- Comments (0) Change font
If columns/tables do not appear straight, change font
Thursday June 13th I was prevented by the state of the weather from prosecuting my inspection of the farms this morning & passed several hours in the office examining into the accounts & leases & investigating in the journals the details of certain matters which I want to be informed upon. I had an interview with Lessees of Throckley colliery & told them that from Mr Taylors opinion & all I could learn on the subject, their chance of success was not such as to justify their attempt. They waged their claim very strenuously, stating that they had already expended nearly £500 upon the trial, & that they thought it very hard to be debarred of the only remaining chance of being remunerated. There did seem to be a hardship in the case, & I consented to their making a trial to ascertain by boring, at the point recommended by Mr Taylor, the state of the coal, but by no means to commence any operation which wd cause damage to the Duke’s property until I was acquainted with the result of the boring, & had an opportunity of communicating it to the Board. The day improved a little & I rode to Thornborough taking Mr Hunt with me, who having his tillage book, ascertained the state of the cropping as he goes along. This property is in the most satisfactory condition of any I have yet seen, except perhaps, Mr Langhorn’s farm at East Mill Hill. Mr Scott the largest occupier entered to his farm five years ago, in a exhausted state from over cropping, & has the sagacity to determine upon changing the management from the 4 to the 5 course rotation by which the land remains in grass 2 years in every 5. The appearance of his crop is most promising & the result of this experiment has fully justified his expectations. He obtains he says an equal quantity of corn from the reduced quantity of land, with a consequent saving of seed & labour; & at the same time greatly increases his produce of mutton & wool, at present the only articles of agricultural production wh bear a remunerating price to the farmers. I heartily wish that more of the tenants wd follow this example, which would greatly provide their interests & the improvement of the property. Mr Scott is bound to keep in grass a field of good turnip soil close by the homestead, & has in tillage one extremely inconveniently situated at a great distance; down a steep hill & partly subject to be overflowed. One draught wd do more in carting out manure & bringing home produce in the former than six in the latter. I cannot commend the judgement that bound him to such an arrangement. It would be proper to allow Mr Scott to lay the one off to grass, as a substitute for the other for which he is anxious to do. The Quarry farm is in very fair order but the sale of lime this season much reduced by the poverty of the farmers. High Barn farm has too small portion of turnip soil the land in pretty good cultivation, & the buildings in good repair, part of a boundary fence on the edge of a brook wants to be removed, wh can only be done properly by a give & take with the adjoining proprietor. I find by conversation with the Tenants, & from Mr Hunts book, that a great number of new Gates are wanted by those who have lately entered to their farms, & that the older occupants require wood to make them for themselves. In the former case the Gates must be supplied to them & in the latter, the custom is to give them wood to make up in their own fashion & sometimes they forget to make them at all. The Gates cost the Hospital 4/6 each for work & nails - but I am of opinion that if a quantity of suitable wood were collected to some convenient point, & the making of a number of gates at a time contracted for, they might be made for 3/6 or 2/6 each. I would then propose that they should be in the custody of the Wood-keeper, to be delivered by him under a written order from Mr Hunt to the new Tenants, gratis & to others by their paying the cost of making. In this way there wd be a saving of expense, the gates would be examined before they were paid for, the wood would cut out to greater advantage & we should be certain that it was applied to the proper purpose. I have spoken to the Woodkeeper on the subject, who entirely concurs in my opinion & says there is a large unoccupied Barn at Dilston that wd be the most convenient depot possible for the purpose. If the Commissioners approve of this suggestion, I shall direct Mr Hunt to procure proposals from Carpenters for making the gates & give him a plan & dimensions.