Home (Hooam) Harvest

The last load of corn was adorned with a fl oral wreath and a puncheon of ‘nammet beer’ was drunk before setting off to the ricks. The harvesters came to the supper straight from the fields and the ‘meyster’ carved the large legs of mutton or ham and they ate mutt on pies or a chine followed by a huge plum pudding and even larger apple pies. When the meal was over and the tables cleared, jugs of real ‘Hooam Harvest Stingo’ (best brew), were brought out and pipes and tobacco placed before the men who were called upon for a song and a yarn alternately, with often one having bearing on the other. All stood for a toast to the ‘Meyster, the founder of the feast’ and gave three cheers to ‘Missus.’ The stories often made fun of fellow labourers or were ghost stories. The songs included, ‘Lumps o’ pudden,’ ‘Come all you jolly harvest men,’ ‘I’m seventeen come Sunday’ and ‘As I walked out one May morning’. There was also always a love song, like ‘Said John to Joan.’

Robert (Bob) Cassell remembered how: In the early days we used to get harvest money in August. That was when all the farm people would buy all their clothes because they would have a bit of money to spend. Usually a farm worker was paid eight pence an hour but in harvest time it was nine pence an hour.