Page images

land being taken up from the waste, and enclosed with temporary dead fences, for the purpose of securing two or three crops of corn; after which the land is consigned to waste again."

P. 104. "The coarse or uncultivated wastes of this county, though, as elsewhere, of much less value than the enclosed lands, have yet their appropriate uses. A hardy race of herds and flocks depasture the coarse herbage of the more level parts; goats climb and browse the rocky summits, and the wild conies feed and burrow among the sandy hillocks. The lands in Cornwall, which come under this description, bear striking marks of ruggedness and deformity. Viewing these lands with an agricultural eye, they present a wide field for speculation. The pasturage of the moors, downs, and crofts, as the waste lands in Cornwall are called, is generally considered to belong to the tenantry, in the right of some manor or lordships, to which such wastes are appurtenant; and consequently, as in most cases of common lands, the pasturage is by no means equal to the stock.

"A practice has prevailed in this county for many years past, and still prevails, of breaking up detached parcels of the waste lands, paring and burning, sometimes liming or sanding them, and after taking as much corn as they will carry, letting down the temporary fences, which had been raised to secure the crops, and then suffering them to run to waste again, in tenfold worse condition than they were in a state of nature."-This practice has formerly been common to the West of England; and still is continued in different parts of it.

P. 106. Mr. Wallis, Secretary to the Cornwall Agricultural Society, has favoured me with the following remarks on waste lands.

"It is computed that there are in Cornwall, at least from 150,000 to 200,000 acres of unenclosed waste lands, which are appropriated to no other purpose than a scanty pasturage for a miserable breed of sheep and goats throughout the year; and about 10,000 acres to the summer pasture of cattle and sheep: the principal and most profitable tract of these waste lands extends from south to north, between the towns of Liskeard, Bodmin, Camelford, and thence to within a few miles of Launceston; particularly those called Roughtor, Temple, and Alternoon Moors: some of these wastes are stocked in the summer by large flocks of sheep and cattle, which are taken in to pasture by the tenants of the neighbouring farmers, from about the middle of May until October, at 28. to 218. per head for neat cattle, and 1s. to 3s. per score for sheep. Herdsmen M m 2


[ocr errors]

are employed by these tenants to look after the flocks during these months, whose business it is to restore them to their owners, at the end of the time agreed on.

"The sheep pastured on these moors will not remain there healthy during more than a month or two at a time, but become what is called moor-sick, and are removed into the inland country, when the change of a few weeks renders them fit to return to the moors again.

"These wastes also produce some furze, and excellent turf, which are the chief fuel of the neighbouring inhabitants.""

FUEL.-P. 160. "The principal article of fuel in the western parts of Cornwall is turf, furze, and Welsh coals; in the eastern part, hedge and coppice-wood, and coals.With the poor in Cornwall it may be said, this necessary article of comfort is scarce, and many of them are obiged to take a great deal of pains to collect a scanty burthen of miserable furze (a short kind called the Cornish) from the commons."

MANUFACTURES.-P. 165. "These are very few and inconsiderable; some coarse woollen, several paper, and a carpet manufactory, make up the principal."

For the evil effects of spinning mills, see Poor Rates, ensuing.

MINING.-P. 179. "The observations which perpetually occur against mining, as an obstacle to improvement, amongst over-jealous friends to agriculture, require some animadversion. Where the mines are situated, they undoubtedly spoil some good land; but the mines are generally situated in the poorest part of our county. In spite however of these natural disadvantages, every where in the neighbourhood of them may be seen excellent crops of corn, crops produced by the labour and savings of the industrious miner; on spots which, in any other county, or under any other circumstances, must have remained in a state of perpetual barrenness: and the fact is, that some of our greatest improvements in agriculture, have been made by profits from the mines, and from the trade which they create and maintain."-For their effect on the poor rates, see below. POOR RATES.-P. 33. "These, as in other parts of the kingdom, have been some years on the increase:”

"In the mining parishes the estates have been so burthened with poor-rates, in scarce seasons of grain, or when employment for the miners has failed, as to be of little value to the proprietors, and the remedy has been resorted to, of calling upon the hundred for aid."

"Carding and spinning were formerly found profitable employments for the female poor; and to the total decline


of this business must, in some measure, be attributed the progressive increase of the rates in this county."

P. 166. "From the few manufactures in the county, the poor are not numerous, excepting in the mining parishes; nor are the rates heavy, if compared with those of many other parts of the kingdom: from 2s. 6d. to 3s. in the pound of the rental, may be about the usual rate of the county; but in the mining districts, the poor-rates are very high, sometimes up to 10s. or 128. in the pound; however, the land proprietors who have been benefited by the mines, have of late years been obliged, by contributing to the rates, to lighten the oppressive burthen."

P. 178.

The serious increase of the poor-rates, especially since the decline of the carding and spinning employment, and since so many burthens have been thrown on it for raising soldiers and seamen, and for the support of the families of militiamen, must operate as a check to improvement."

TITHE.-P. 32. "The great, or sheaf tithes, are for the most part the property of laymen, and are by them farmed. out to persons called proctors. The small tithes, which comprise all tithable things, except corn, are in the hands of the Clergy, who in general compound at ls. to 1s. 6d. in the pound of the rent, for vicarages; and for rectories, where the great tithes also belong to the clergyman, from 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d. in the pound. In general it may be observed, they are compounded for on very moderate terms, when held by the Clergy; when held by a layman, they are sometimes taken in kind, but generally valued, and agreed for in the field about the time of harvest."

MARKETS.-Surplus Produce.-P. 165. "It is generally supposed, that Cornwall is deficient in its produce of wheat, in proportion to its inhabitants; but of barley, oats, and potatoes, it grows much more than it consumes. A great many neat cattle, pigs, and some sheep, are driven annually out of the county."

Weights and Measures.-P. 180. "Divers weights and measures prevail throughout Cornwall, to a mischievous and vexatious degree, and are productive of much inconvenience, perplexity, and error. They are a snare to the ignorant, a handle for the artful, and equally injurious to the individual and the community. Of all those who have regard to fairness and justness in their dealings, a uniformity of weights and measures is the universal and ardent wish.

"Corn is sold in the eastern parts of Cornwall by the double Winchester of 16 gallons, and in the western parts by the treble Winchester of 24 gallons; oats by the hogs

M m 3


head of nine Winchesters; but with some farmers, the double Winchester will run 17 or 17 gallons. Again, if a farmer in the eastern part of Cornwall buys a bushel of seed-wheat from the western farmers, it will run short a gallon or two by the eastern measure. Butter is generally sold at 18oz. to the pound. The customary perch for landmeasure is also 18 feet; but this is giving way to the statute perch of 16 feet."

SOCIETIES.-P. 180. "The Cornwall Agricultural Society has been frequently mentioned in these papers. It was established in the year 1793, has been supported with great spirit, and been attended with very beneficial effects in the encouragement of agriculture throughout the county; and it has never been in a more flourishing state than at present."



ESTATES.-P. 17. "Property is very much divided,

subdivided, and vexatiously intermixed; consequently the proprietors of lands are numerous. Some few accommodations of interchange have conduced to the concentrating landed property, forming those desirable estates, bounded within ring fences, always to their greater profit and improvement. The size of estates varies greatly, perhaps from 20 acres to 500 acres, very few exceeding 400l. per


TENURES.-P. 18. " The tenure of the land in Cornwall is generally freehold, excepting lands of ecclesiastical corporations, and ancient duchy land, which is equivalent to copyhold in fee, held under the Duke of Cornwall, subject to a small annual rent."

Life Leases.-P. 19. "There is a very considerable proportion of the lands of Cornwall now held by the tenantry under these leases; but it is certain, that the number of new grants, or renewal of old ones, is on the decrease; and seldom take place, excepting under some peculiar circumstances affecting the particular estate, or from some particular motives, arising from the situation of the proprietor."

SODBURNING.-P. 118. "This process is, with much propriety, arranged under the head of Improvement. The general opinion throughout this county is, that a more prompt and efficient improvement cannot be devised; and


accordingly, it is the usual and prevailing preparation, for the conversion of old tough lays and furze or heathy waste grounds into tillage. The process commences with paring the surface of the land, and the operation is performed, either with the common plough, the beating-axe, or the skimming spade. The plough is used for lay grounds, the two latter implements for coarse grounds."

For the process of burning after the plow; see the head, Turneps, ensuing.

IRRIGATION.-P. 131. "The county of Cornwall, almost every where presents a surface well adapted to this greatest and cheapest of all improvements. Almost every farm is by nature thrown into slopes and declivities, and very few are deficient in wholesome fertilizing springs and rivulets. Most of the soils are calculated to receive very beneficial effects from this mode of improvement; the declivities of the grounds favour that nimbleness of the current required, and the porous shelfy substrata allow of their being quickly laid dry. These local advantages are not overlooked nor neglected; a great many intelligent spirited agriculturists adopt the practice of irrigation, which may be said to be already extensive, and is still extending."

P. 89. "I am happy to see that the watering of meadows is becoming more common in Cornwall."

From these notices, we may pretty safely judge that irrigation is not much practised, by professional men, in Cornwall.

MANAGEMENT of ESTATES.-P. 17. "The management of great estates is generally given to attornies, acting as stewards. As professional men, they are certainly among the most respectable any county can boast; but, without the assistance of a land surveyor, they must be very incompetent judges of the value and management of estates; the most eminent are aware of this, and are beginning to act accordingly. Some landlords, when their estates are to be new let, set a value on them, and let them for a term of years by private contract; but the most usual custom is to let them by public survey to the best bidder, he giving security, if required, for the payment of the rent, and the performance of the covenants."

TENANCY.-P. 34. "The rack-rented farms are mostly held for terms of fourteen years, a few for twenty-one years, and still fewer for seven.

"The time of entry, in the eastern part, Lady-day; in the western, Michaelmas."


* Yes: in that case, it is, in reality, a valuable temporary improve


« PreviousContinue »