Page images

COW-HOUSES, PIGGERIES, ETC. 19 The cow-houses consist of a long range of sheds, principally for milking and for nursing the calves. These have stalls, with moveable frames of wood, made to receive the head of the cow, and detain it, lest the animal should turn and throw down the milk, or otherwise interrupt the process. Piggeries and dovecotes need not be described, as they may be seen in other situations. The brewhouse and bakehouse join the dwelling.

I have ranged the farm-yard with my notebook in my hand, and can find nothing more to detain us at present, unless it be to notice some large wooden frames, which Londoners might mistake for coops for young ostriches. They are cow-cribs, and contain winter fodder for cattle.

We shall be extremely happy to shew any of our readers over the farm, and to ask them

in doors, whenever they may honour us with a visit. In the mean time I will ascend a rising ground, whence the greater part of the farm can be surveyed. Our four hundred acres consist of about thirty-five inclosures, divided, as is common in this county and other woodland parts, by ditches and hedge-rows, garnished with the varied forms of stately timber and leafy flowering shrubs. Of those inclosures twenty-one are arable, or plough-land, amounting to about three hundred acres out of the four hundred. The rest is pasture, meadow, wood, or waste, including roads and paths. I may say, without untruth or vanity, that our arable shews as good a tilth, and our grass land as good a sward, as any in the parish, large as it is; and I think the whole farm does fair credit to the skill and management of master and men :- but I must stop here ; for



if I boast much, I shall remind my readers of my early self-conceit, and I had rather that it should be hereafter forgotten.

I shall now give my young friends the names of the fields as they lie before me. The farmer and his men could never understand each other, as to the particular cultivation and business to be done on the several parcels of land, if each had not its own designation, by which it could be referred to. I believe this is the case with all farms and large estates. Most of the names are evidently derived from pecularities of shape, soil, or situation; some from accidents, or incidents of life and husbandry. A few are difficult enough to account for. Our fields have all had their present names time out of mind. Those of which we cannot now perceive the meaning have, perhaps, in long use, become quite miscalled and mis-spelt. Here they are : Fore Field; Back Field ; Twenty Acres ; Bridge Field; Bushy Croft ; Little Bushy Croft; Mill Hoppet ; Acre Piece ; Flamsted Meads ; Stony Field ; Path Field ; Pond Field; Little Go; Wood Side ; Parish Field ; Brook Field; Topsey Wood; Long Mead; Shoulder-of-Mutton Field; Great Hide ; Little Hide ; May Field ; Pig's-Mutton Field ; New Slip; Pole-hurst Side ; Steeple Land ; Steward's Corner; Eleigh Plot; Five Farthing Close ; Abbot's Bury; Oak Field; Hatch Field; Lane Field; Peak End; Downshire Bottom.

These are the well-known inclosures and plots of Gablesides Farm. I can put in a word of explanation with regard to a term or two in the list. A hoppet is, in Essex, and some other parts of England, a small piece of ground, usually near the house, elsewhere called à paddock. Flamsted (formed of sted, Saxon



for a place, and flam or flame,] indicates the situation of some village conflagration, of which the tradition still remains. Little Go is merely a short cut, or track-way, into the high road, passable only in summer. Great Hide and Little Hide: - the word hide was much used formerly for a plot or parcel of land; because measuring thongs were cut from the hide of a bullock, and as much as one skin, thus lengthened out, would inclose, was called a hide of land. In the days of William the Conqueror, this phrase was used for a hundred acres. As to Pig's-Mutton Field, the story is merely this, that, many years ago, a sheep was killed there and nearly devoured by a ravenous sow; but I rather doubt the tale. Pole-hurst Side reminds us of a neighbouring copse, or thicket; hurst, or rather hyrst, being the old Saxon word for a

« PreviousContinue »