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when they are turned out to grass at home, or sold at some distant market for the same purpose. A few dairy-farmers, in this part of the district, have adopted the practice of making flax-seed and bay-tea, and mix it in the milk, with which the calves are suckled. This practice appears to answer very well, for the last month or six weeks of suckling. A. C."
The subjoined notice relates to the practice of North Somersetshire, or the Cheese Dairy district. It stands at the foot of the same page with the above extract; which is the reason of its appearing, here.
Fatting Calves.-N. p. 248. "The number of calves fatted in this district is immense-four hundred fat calves have been sold in Shepton Mallet market in one day. To this market, butchers from the neighbourhood of Bath and Bristol resort, and convey the carcases (whole) to those cities in one-horse carts. The veal is delicately whitesmall in size, viz. from sixteen to twenty-four pounds per quarter. The best is brought from a small village called Batcomb; and its excellency may, perhaps, be ascribed to their giving the calves small doses of metheglin in the milk, and keeping them in a dark place."
Fatting Cattle.-P. 238. "There are two methods of fatting oxen, the one called summer, the other winter fatting; the first is thought the most profitable, and accompanied with the least risque.
"In the first method, they are purchased in February, and are for the most part of the Devon sort, bred either in the Northern part of that county, or in the lower part of Somersetshire. They are bought in good condition, and cost from eight pounds to fifteen pounds each; during the interval between February and grass time, they consume each about ten hundred or twelve hundred of inferior hay, viz. the skimming of their summer leaze. When at grass,
they are allowed from one acre to one acre and a half each ox, and some add one sheep to each ox. Horses, if any, are kept very sparingly, not at any rate to exceed one to twenty acres of grazing ground. These oxen will be fat, some before and some soon after Michaelmas, paying for their keep from three shillings and six-pence to four shillings per week.
"Frequent bleeding, in small quantities, is found to accelerate their fatting.*
In Devonshire, fat cattle are repeatedly bled (as calves are in most parts of England), to give "brightness of color" to the beef on the shambles; as well as to make it keep better, in the summer season,
"The next stock are bought in June, July, and August, and are not of so good a sort, being either home-bred or Welsh, and cost from six to eight pounds. These follow the stock purchased in February, and are sometimes stall fed in the winter, and sometimes fatted in the field; in either case they have the best hay, and good attendance. "They are fat in April and May, and sell from twelve pounds to fourteen pounds each."
P. 241." The oxen, when fat, are driven to the London, the Salisbury, and the Bristol markets, at the following expences, (salesman's commission included:) London, 12s. per head; Sarum, 58.; Bristol, 38.
They are nine days travelling to London, a distance of one hundred and thirty miles. It is difficult to say which may be considered as the best market; but the general opinion seems to be, that the London market is calculated for those only who attend it regularly every week, the price of beef per stone greatly varying according to the plenty of scarcity in the market.
"Some farmers graze heifers in preference to oxen, buying them in about the months of March and April, and selling them in October and November. The profit amounts to forty shillings or fifty shillings each for their summer food; and the land is stocked after the rate of one heifer to each acre, together with a considerable number of sheep both in summer and winter; and it is thought by many, that this method of occupation is more profitable than the former."
P. 242." It is no unusual thing for some of the graziers to give their prime oxen a second summer's grass. In this case they are brought to a high state of perfection, and in all probability they pay more the second year than the first ; for it is well known, that an animal nearly fat will consume much less food than a poor one."
"All the graziers of this county are partial to the red oxen of Somerset and Devon; and you seldom see a North country ox in their possession."
DAIRY.-P. 205. Few farmers milk their own cows, but let them out to a class of people, scarcely known in other counties, called dairy-men. A herd, of a good breed, will now let for seven or eight pounds per cow; a certain portion of land is devoted to their summer keeping, and a sufficient quantity of hay is provided by the farmer for their winter sustenance.
"This practice of letting dairies must have originated either from pride or indolence on the part of the farmer's household, and ought, in my opinion, to be checked by the landlord.
"When the female part of a farmer's family is unemployed, (and, without a dairy, that must be the case throughout great part of the year) dissipation, folly, and extravagance, take the lead, and domestic care and industry are entirely forgotten. Gentlemen of fortune should therefore set their faces against the practice, and resolve never to let an estate to a farmer whose family was too proud, or too indolent, to undertake the management of the different departments thereof."
This peculiar trait of practice belongs to the butter-dairy of South Somersetshire, West Dorsetshire, and East Devonshire. It will be seen, however, in the further review of the Southern Department, that the practice is not confined to that tripartite district. See also Wiltshire, p. 227, aforegoing.
SHEEP. Breed and Breeding.-P. 254. In the SouthEast part of this district, the sheep are an improved" (?)" sort of the Dorset, and many considerable ewe flocks are kept to the amount of four to six hundred each; they begin lambing about Christmas, and the lambs are weaned in May."
P. 242. (after speaking of fatting sheep.) "Ewes and lambs are also the stock of some farmers; they are purchased partly in the autumn in lamb, and partly in the spring with the lamb by their sides, and are mostly of the Dorsetshire or Mendip breed."
Folding Sheep.-P. 254. "Some farmers buy wedder lambs about Midsummer (shorn) and keep them about twenty-two months, constantly folding them: they are then sold (unshorn) to the graziers occupying the marsh lands."
P. 255. "The number of sheep kept in this district is immense, and folding unremittingly pursued."
Fatting Sheep.-P. 241. (in continuation of the above account of fatting cattle.) "Others fat two-years old wedders of the Dorsetshire and Somersetshire breed. The Dorset sort are purchased about Michaelmas, at Sherborne and Stolford fairs, price from twenty shillings to thirty shillings. No hay is given in the winter, unless the weather be uncommonly severe, or the ground covered with snow. They are sold fat between February and May, and weigh from twenty to thirty pounds per quarter. A few oxen accompany the sheep, which are bought in the spring, and fatted the ensuing winter. It is the universal opinion, that sheep are not so profitable stock as oxen."
There are few circumstances that have occurred to me, in prosecuting my present undertaking, which have given
me more concern than that of pointing out,-in conformity with the principle that I have, throughout, deemed it my duty to observe,-some of the striking defects of Mr. Billingsley's Report of South-east Somersetshire.
Those deficiencies, however, may perhaps be thus accounted for. That part of the County is situated at a distance from the district in which Mr. B. resided; and where, I understand, he was, at the period of his survey, actively employed in an extensive line of business;-and every man who has attempted to examine, with due attention, the various practices of an extent of country, with the view of bringing before the public eye a Report of the leading facts and attendant circumstances belonging to them,-must be very sensible of the length of time, and mature attention, which such an undertaking imperiously demands. Should it be asked why Mr. Billingsley accepted the appointment, it might be answered, and I believe truly, Mr. B. was desirous to do a public good, without being aware of the time and attention which the task would require.
DORSETSHIRE comprizes four descriptions of coun
try; three of them bearing distinct agricultural characters; one of them being, nearly, an entire district; namely,
"The VALE of BLACKMORE" (as it is uncouthly called); which is situated almost entirely within the County of Dorset; a narrow part of its northwestern margin, only, extending into Somersetshire.-The towns of Wincanton, Shaftsbury, and Sherborne are seated on its borders, and Sturminster near its center. The waters of the river Stour are principally collected within its vale lands; some of which are of a superior quality.The VALE or DISTRICT of STURMINSTER, or the GRAZING DISTRICT of DORSETSHIRE, would surely be a more appropriate name for those valuable lands, than that which they now bear.
The CHALK HILLS of Dorsetshire form the western extreme of the extensive range of calcarious heights, which I have, heretofore, named the Western Division of the Chalk Hills of the Southern Counties ;-the Wiltshire and Hampshire Downs being a continuation, eastward, of the same range.
The DAIRY QUARTER of Dorsetshire is merely an extension of East Devonshire; of whose singular cast of surface it partakes.
The SANDY LANDS of Dorsetshire,-the DISTRICT of WAREHAM, constitutes the fourth distinction.
MR. CLARIDGE was, I believe, a partner, if not a
pupil, of the late Mr. KENT. He was of course well versed