of other agricultural societies and groups to become interested in agricultural improvement, such as the Wenlock Farmers Club in 1843, the year before the Central Farmers Club of London.[139] Other organisations arranged talks on agricultural topics, for example a talk on `Agricultural Chemistry` by the Reverend C.A.A. Lloyd and delivered on the 3rd April 1840.[140] Other individuals such as the Honourable Thomas Kenyon offered a two sovereigns prize to the cottagers of Oswestry if they would adopt a new plan for managing bees, this illustrates the trickle down of knowledge from Gentry to cottager.[141]

Speeches made by members of parliament and agricultural leaders were printed and sold. Such as a speech in Parliament on 20th February 1846 by Shrewsbury MP Benjamin Disraeli in the debate on `Free Trade`, he spoke against repeal of the Corn Laws and this was printed and sold on behalf of by the Shropshire Agricultural Protection Society.[142]

At this time agricultural societies were being formed to discuss matters of agricultural interest, to support agricultural research and to lobby parliament. In 1866 the first meeting of the Central Chamber of Agriculture was held in London, and the first chairman was Mr A. Pell of the Northampton Chamber and Mr R. Jasper More, MP for south Shropshire, was elected Vice Chairman.[143] The Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture, (SCofA) was formed two weeks later, it is now the only survivor of the many county Chambers of Agriculture that formed in the nineteenth century and affiliated to the Central Chamber of Agriculture in London.[144]

The farmers of Shropshire gathered at the George Hotel, Shrewsbury in August 1866 to form the SCofA. A number of issues had been giving them cause for concern including, the commutation of tithes, the enclosure of common land and the repeal of the Corn Laws. But according to Ingleson, the tipping point had been reached in 1865, when the cattle plague hit Shropshire. It brought home to every farmer that they had no one to represent their interests inside or outside parliament.[145] It was serious for Shropshire, as by March 1866 3,406 cattle had been slaughtered, 2,742 had died, 788 recovered and only 347 were unaffected, [146]

The Shropshire Chambers had two objectives set out by the Chairman Mr J Bowen Jones. 1) Political action to hold and improve our position with regard to other interests that have accomplished a reduction in taxes. 2)  General improvement of agriculture and the accompanying advancement of the respective interests concerned with the land.[147] The Chamber grew to have 612 members, the largest membership in the country, and it supported the idea of an agricultural show in Shropshire.

On 17th December 1873, in Eddowe`s Shrewsbury Journal, the editor praised the quality of entries in a pre-Christmas show and sale of fatstock, held on the previous Friday. He mooted the idea of making an annual show of mutton and beef. He then commented on the positive support received from local landlords and traders who helped the promoter with prize money. The editor continued that Shrewsbury was the natural centre of a great feeding district unsurpassed for quality and quantity and that, surely, the breeders and feeders would prefer an exhibition in their own neighbourhood.[148] The following week J. Bowen-Jones, a leading agriculturalist in the county, who later became president of the Shropshire Sheep Breeders` Association and Flock Book Society, supported the idea in a letter to the editor. He then commented the fact of Shropshire not having a county society, or forming part of an area of a still larger one, is a standing reproach to the agriculturalists of this important agricultural county. He ends his letter by saying that he is sure there would be co-operation between landowners and practical farmers, and that such a show would be of substantial benefit to agriculture of the north-west and west-midlands districts.[149]

Thomas Corbett, proprietor of Corbett and Peek, Perseverance Ironworks, Shrewsbury, a manufacturer of agricultural implements and secretary of SCofA was in agreement with the idea of a show and he agreed to raise the matter at the next meeting of the SCoA. He offered to be secretary of the new show without charge for the first year. A meeting was held on Tuesday 20th January 1874, the day of the annual dinner, with the president, Mr R Jasper More, in the chair, Mr J Bowen Jones spoke on the desirability of forming a large Agricultural Society for Shropshire and adjoining districts. After discussion some members said that it should not just be for Shropshire but is should be for the West Midlands. [150]

A sub-committee of members was appointed to look at the whole question of a show. Eddowes`s Journal commented in the changing phases of practical agriculture:

Whether we like it or not, we shall be forced to regard it as a national industry and partially scientific profession. We have noticed that at local shows little encouragement to improved agricultural implements and too much attention paid to leaping contests for hunters.[151]

According to Ritherdon not all of the public were thrilled to be having an agricultural show in the Quarry in Shrewsbury and one objected to using the most beautiful park in England half of which will be boarded up for months just for a two day show.[152]

On 26th January 1875 the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, the Rt Hon. The earl of Bradford, was elected as patron and Thomas Corbett as honorary secretary and a list of over 1300 rules was approved and the Shropshire & West Midlands Agricultural Society was formed. The first show was to held in Shrewsbury in 1875 and needed the support of the Shrewsbury Council

They paid the agreed amount the first show was a financial success. The writer would point out that analysis of the figures shows that there would be a substantial loss without the contribution from the host town and donations from other sponsors. The membership Income Subscriptions and Donations have been summarised for the first year and in 1874/5 there were 375 members who paid a subscription of £1. Other monies were received amounting to £41.77 and donations amounting to £403.18.[153]

The writer has analysed the results of SWMAS for the first five years and the moves around the county achieved mixed results. The show in 1876 at Oswestry lost £235 and in 1877 in Whitchurch made a small surplus of £41, in 1878 Ludlow made a surplus of £432, and the show returned to Shrewsbury in 1879. Data has been abstracted from the general cash book and comparisons can be made between the shows income and expenditure for the first five years.[154]

Press comments were favourable, in one editorial on second day of the show, the improvements in the agricultural situation of 1875 were compared with 1845 when the Royal Show was previously held in Shrewsbury.

Jasper More commented about the changes in agriculture “the well-furnished farmstead has a battery of machinery. Science had invaded the farm, consulting chemists analyse drainage water and veterinary surgeons are retained to make diagnosis upon subjects of mysterious disease”

After supporting the launch of SWMAS the SCoA began to interest itself and support technical agricultural education. After a meeting with Mr Buckmaster of the Department of Science and Art in 1879, the Chamber invited school masters to qualify as teachers of agricultural science and develop classes for the sons of farmers.[155]  Nine years later it lobbied for the establishment of agricultural and dairy schools to be implemented nationally. In 1890, together with members of SWMAS, a deputation was sent to the Technical and Educational Sub-committee of Salop County Council, to support grants to provide instruction in agricultural science subjects and practical farm-work, and for the establishment of dairy institutes.[156] This sub-committee was set up to allocate the spending of the so called `whiskey money`, following collection of extra duties on beer and spirits, and allocated to Shropshire by central government for technical education.[157]

With the support of the Chamber a dairy college at Radbrook in Shrewsbury opened its doors to girls from rural areas in 1901. They were trained in domestic science and dairy work on the dairy farm based at the college.[158] In the same year on 26th September, again with the support of the Chamber of Agriculture, Harper Adams College officially opened its doors to students.  Thomas Harper Adams, died in June 1982 and his will stated that his estate should be used for teaching practical and theoretical agriculture in England. His niece, Mary Ann Minor challenged the will on the grounds of his insanity, after a legal wrangle she accepted a settlement £11,000 and costs, an amount that equated to her mother`s dowry, acquired by Adams on his marriage.[159] He was a controversial character and locally unpopular but his legacy, the balance of his estate £45,496, went to found Harper Adams College.[160]

The third part of this chapter will look at the changes brought about by improved design of agricultural equipment and ask if there was real improvement or was it just simply an expression of marketing?  Thomas Corbett was a Shropshire man that designed many implements and the chapter will analyse the contribution agricultural engineering made to improvement. Thomas came from a family of agricultural engineers and when he set up his business in 1865 in Shrewsbury it was in direct opposition to his family in Wellington.

In the early days he sold his products through Richard Chipchase, of Albert Street and Castle Foregate Shrewsbury and they worked together until 1877.[161] Thomas worked with another seller, Arthur John Peele, until 1881.  Thomas then became sole proprietor of the firm. He was a successful marketer and a good designer.[162]

Thomas Corbett`s design for a winnower No 2435, in JRASE.[163]

See next page

Other companies saw the value of winning prizes, including Ransomes of Ipswich, they entered teams in ploughing contests, they signed up the best ploughmen for their company.[164] Thomas claimed his machines had won many prizes at the Great Clunside Match, the Marshbrook Match and many others including Ludlow, Knighton, Tenbury and Wenlock.[165]

Thomas Corbett was not always successful and on one occasion he was severally criticised by the judge for his Three-Horse Whippletree No 2438. It was entered at the RASE show at Preston in 1885. The implement judge reported in the Journal of RASE:

“It will be seen that this is a very ingenious arrangement, and in their 4 horse version even more complex. No horse has its two traces attached to the same whippletree, the consequence being that with every variation of draught each horse has one trace taut and the other one slack, — a fatal defect.”[166]

Thomas Corbett – The fatally defective whippletrees No 2438.[167]

In the same publication the senior steward of the Implement section, the Hon Cecil T. Parker, commented that exhibitors were still claiming that they were entering some of their articles as `New Implements` `without considering their claim to rank as such`. The new rule agreed at Shrewsbury in 1884, was that entrants had to deposit £1 for each new implement, this ruling reflected in the numbers of new entries in 1885 at just over 100, which was down to one third of previous year’s total, the judges and stewards retained the deposits of several entrants.[168]

The Marshbrook Agricultural Society reported on discussions with of the Royal Commission of Agriculture in 1879. In the same report a letter was received dated October 23rd from V. Menier, from Paris who had been invited to demonstrate his electric plough at Marshbrook, but he was unable to attend because of  “ever-increasing business absolutely prevents our doing so” he invited any member to visit Noisiel to see a trial in November to demonstrate the Electric Plough.

See illustration of the electric plough in the Engineer 13th June 1879.[169]

Other technical advances continued and some sustained and became useful and major savers of manual labour, including the sheaf binder in 1882.[170] But many other ideas did not work effectively a prime example is the electric plough. Further advances came with the introduction of the petrol engine and in 1903 the earliest petrol driven tractor the `Ivel` was demonstrated.[171] Development continued and in 1910 four tractors took part in RASE trials at Baldock in Hertfordshire.[172]

Agricultural shows were an ideal way for promoting agricultural implements and for keeping an eye on technical developments the competition were making. In 1890 at the Royal Agricultural Society of England show in Plymouth, S. Corbett and Son, Wellington claimed the first prize of £20. The firm produced the ‘Plymouth’ variant of the grinding mill and advertised it as ‘The World’s Best Grinding Mill’.[173] Thomas would have enjoyed the Royal Show in Shrewsbury in 1914 when he welcomed King George V onto his exhibition stand and demonstrated some of his equipment.[174]

In conclusion to this chapter the writer can state that agricultural societies created an impact on the agricultural community by providing farmers a platform to give voice to their concerns. The agricultural shows provided a place to show their stock and compare them with other owners who they may not meet at the market. The show was also a place to see some of the latest machinery ideas some of which may not have worked as well as the farmer hoped. The question asked if new societies had been formed in Shropshire in the period and these are the ones the writer has identified as agricultural, horticultural and show societies.

Burwarton Show, Bishops Castle Agricultural Show, Eckford Sweet Pea Society, Oswestry and District Show, Newport and District Show, Market Drayton and District Agricultural and Small Holding Society and Minsterley Show, Tenbury Agricultural Society, and the Shropshire Horticultural Society.

The third section of this chapter examined agricultural societies their shows and implements and examined the journal produced by RASE which informed gentlemen farmers of the latest news and trends in agricultural practice. RASE organised an agricultural show each year, which moved to a different location each year and visited Shrewsbury in 1845, 1884 and 1914. The show included lectures and demonstrations of best practice and included an implement section where the latest agricultural machinery was shown. Prizes were also given for agricultural essays and these covered all aspects of the subject from methods of growing to the design of farm buildings.

Local societies became important lobby groups giving the farmer a voice when various difficulties beset the agricultural sector. The Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture was formed after a serious bout of cattle plague hit Shropshire in 1865 and supported the setting up of SWMAS in 1875 it also supported agricultural education and supported Harper Adams Agricultural College in 1901 which is strong evidence of a desire for improvement.

Conclusion

The publication of an agricultural survey of Shropshire in 1813 by Plymley on behalf of the Agricultural Board identified areas of improvement that were needed in Shropshire at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This micro study set out to answer to what extent Plymley`s recommendations for agricultural improvement were followed in Shropshire? The second question was to answer if the investment in improvement achieved the expected returns for land owners and farmers? The final question asked if improvement continued throughout the study period from 1813-1914?

In the first chapter the study examined of improvement of land. The Lilleshall estate was used for the study. It was managed by the leading agent James Loch appointed in 1812. He set up a management structure and was successful in increasing the professionalism of his sub agents. Farm sizes increased and new farm buildings were constructed near the middle of the farm land which improved profitability by reducing travel time. Enclosure was the first step to the improvement of some village field systems and upper common land in Shropshire and was achieved by agreement. If wet land was enclosed, under-draining would be undertaken to improve soil condition, this was seen as a long-term benefit.  To improve soil fertility for arable crops and grassland it was top dressed with dung and treated with lime. The Home Farm of Lilleshall spent an average of 12.5% of total expenditure on under draining in the period to 1847 and 12.1% on improving soil condition by adding manure and lime. The farm had to generate income to cover these costs and to that extent the farm was able to pay its way. In spite of improvements the evidence from the Lilleshall estate showed that agricultural rents did not improve in the period from 1817 to 1855. Drainage improvement was evident in the period to 1847 and enclosure of upper common land continued in Shropshire to 1891.

In the second chapter the study examined livestock improvement by inbreeding as practiced in the seventeenth century by Robert Bakewell compared with the natural selection that had gone on for centuries in the uplands of Shropshire and Staffordshire.  After selective breeding improvement to Shropshire sheep, they were given their own class at the show organised by the RASE. The fleece from a Shropshire produced 6-8 lbs of quality wool. The meat output had also doubled and the average weight at sixteen months was 20-22 lbs per quarter. Whilst the output had increased, it coincided with an increase in demand for meat and wool and some breeding costs increased as improvers charged more for their best rams. The railways arrived in Shropshire and this brought the price down of artificial fertilisers, guano and bones, given as top dressings to improve the quality of the soil. The golden age was a time of improved profits for farmers and land owners as foreign wars restricted imports of grain and prices were high.

Following the resolution of the American Civil war imports of grain forced market prices down and profits of grain farmers fell. Land lords had no choice but to reduce rents. Mixed and arable farmers turned their attention to livestock farming and large areas of arable were grassed over, some farmers benefitted from the demand for milk from the expanding West Midland Towns. By 1910 25% of food was imported and although the population was increasing and demand was higher the number of farmers and people who worked on farms was falling. The improvement of Shropshire sheep was continued as the Flock Book Society, formed in 1882, offered breeders the opportunity to choose from a wide selection of rams.

The third chapter of the essay examined agricultural societies their shows and implements and examined the Journal produced by RASE which informed gentlemen farmers of the latest news and trends in agricultural practice. The society organised an agricultural show each year, which moved to a different location each year and visited Shrewsbury in 1845, 1884 and 1914. The show included lectures and demonstrations of best practice and included an implement section where the latest agricultural machinery was shown. Prizes were also given for agricultural essays and these covered all aspects of the subject from methods of growing to the design of farm buildings.

Local societies became important lobby groups giving the farmer a voice when various difficulties beset the agricultural sector. The Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture was formed after a serious bout of cattle plague hit Shropshire in 1865 and continues to be active in Shropshire in the period to 1914. SCoA supported the setting up of SWMAS in 1875 to organise an annual agricultural show and supported the setting up of Harper Adams Agricultural College, in 1901.

This micro study set out to evaluate to what extent were Plymley`s recommendations for agricultural improvement followed in Shropshire and from the evidence it can be seen that many of his recommendations were implemented eventually.

The second question asked if the investment in improvement achieve the expected returns for land owners and or farmers, it appears that on the Lilleshall estate from 1817 to 1855 there was little increase for the landlord and to establish individual farmers results would need further work to have been done by the writer. Later in the study period there is evidence the dairy farmers of north Shropshire were enjoying increased profits.

The third question asked if improvement continued throughout the study period and the findings are that improvement continued in many areas but the nature of it changed. The standard improvements aimed at the fertility of the soil and improved breeding to increase yields were followed by more sophisticated improvements. Self-powered implements and machinery became more important as labour left the land to work in towns.

Finally the writer would suggest areas for further research include the many annual shows held by the towns of Shropshire and the West Midlands and some of the individual improvers mentioned in this study including Eyton. The writer would state that Plymley`s improvements were fundamentally about sharing knowledge and with support from local agricultural societies, the establishment of an agricultural educational base in Shropshire is viewed by the author as an example of continuing agricultural improvement.

Tables and Illustrations

Tables

The Lilleshall Estate Collections   in S A.

972/3/19/2/2   Farm Draining Book 1840-49

Extracts from the draining book     Nature of the Soil drained in 1846         

9723/12/1/1/1–7   Statement of Income and Expenditure 1843-1851

Extracts of expenditure   on Drainage – Lime & Manure – Implements       

Account books of the Shropshire & West Midlands Agricultural Society

First Cash Books from 1874 to 1882 with details of receipts and payments.

Extracts from the Cash Books income                                                                      

Details of membership subscriptions received                                                         

Summary of major donors                                                                                         

Illustrations used with permission of SWMAS.

Three Shearling Ewes, Shropshire Sheep                                                             

Winners of First Prize at Darlington RASE 1895

From Flock Book of Shropshire Sheep Vol 14, p.11.

Hereford Ox at 4 years old                                                                                          

From Eyton`s Herd Book Vol VII, p.437.

A Corbett Winnower No 2435                                                                                     

From JRASE 2nd S Vol XXI p725.

The fatally defective whippletrees, No. 2438.                                                           

From JRASE 2nd S Vol XXI p.696.

Electric Plough *                                                                                                        

Illustration from the Engineer 13th June 1879, p.434

Bibliography

1. Primary Sources 

  • Unpublished and privately held records not yet catalogued
  • Held at the offices of the Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society in Shrewsbury (SWMAS)

Account books of the Society

  • First Cash Books from 1874 to 1882 with details of receipts and payments.
  • Summary Statements of Income and Expenditure from 1875-1882.
  • Details of Subscriptions received.
  • Details of Donations received.
  • Details of Entry Fees – paid by exhibitors.

Other Published Material and illustrations owned by the Society

  • Pusey P., (ed) Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, (London, 1850).
  • Pusey P., (ed) Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, (London, 1885).
  • The Royal Agricultural Society of England, Catalogue of Stock and Implements Royal Show in Shrewsbury (London, 1914).                                            
  • Mansell A., The Flock Book of Shropshire Sheep Vol.14 (Shrewsbury, 1896).
  • Duckham T., Eyton`s Herd Book of Hereford Cattle, Vol VII (Hereford 1869).

Held in the personal collection of Mr B. Goodwin (B G) 

  • Taylor, H., the Bee-Keepers` Manual; or Practical Hints on the Management and Complete Preservation of the Honey Bee (London, 1839).
  • Extracts from `the British Bee Journal (London,1885).
  • Poster for Competition New Plan of Managing Bees – Competition for Cottagers      (Oswestry,1840.

Primary Sources held at Shropshire Archive or Library (SA) 

The Lilleshall Estate Collections  

  • 972/3/19/2/2   Farm Draining Book 1840-49
  • 9723/12/1/1/1 Statement of Income and Expenditure 1843
  • 9723/12/1/1/2 Statement of Income and Expenditure 1844
  • 9723/12/1/1/3 Receipts and Payments
  • 9723/12/1/1/4 Statement of Income and Expenditure 1845
  • 9723/12/1/1/5 Statement of Income and Expenditure 1846
  • 9723/12/1/1/6 Statement of Income and Expenditure 1847
  • 9723/12/1/1/7 Statement of Income and Expenditure 1851

1.2.2 Contemporary Published Sources held at (S A)

  • Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813).
  • C22/624. – Royal Agricultural Society of England 1845 Show in
  • Shrewsbury, newspaper cuttings pasted into a book.
  • qD22 1164 – Royal Agricultural Society of England 1914 Show in Shrewsbury Newspapers.
  • C22v.f. 14536/1. – Marshbrook Agricultural Society.  Report on discussions of the Royal Commission of Agriculture. (Marshbrook 29 October 1879).
  • C 01/1651 – R. Jasper More. Hints to Strangers who may visit the Royal Agricultural Society`s Show at Shrewsbury in 1884. (Shrewsbury 1884) Reprinted from the Journal of the Newcastle upon Tyne Farmers club.
  • 665/4/245 – Speech by Shrewsbury MP Benjamin Disraeli 1846 on Free Trade, Reprinted in Eddowe`s Gazette at the request of the Shropshire Agricultural Protection Society.
  • C01/235 – Talk on Agricultural Chemistry by the Reverend C.A.A.                                                          Lloyd Written and Published at the request of the Members of the Shropshire Natural History Society, and delivered before them on the 3rd April 1840.  Shrewsbury Printed and published by G. Matthews, Public Library, 10 High Street 1840

Secondary Sources

Books and Book Chapters

Allen R.C., `Agriculture during the industrial revolution 1700-1850`, in Floud R. & Johnson P., (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, Volume 1 (Cambridge, 2004). P. 96-116.

Dinnis E.R., History of the Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture 1866 – 1986 (Shrewsbury 1986)

Hill R., Shropshire Sheep a History (Shrewsbury, 1984).

Ingleson F., History of the Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture 1866 – 1966 (Newport, 1966)

Kenny R., `Education Training and Advice` in F. Ingleson (ed.), A hundred years of progress (Shrewsbury, 1975).

Lee C., `Regions and Industries in Britain` P. Johnson (ed.), 20th Century Britain Economic, Social and Cultural Change (Harlow,1994).

Mansell A., `History of Shropshire Sheep` reprinted by permission from Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, Vol. 74 (London, 1913).  

Mendenhall T., The Shrewsbury Drapers and the Welsh Wool Trade in the XVI and XVII Centuries (London, 1953).

Morgan T.C., `Development of Agricultural Machinery over the Century` in F. Ingleson (ed.), A hundred years of progress (Shrewsbury, 1975).

Orwin C.S. & Whetham E.H., History of British Agriculture 1846-1914 (London, 1964)

Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989).

Riley G., 125 years of Excellence (Shrewsbury 2000).

Ritherdon K.,  `The formation of the Society and its first Show in 1875`. in F. Ingleson (ed) A hundred years of progress (Shrewsbury 1975).

Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge 1983).

Rowley T., The landscape of the Welsh Marches (London, 1986).

Rowley T., The Shropshire Landscape (London, 1982).

Trinder B., A History of Shropshire (Chichester, 1983).

Trinder B., `Life and times of the Agricultural Community over the hundred years` in F. Ingleson (ed.), A hundred years of progress (Shrewsbury, 1975).

Turner M., `Agriculture, 1860-1914,` in R. Floud & P. Johnson (eds.) The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, Volume 2, Economic Maturity, 1860-1939 (Cambridge 2004).

Tweddle T., `A hundred years of livestock improvements`, in F. Ingleson F., (ed.), A hundred years of progress (Shrewsbury 1975).

Williams H., Lure of the land: A century of education at Harper Adams (Newport. 2010).

Winstanley M., `Agriculture and Rural Society` in C. Williams (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth Century Britain (Malden, 2007)

Periodicals

Bowen J. P., `A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire`, Midland History, Vol. 35, No2, (Autumn, 2010), pp 191-214.

Darby H.C., `Some Early Ideas on the Agricultural Regions of England`. Agricultural History Review Vol. 2.1 (1954), p.30-47.

Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970`, Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (Jan1983),  pp.148-168.

Grundy J.E., `The Hereford bull: his contribution to New World and domestic beef supplies`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 50, No. 1 (2002), pp. 69-88.

Hewitt P.B., `Some Thoughts on the `Cattle Plague` 1865-7 and its effect in NE Shropshire`  in (ed) R. Cromarty`, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol LXIX 1994.

Miskell L., `Putting on a show: The Royal Agricultural Society of England and the Victorian Town, c1840-1876`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 60, No. 1 (2012), pp. 37-59.

Richards E., `Leviathan of Wealth” West Midland Agriculture, 1800-50`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (1974), pp. 97-117.

Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), pp. 38-55.

Lecture notes and papers accessed via websites

Rowe T., Victorious over all Thomas Corbett and Samuel and William Corbett.

Lecture notes to the Friends of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, January 2014. Notes supplied by the author.

De Silva C., A Short History of Agricultural Education and ResearchSome key places, people, publications and events from the 18th to the 21st Centuries, (Newport, 2012).

[1] Allen Robert C., `Agriculture during the industrial revolution 1700-1850`, in Floud R. & Johnson P., (eds) The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, Volume 1 (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 96-116.

[2] Rowley T., The Shropshire Landscape (London, 1982).

[3] Rowley T., The Landscape of the Welsh Marches (London, 1986).

[4] Darby H.C., `Some Early Ideas on the Agricultural Regions of England`, Agricultural History Review Vol. 2 No 1. (1954), pp. 30-47.

[5] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989).

[6] Bowen J. P., `A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire`, Midland History, Vol. 35, No2 (Autumn, 2010), pp 191-214.

[7] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983).

[8] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983).

[9] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970`,  Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (January, 1983), pp.148-168.

[10] Trinder B., A History of Shropshire (1982).

[11]Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), pp. 38-55.

[12] Mendenhall T., The Shrewsbury Drapers and the Welsh Wool Trade in the XVI and XVII Centuries (London, 1953)

[13] Hill R., Shropshire Sheep A History (Shrewsbury, 1984).

[14] Ritherdon K., `The formation of the Society and its first Show in 1875`. in F. Ingleson, (ed) A hundred years of progress (Shrewsbury, 1975).

[15] Morgan T.C., `Development of Agricultural Machinery over the Century`, in F. Ingleson, (ed) A hundred years of progress (Shrewsbury, 1975).

[16] Riley G., 125 years of Excellence (Shrewsbury, 2000).

[17] Riley G., 125 years of Excellence (Shrewsbury, 2000),

[18] Rowe T., Victorious over all Thomas Corbett and Samuel and William Corbett (Ironbridge, 2014) Lecture Notes.

[19] Orwin C.S. & Whetham E.H., History of British Agriculture 1846-1914 (London, 1964).

[20] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813).

[21] Shropshire Archives, SA, The Lilleshall Estate Collections, Ref 972.

[22] SA, 972/3/12/1/1/1-7 Statement of Income and Expenditure 1843-1847 +1851.

[23] SA, 972/3/19/2/2 Farm Draining Book 1840 -49.

[24] Pusey P.,   Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, (London, 1885).

[25]  SA, C22/624, 1845 Royal Agricultural Society of England Show in Shrewsbury – News Cuttings.

[26]  SA, C01/235.  Talk on Agricultural Chemistry by the Reverend C.A.A. Lloyd (Shrewsbury, 1840).

[27] SA, 665/4/245 – Speech by Shrewsbury MP Benjamin Disraeli 1846 on Free Trade, Reprinted in Eddowe`s Gazette at the request of the Shropshire Agricultural Protection Society.

[28] SA, More R.J., Hints to Strangers coming to the Royal Agricultural Show at Shrewsbury (Shrewsbury, 1884).

[29] SA, C22v.f.14536/1,   Marshbrook Agricultural Society.  Report on discussions of the Royal Commission of Agriculture (Marshbrook, 1879)

[30] SWMAS,   Duckham T., Herd Book of Hereford cattle (Hereford, 1869).

[31] SWMAS,   Mansell A., Shropshire Sheep Herd Book (Shrewsbury, 1898).

[32]  Brian Goodwin Archive (BG) New plan for managing bees, details of a competition for cottagers (Oswestry, 1840).

[33] BG, Taylor, H., The Bee-keepers` Manual; or Practical Hints on the Management and Complete Preservation of the Honey Bee (London, 1839).

[34] BG, Extracts from the British Bee Journal (London, 1885).

[35] SWMAS Cash Books from 1874 to 1882 with details of receipts and payments. Summary Statements of Income and Expenditure from 1875-1882.

[36] SWMAS  Cash Books from 1874 to 1882 with details of receipts and payments. Summary Statements of Income and Expenditure from 1875-1882.

[37] De Silva C., A Short History of Agricultural Education and Research; (Newport, 2012), p.12.

[38] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813).

[39] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813).

[40] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813).

[41] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813), p.92.

[42] Bowen J. P., `A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire`, Midland History, Vol. 35, No 2 (Autumn, 2010), p. 193.

[43] Bowen J. P., `A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire` Midland History, Vol. 35, No 2 (Autumn, 2010), p. 194.

[44] Bowen J. P., A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire. Midland History, Vol. 35, No 2 (Autumn, 2010), p. 194.

[45] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813), p.102.

[46] Bowen J. P., `A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire`, Midland History, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Autumn, 2010), p. 201.

[47] Bowen J. P., `A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire`. Midland History, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Autumn, 2010), p. 201.

[48] Bowen J. P., A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire. Midland History, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Autumn, 2010), p. 196.

[49] Rowley T., The Shropshire Landscape (London, 1982), P. 158.

[50] Bowen J. P., `A Landscape of Improvement: The impact of James Loch, Chief Agent to the Marquis of Stafford, on the Lilleshall Estate, Shropshire` Midland History, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Autumn, 2010), p. 199.

[51] Rowley T., The Shropshire Landscape (London, 1982), p. 145.

[52] Rowley T., The Landscape of the Welsh Marches (London, 1986), p. 209.

[53] Rowley T., The Landscape of the Welsh Marches (London, 1986), p. 208.

[54] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813).

[55] Rowley T., The Shropshire Landscape (London, 1982), p. 158.

[56] Trinder B., A History of Shropshire. (Chichester,1983), p. 102.

[57] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s , (Cambridge, 1983), P.21.

[58]  Trinder B., A History of Shropshire. (Chichester, 1983), p. 102.

[59] Trinder B., A History of Shropshire. (Chichester, 1983), p. 103.

[60] Trinder B., A History of Shropshire. (Chichester, 1983), p. 104.

[61] Darby H.C., `Some Early Ideas on the Agricultural Regions of England` Agricultural History Review Vol. 2.1 (1954), p.46.

[62] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.3.

[63] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.3.

[64] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.5.

[65] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.6.

[66] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.29.

[67] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.74.

[68] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.75.

[69] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.183.

[70] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.179.

[71] Phillips A.D.M., The Underdraining of Farmland in England During the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.242.

[72] S.A., Lilleshall Collection 972/3/19/2/2, Farm Draining Book 1840-49.

[73] S.A., Lilleshall Collection 9723/12/1/1/1, Statement of Income and Expenditure 1843.

[74] (Authors note: Draining was viewed as having a long term benefit and was not related to the current year.)

[75] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813), p.152.

[76] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813), p.152.

[77] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813), p. 181.

[78] Richards E.`Leviathan of Wealth West Midland Agriculture, 1800-50`. Agricultural History Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (1974), p. 100.

[79] Richards E.`Leviathan of Wealth West Midland Agriculture, 1800-50`. Agricultural History Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (1974), p. 102.

[80] Allen Robert C., `Agriculture during the industrial revolution 1700-1850`, in Floud R. & Johnson P., (eds) The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, Volume 1 (Cambridge, 2004), p.99.

[81] Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), p. 39.

[82] Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), p. 39.

[83] Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), p. 39.

[84] Wykes D.L.` Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), p. 40.

[85] Tweddle T., `100 years of Livestock improvement 1875 – 1975`, Century of Progress 1875-1975, (Shrewsbury, 1975). p.32.

[86] [86] Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), p. 49.

[87] [87] Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), p. 50.

[88] Wykes D.L. `Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) of Dishley: farmer and livestock improver`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2004), p. 39.

[89] Mendenhall T., The Shrewsbury Drapers and the Welsh Wool Trade in the XVI and XVII Centuries (London, 1953). p.1.

[90] Hill R., Shropshire Sheep a History (Shrewsbury, 1984), p.1.

[91] Hill R., Shropshire Sheep a history (Shrewsbury, 1984), p.1.

[92] Hill R., Shropshire Sheep a history (Shrewsbury, 1984), p.4.

[93] Mansell A., `History of Shropshire Sheep` reprinted by permission from Royal Agricultural Society of England Journal, Volume 74 (London, 1913), p. 6.  

[94] Orwin C.S. & Whetham E.H., History of British Agriculture 1846-1914 (London, 1964), p. 142.

[95] Mansell A., `History of Shropshire Sheep` reprinted by permission from Royal Agricultural Society of England Journal, Volume 74 (London, 1913), p.9.

[96] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 27.

[97] S.A., Mansell A., The Flock Book of Shropshire Sheep (Shrewsbury, 1896), p. 5.

[98] S.A., Mansell A., The Flock Book of Shropshire Sheep (Shrewsbury, 1896), p. 9-22.

[99] S.A., Mansell A., The Flock Book of Shropshire Sheep (Shrewsbury, 1896), p. 23-105.

[100] S.A., Mansell A., Shropshire Sheep Herd Book (Shrewsbury, 1898) Secretaries Report.

[101] Eyton Hall is near Lilleshall and T.C. Eyton was a friend of and corresponded with Charles Darwin.

[102] Ritherdon K., `The Formation of the Society and its First Show in 1875`, Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975), p.9.

[103] Grundy J.E., `The Hereford bull: his contribution to New World and domestic beef supplies`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 50, No. 1 (2002), p. 70.

[104] Grundy J.E., `The Hereford bull: his contribution to New World and domestic beef supplies`, Agricultural History Review, Vol. 50, No. 1 (2002), p. 72.

[105] SWMAS ArchiveDuckham T., Eyton`s Herd Book of Hereford Cattle, vol. VII, (Hereford, 1869), p.270.

[106]  SWMAS Archive, Duckham T., Eyton`s Herd Book of Hereford Cattle, vol. VII, (Hereford, 1869), p.271.

[107]  SWMAS Archive, Duckham T., Eyton`s Herd Book of Hereford Cattle, vol. VII, (Hereford, 1869), p.438.

[108] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970`. Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (January, 1983), p.152.

[109] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970`. Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (January, 1983), p.152.

[110] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 20.

[111] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970`. Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (January, 1983), pp.148-168.

[112] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 27.

[113] Trinder B., A History of Shropshire (Chichester, 1983)

[114] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970`,Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (January 1983), p.155.

[115] Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (London, 1850), p.615.

[116]SWMAS ArchiveDuckham T., Eyton`s Herd Book of Hereford Cattle, vol. VII, (Hereford, 1869), p.14, in lecture reprinted after p.438.

[117] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970,` Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1.(January, 1983), p.154.

[118] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970,` Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1.(January, 1983), p.154.

[119] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983). p.27.

[120] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983). p. 28

[121]Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970,` Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1.(January, 1983), p.165.

[122] Hewitt P.B., `Some Thoughts on the `Cattle Plague` 1865-7 and its effect in NE Shropshire`  in (ed) R. Cromarty` Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. LXIX 1994. p.132.

[123] Dodd J.P., `High Farming in Shropshire 1845-1970,` Midland History, Vol. 8, Issue 1.(January, 1983), p.165.

[124] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 30.

[125] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 37.

[126] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 47.

[127] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 51.

[128] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 51.

[129] Robinson G.M., West Midlands Farming 1840s-1970s (Cambridge, 1983), p. 55.

[130] Winstanley M., Agriculture and Rural Society in Editor C. Williams, A Companion to Nineteenth Century Britain (Malden, 2007), p.218.

[131] Winstanley M., Agriculture and Rural Society in Editor Williams C., A Companion to Nineteenth Century Britain (Malden, 2007), p.209.

[132] Plymley J., Agricultural Survey of Shropshire (London, 1813).

[133] SA, 665/4/240, Shropshire Agricultural Society, Eyton Family Papers (1845) further work needed.

[134] Chester Courant., Oswestry Agricultural Society The writer has subsequently found reference to the awarding of prizes in the edition published on Tuesday 12th December 1820  (Chester, 1820)

[135] De Silva C., A Short History of Agricultural Education and Research; Some key places, people, publications and events from the 18th to the 21st Centuries (Newport, 2012).

[136] Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, 1885

[137] More J. Hints to Strangers who may want to visit the Royal Agricultural Society Show at Shrewsbury (Shrewsbury, 1884) p.16.

[138] SA. D22 vf ls 25534  Royal Agricultural Society of England., Program of the Show in Shrewsbury (London,1914)

[139] SA, More J. Hints to Strangers who may want to visit the Royal Agricultural Society Show at Shrewsbury (Shrewsbury, 1884) p.4.

[140]  SA, C01/23 5 `Talk on Agricultural Chemistry` by the Reverend C.A.A. Lloyd. (Shrewsbury, 1840).

[141] Poster for Competition New Plan of Managing Bees – Competition for Cottagers (Oswestry,1840). See appendix

[142]  SA, 665/4/245, Speech on Free Trade by Shrewsbury MP Benjamin Disraeli, 1846 Reprinted in Eddowes Gazette at request of Shropshire Agricultural Protection Society.

[143] Ingleson F., A Century of Service History of the Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture 1866 – 1966 (Newport, 1966), p. 2.

[144] Ingleson F.,  A Century of Service History of the Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture 1866 – 1966 (Newport, 1966),p.2

[145]Ingleson F., Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture 1866-1986 (ed) E.R.(Dick) Dinnis (Shrewsbury, 1986), p.6.

[146] Ingleson F., Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture 1866-1986 (ed) E.R.(Dick) Dinnis (Shrewsbury, 1986), p.6.

[147] Ingleson F., Shropshire Chamber of Agriculture 1866-1986 (ed) E.R.(Dick) Dinnis (Shrewsbury, 1986), p.6.

[148] Ritherdon K., The Formation of the Society and its First Show in 1875,  Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975) p.4.

[149] Ritherdon K., The Formation of the Society and its First Show in 1875,  Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975) p.4.

[150] Ritherdon K., The Formation of the Society and its First Show in 1875,  Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975) p.4.

[151] Ritherdon K., The Formation of the Society and its First Show in 1875,  Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975) p.4.

[152] Ritherdon K., The Formation of the Society and its First Show in 1875, Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975) p.7.

[153] SWMAS, Summary Statements of Income and Expenditure from 1875-1882,

[154] SWMAS, Summary Statements of Income and Expenditure from 1875-1882, appendix.

[155] Williams H., Lure of the land: A century of education at Harper Adams (Newport, 2010). p.10.

[156] Kenny R., `Education, Training and Advice`. A Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975), p. 38.

[157] Williams H., Lure of the land: A century of education at Harper Adams (Newport, 2010). p.11.

[158] Trinder B., A History of Shropshire (1982). p.105.

[159] Williams H., Lure of the land: A century of education at Harper Adams (Newport, 2010) p.5.

[160] Williams H., Lure of the land: A century of education at Harper Adams (Newport, 2010) p.1.

[161]Rowe T., Victorious over all Thomas Corbett and Samuel and William Corbett.

Lecture notes to the Friends of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, January 2014. Notes supplied by the author. Here after referenced as Lecture Notes2014.

[162]Rowe T., Victorious over all Thomas Corbett and Samuel and William Corbett.  Lecture Notes 2014.

[163] Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England,2nd s. XXI (London, 1885). P. 725

[164] Rowe T., Victorious over all Thomas Corbett and Samuel and William Corbett. Lecture Notes 2014.

[165] Rowe T., Victorious over all Thomas Corbett and Samuel and William Corbett. Lecture Notes 2014.

[166] Roberts C.G., `Report on Implements at Preston,`  Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, (London,1885) p.698.

[167] Whippletrees are part of the harness used by working horses. They should share the load evenly between the horses.

[168] Parker Hon. C.T.,`Report of the Senior Steward of Implements at Preston`, Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (London, 1885), p.682.

[169] C22 v. f. Marshbrook Agricultural Society.  Report on discussions of the Royal Commission of Agriculture (Marshbrook, 1879), p. 4.

[170] Morgan T.C., `Development of agricultural Machinery over the Century`, Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975), p. 26.

[171] Morgan T.C., `Development of agricultural Machinery over the Century`, Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975) p.26.

[172] Morgan T.C., `Development of agricultural Machinery over the Century`, Century of Progress 1875-1975 (Shrewsbury, 1975) p.26.

[173] Rowe T., Victorious over all Thomas Corbett and Samuel and William Corbett. Lecture Notes 2014.

[174] Riley G., 125 years of Excellence (Shrewsbury 2000).