A few farming highlights:
Farming and the Rural Landscape – a history
The landscape that is familiar to us in the early C21st has taken millennia to evolve but the most significant changes in the most recent centuries have had profound impacts on our relationship with our rural landscape; the mediaeval open field system; Enclosure; the Industrial revolution. Changes in the rural landscape that are accompanied by social change, too.
If we know what we’re looking for, traces of ancient as well as modern changes can be identified in the landscape around us; the lecture notes and book extracts on this page help us to spot these signs and also help us to understand how we arrived where we are now.
Farming – general (from the Wadkin Archives)
Margaret and Hazel Wadkin’s collections reflect their roots in the farming community and friendship with the farming families of Hickling. Hazel’s collections and books contain many photographs and recollections, so these have been uploaded to their own page: click here.
Wadkin Archive material which is specific to individual farms and families can be found in the paragraphs below and on the separate ‘house’ and ‘family’ pages. We are gradually uploading all of this material; if you are interested in material which hasn’t been uploaded yet, please contact us.
There is evidence that allotments have been in existence as far back as the early mediaeval period; however allotments, as we know them today, are largely the product of Enclosure in the late C18th. The Enclosure of lands previously available to everyone for foraging and grazing created a new rural poor and left the Parish and the Church with the responsibility of looking after them. One way to do this was to provide allotments that would allow villagers to be more self-sufficient.
There is evidence of two large allotment areas in Hickling; but it isn’t clear when each one was first established or, indeed, when they stopped being used. Both were some way outside the village:
- Clawson Lane; this seems to have been on land held by the Rector
- Bridegate Lane; this seems to have been managed by the Parish
A snapshot can be found in the 1910 Finance Act Map and Schedule:
The Bridegate Lane allotments seem to be under the management of the ‘Members Old Club’ with the land owned by ‘selves’ and the secretary is listed as Thomas Clements Rose. Confusingly, the schedule states the allotments are on Long Lane, but this was where Mr Rose lived which may have led to the error.
They are just over 8 acres in size.
The Clawson Lane allotments are listed as allotment gardens and the land is owned by the Revd. Francis James Ashmall with various tenants.
They are listed as 7 acres in size.
Extracts from Hazel Wadkin’s Books: Allotments
Scrapbook of Hickling:
- (p.19) April 1897. The body of Emma Magson was found in the lane leading to Skelton’s allotments on Clawson Lane. There were empty carbolic acid bottles at her side and an open umbrella in her right hand. The deceased lived at Bingham but had been staying with her mother in Hickling for the week before her death.
- (p.47) There were two separate fields of allotments which were rented to any parishioner. One field was known as Bridegate Gardens and was situated about half a mile up Bridgegate Lane in the field before the present cricket field. The other was down Clawson Lane and known as the Parsons Gardens. People would walk to the gardens pushing a wheelbarrow to carry their tools etc.
Reflections of Hickling:
- (p.63) Along Bridegate Lane up what is still known as Garden Lane was an eight acre allotment field also some gardens along the road side. As the name suggests Bridegate Gardens were situated up that lane, a nine acre field adjacent to the cricket field. This was divided into quarter acre plots each with a path up the middle, some people shared one allotment. A number of people renting these gardens also had a vegetable garden at home. One of the last people to use these allotments was Mr. William Parkes in the late 1940′ s. Mr. Parkes and his brother Walter could regularly be seen pushing their wheelbarrow containing gardening tools up Bridegate Lane. Walter died in 1955, William in 1972 aged 85 years. They lived in what is now known as Mulberry House occupied by Mr.& Mrs. K. Brown. William and WaIter never had electricity taken to the house nor mains water connected, preferring to use their own pump in the yard.
- (p.92) During the first world war shirts and pyjamas were made up by Miss Brewin and Mrs. Fred Woolley. Many pairs of socks and mittens were knitted for the soldiers. The materials for this were bought with money raised by Mrs. Ashmall. All houses had to have blackout blinds at their windows. Men not on active service took part in drilling exercises. Instructions for this were written in white chalk on the shutters of the tailor’s shop. The women left behind worked the gardens and allotments growing vegetables. Older children were required to push younger ones in their prams to the allotments whilst their mothers took the wheelbarrow containing tools. Once there, they had to help dig potatoes and do other garden work. Families sent food parcels and articles of warm clothing to the men serving overseas.
- (p.20) Brigate Gardens Rent Collector – He was a Mr. Snewshall (don’t know how it was spelt) and always ordered a meal at Rose Cottage and occasionally in the winter time a bed as well. I remember I didn’t like him in fact I was afraid of him. I believe the Garden Rent was collected quarterly, the Brigate Gardens was up Chapel Lane (now Bridegate Lane) and now is an ordinary field. These allotments were always in demand if at any time one or even half one became vacant.
- (p.62) PARSONS GARDENS I have walked many times to these gardens which, when a girl were very much in evidence and situated down Clawson Lane, it is many years now since this piece of land was used as an allotment. Granny Simpson rented one garden and although I wasn’t very old I had jobs to do, it was during the 1914-18 War and every bit of garden needed for vegetables. I remember so well Granny Simpson, my mother, Mrs. Vince Walker (who rented a piece of garden) walking to work on these allotments, I pushed the pram with Margaret Walker a baby, and Shelton a toddler, the pram I think was green with long handles, and there was a brown crochet shawl to cover Margaret when she was asleep, it was my job to look after the two little “Walkers”, their father was a prisoner of War in Germany as also was Donnie Simpson. When it was time for digging up the potatoes, these three women would take a wheelbarrow and push it from the gardens full of spuds, taking turns to do the pushing, and I pushed the pram, the women during those war years worked very hard indeed, and children were brought up to do their fair share, I am afraid in these days some of the youngsters are waited on far too much.
- (p.63) BRIGATE GARDENS That is what we all called these allotments situated up Chapel Lane, and expect it should have been Bridegate, the same as the lane is now officially called. These gardens were given up a long time ago and are now a farming field. I have walked to these allotments lots of times, we children were sent to bring back various vegetables. It was the usual thing to see men with wheelbarrows full of garden tools or vegetables coming or going to the ‘Brigates’. In this year of 1976 there are more flower gardens and lawns in Hickling than vegetable gardens growing good wholesome food, even if cauliflowers are 25p each and potatoes up to 15p per lb, but some people are not fond of work.
- (p.72) Mangold Carting So many youngsters of today have not seen a ‘Mangold Worzel’ Farmers grew acres of them for feeding the beast in the winter time, it was a perishing cold job cutting mangold, there has been many gashed fingers and thumbs with the mangold knife slipping during severe frosts. The horses and carts would be backwards and forwards from the field or allotments days, and sometimes a couple of weeks, the mangold would be made into a ‘Pie’ anywhere up to 25 – 50 yards long, and a couple or so yards high, covered with earth and straw, a small trench dug around for drainage, and the food stuff all safely gathered for the winter months. Potatoes also were put into ‘Pies’ and still are, and this year of 1976 with the shortage and expensive potato, no doubt many farmers will be growing more, the humble potato is a luxury, some people have paid 15p to 20p per lb. (ridiculous). I pay at the present time 11p & 12p and that is expensive.
- (p.83) Mr. James Grundy Always called Jimmy. He was at one time the Miller, and lived in a small cottage (Mr. F. Payne lives there at present). The Mill was down Mill Lane which still exists, and on the painting I have of Hickling Mill is also a donkey which belonged to Mr.Grundy. At one time Jimmy was a heavy drinker and once when working on the Bridegate Allotments he go so drunk Mr. Tom Rose wheeled him home in his wheelbarrow. He joined the Methodist Church and gradually stopped drinking and became one of the leaders at prayer meetings. I remember him always sitting on the front seat, and during the service would shout ‘Praise the Lord’ ‘Amen’ and ‘Hallelujah’ he was not educated but sincere. At the time of his death there was a Mission being held at Chapel and our Minister Rev. C.T. Lander sat with Jimmy when he died, then came to the Mission service and everyone sang his favourite hymns.
Lane Letting appears to have similar origins to the allotments; emerging as an opportunity to offer grazing of the lane verges to the rural poor and allowing them to be more self-sufficient. The verges are generally owned by the parish, and as the need for rural poor provision decreased it looks like some parishes saw an opportunity to top up their funds with these verges, or raise money for charity.
(Wadkin) Scrapbook of Hickling:
(p.67) The lanes leading out of the village were let annually [by the Parish Council] for grazing.
- April 1902 Letting took place at ‘The Plough’. Clawson Lane – £5. 10s. 0de Smithfield lane – £6. 2s. 6d. Green Lane – £5. 0s. 0d. Broughton Lane – £3. 12s . 6d. The Fosse – 8s. 0d Folly Hall Lane – 4/6d.
- April 1918 – Bridegate Lane (Mrs. A. Collishaw) £6. 15s. 0d Green lane (Mr. F. Woolley) – £3. Broughton Lane (Mr . T.G. Wiles) – £2. 10s . 0d Clawson Lane (Mr. H.W. Woolley) – £4. Waste pit garden (Mr. T.W. Jeffery) – 2/6d.
- April 1919 – Bridegate Lane (Mrs . A. L.Collishaw) – £6. 15s . 0d Green lane (Mr. F. Woolley) – £6. Broughton Lane (Mr. C Shelton) £5. 5s. 0d Clawson Lane (Mr. E. Parr) £6. Folly Hall Lane (Mr. T. Elliott) 1/-.
- April 1922 – Bridegate Lane (Mr. T.Elliott) £4. Green Lane (Mr. Noel Marriott) £4 Broughton Lane (Mr. Arthur Shelton) £4. 12s . 6d. Clawson Lane (Mr. T.G.Wiles) £4. Folly Hall Lane (Mr. T. Elliott) 1/-.
- May 1925 – Broughton Lane (Mr. J. Dickman) £1.10s.0d Clawson Lane (Mr. T.G. Wiles) 10/-. Bridegate lane (Mr. E.Salt) £4. Green Lane and Folly Hall Lane (Mrs. N. Marriott) £2. 5s. 0d and 1/-.
- April 1928 – Bridegate Lane (Mr. Job Flavell) £7. 10s. Green Lane (Mrs. Noel Marriott) 15/-. Broughton Lane (Mr. H. Robinson) 10/-. Clawson Lane (Mr. T.G. Wiles) 10/-. Folly Hall Lane (Mr. E. Scott).
- March 1929 – Bridegate Lane (Mr. D. Simpson) £6. 10s. Green Lane (Mrs. N. Marriott) £3 . 10s. Broughton lane (Mr. H Robinson) £3. 8s Clawson Lane (Mr. G.A. Faulks) £1.
The Washpit, Bridegate Lane
The Kerry family smallholding.
This undated photograph is believed to be of Mr Kerry who had a smallholding and greenhouses at The Butty/East End’ (now Carneal Cottage) on the corner of Mill Lane and Main Street. The family sold their produce to local markets.
Material which is specific to individual farms and families can be found in the paragraphs below and on the separate ‘house’ and ‘family’ pages. We are gradually uploading all of this material; if you are interested in material which hasn’t been uploaded yet, please contact us.
Information and Galleries will be added to these sections in the next few days – our apologies for the lateness! (31/10/23)
Barlands Field, Bridegate Lane
Dell Farm, Green Lane
Fox & Hounds Farm, Hickling Pastures
Hickling Lodge, Hickling Pastures
Hill Farm, Bridegate Lane
Lincoln Lodge, Bridegate Lane
Malt House Farm
Manor Farm, Hickling Pastures
Rose Cottage/Simpson’s Butchers
Sherwood Farms/Kinoulton Grange
Sycamore Lodge, Green Lane
(An Introduction by Carol Beadle, 2015)
When the Romans came they either took over or exploited what had become a well settled agricultural region. They built their town, Vernometum, by the Fosse close to Hickling Pastures and Upper Broughton Parish. The Romano-British dwellers in this area were grain producing and animal rearing farmers who provided food for themselves, for the town of Vernometum and also for the nearby cities, RATAE (Leicester) and LINDUM COLONIA (Lincoln).
The open field system developed from the late Saxon period where 2, 3 or occasionally more great open fields were farmed in rotation from nucleated settlements. These remained a dominant feature of this landscape until population changes in the C14th and C15th meant a change towards animal husbandry and the enclosure of land.
RIDGE AND FURROW
The ridge and furrow grasslands seen in this area are remnants of medieval landscapes that were set to pasture when Enclosure took place. Many ridge and furrow grasslands have been lost over recent decades with the ploughing up of the pasture land and conversion to arable. This has increased the rarity and the historic importance of the remaining ridge and furrow areas.
Where ridge and furrow survives, it’s very antiquity is an indication that the area has never been ploughed or re-seeded. These grasslands therefore have a diverse flora and a high landscape, nature and historic conservation interest and therefore should be conserved. They may also hide many archaeological treasures.
In medieval times there was a strict Manorial control over fishing and fish ponds were constructed on monastic granges such as Thurgaton Grange on the edge of Hickling Village. Fruit was also a vital crop and the manorial surveys done of the Medieval Vale lists many orchards. Nether Broughton, for example had 20. A further by-product of these trees was beekeeping, something which still continues in the area today with local honey being sold at many outlets. By the 1800s many orchards still existed. The fruit trees, especially plum and apple provided not only for the consumption of the neighbourhood but quantities were sent to the towns of Nottingham, Melton and Grantham.
‘Hickling Parish contains about 3000 acres of strong clay land which was enclosed in 1777′ (ref White Directory 1832)
‘Nearly the whole of the land is now used for grazing’ (ref Kelly 1922)
The pastoral farming in the area, with stock farming as well as Dairying is an important rural industry. Hickling is distinctive in the fact that it still has land farmed within the village. The isolated farmsteads in the area became established after enclosure.
The Vale of Belvoir has for centuries been known as a productive grazing region. The area is regarded as one of the highest quality fattening pasture land in the Midlands, serving the local meat and milk markets. The area is renowned for the manufacture of Stilton Cheese. 43 local farms supply milk to Long Clawson Dairy for Stilton Cheese production. It is a co-operative and one of the oldest farmer’s co-operatives in the country. On their website they state, ‘All of our farms are members of the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Scheme … demonstrating commitment to … environmental protection’.
Developments in agricultural technology in recent decades have led to changes in agricultural use of land in the area. Hickling Pastures now has a vineyard and hopefully soon local wine will be available.
‘The vale pastures are an intrinsic part of the region’s historic character, being closely associated with features such as small scale field patterns, old mixed hedgerows, ridge and furrow and village edges. In order to maintain the historic character of the pastures, it is important that these features are conserved’ (nottinghamshie.gov.uk).
Local History in England WG Hoskins