Farms and Farming - Introduction

 Mrs Connie Jackman wrote in the WI Scrapbook: While the high chalk down is mostly uncultivated and used for limited grazing, the lower ridge of greensand to the south of this forms a narrow belt of fertile sandy loam, past this and on to the coastal cliffs is an undulating area of alluvial soils which, while fertile are difficult to handle as arable land because within practically every field the soil varies from medium loam to stiff red and yellow clay. It is a favourable climate and soil for grass in particular and while today sheep and some beef cattle are the main herds, in the 1950s dairy cows were most common and each farm employed a cowman, carter, ploughman, and often more.

 

 

The 1891 census for Brook and Mottistone shows approximately 25 agricultural labourers, by 1901 this has increased to 34 and in 1911 reduced to 29. The men and women who worked on the farms felt a strong attachment to the land and to the animals they worked with. In such a small, interdependent community the quality of any work, be it ditching, hedging, or carting, had an impact on everyone and was a responsibility keenly felt.