[from History of IoM, 1900]
IT is clear, both from the description of the Manx land system already given 1 and from the particulars which follow, that Manx agriculture, till a comparatively recent period, must have been of a very primitive kind. The land, for the most part, lay open for about half the year, and it is not unlikely, though of this there is no absolute proof, that joint holdings in scattered strips divided by balks survived up to the middle of the eighteenth century.2; The method of tillage in vogue was probably that of three fields, one being under wheat, another under barley or oats, and the third lying fallow for one year. 3
Unfortunately, we have no definite information with regard to it, nor, indeed, is there any account of agriculture before 1577, in which year we are told, by Governor and Bishop Meryck, that the island was " rich in flocks . . . and corn,4 but more through the industry of man than on account of the kindliness of the soil."5 He also remarks that it not only " produces sufficient for its own consumption, but annually exports a great deal." 6 Seventy years later it is said to have yielded " besides corn of all sorts . . . good store of flax and hemp." 7 This corn is specified as consisting of " rye, wheat and barley, but chiefly oats, the ordinary bread-corn of the inhabitants." 8
The fact that oats formed the chief food of the inhabitants is confirmed by another writer, in 1681,who also comments on the goodness of the barley, beans and pease.9 Sacheverell gives the following account of the soil and its products at the end of the seventeenth century: " The middle part of the country is generally barren and full of mountains. The north-west is a poor gravel and sand; the northeast has a large tract of meadow called the Curragh, which was formerly under water, but of late well drained and greatly improved; the south, and the south-east has a reasonable good soil, and produces moderate crops of corn when well husbanded." 10 Of the island generally he remarks that it " affords all sorts of grain in reasonable plenty, some small quantity of hemp and flax, a little honey and wax." Thirty years later, Waldron gives a less favourable account of the crops, declaring that the wheat was so bad, that bread could not be made of it, and that there was only sufficient barley to make malt of for home consumption; he states also that oats was the chief crop and that potatoes were very plentiful." None of these writers say much about the grass land, but it is probable that, besides mountain land, there was a large proportion of permanent pasture. 11 Its quality, however, seems to have been indifferent. 12
The cattle that fed upon this pasture are described as being little, low and poor, 13 which is not surprizing, seeing " they feed for the most part in heathy ground, lying continually in the open fields both winter and summer, never housed; neither is any hay or fodder given them." 14
The condition of the cattle was much the same half a century later, though " the better sort improve their breed." 16 The sheep were, in 1648, described " as fat and their flesh as well tasted " 16 as English sheep, but they were generally smaller. Their wool was very good, though not equal to that of the Cotswold or Leicester, 17 and, " when carefully dressed," it made " cloth near a hair colour." 18
Many of these sheep were so wild that they could not be folded for the purpose of taking tithe. 19 There were plenty of goats, and also of swine. Of the swine those which were domesticated were fairly large, but there was also " a small mountain kind called Purrs," 19 which were quite wild and afforded "admirable meat."19 The horses were very small and poor.
Such being the condition of Manx agriculture between 1577 and 1700, let us now see what were the chief drawbacks it had to contend with during that period, and what efforts were made to overcome them. The main disadvantages under which the Manx farmer laboured were the following: first, the poor quality of the live-stock, especially the horses; secondly, the almost complete absence of fences and trees, whereby the crops and live-stock were exposed to the frequent strong winds and the crops were rendered liable to be damaged by animals entering upon them; thirdly, the ignorance of the use of manures; fourthly, the want of proper drainage. Under the first heading we find that the attention of the insular Legislature was directed mainly to the improvement of the quality of the horses.
Thus, one of the obligations laid upon the Great Enquest in 1577 was that they should present all those who kept any "stoned Horse"20 below the value of six shillings and eight pence, or who had any " scabbed horse or mayre." 20 It was ordered, at the same time, that such diseased beasts were to be thrown over the cliffs into the sea and that their owners were to be heavily fined. Seven years later, it was ordained by the Tynwald Court that, not only should no one keep a stallion of less than the above value, but that no stallion should be less than eleven hands high. 21 We may note also that the object of James, Ivory Strange, in offering, in 1628, a prize of £5 to be run for by Manx horses, was doubtless to improve the breed. 22
But, notwithstanding these efforts, the horses at the end of the seventeenth century were described as " poor and small, and very unsightly . . . being all of a sooty black colour, and their hair long and straggling." 23
They were, however, capable of enduring " a great deal of labour and hardship." 23
The fences, as we have seen, 24 were originally for use in the summer only, but, in 1656, on account of the lateness of the harvest, it was ordered that the fences should be kept up till " AllhallowDay," instead of being thrown down at Michaelmas. 25
In 1665, a further advance was made by ordering that the fences were to be kept up in winter as well as in summer, or, if not, that a herd was to be kept, so that the land should not remain " common and as west all the winter season." 26 With the same object, it was also provided that cattle could be put in the pinfold " as well for the trespass done or made in the winter season, as in the harvest or summer time." 27 Fences, at this time, were to be 5 feet high; in 1691, they were ordered to be 5 feet 6 inches, besides a trench 1 foot 6 inches deep and 3 feet broad, and, where trenches could not be made, the fences had to be 6 feet high." 28 Notwithstanding all this legislation, we find Sacheverell, at the end of the seventeenth century, regretting that, owing to the want of fences on the north of the island, they could not introduce the culture of turnips. 29 Feltham, writing a century later, remarks that it was necessary to tie the feet of the cattle with straw ropes to prevent their straying, because the hedges were " not sufficient to keep them, being only earth thrown up in the usual way, without any fencing or underwood at the top." 30
Since then, there has been a continuous improvement in the condition of the fences which still are, however, for the most part, sod banks topped with gorse, though thorn fences and stone walls are gradually becoming more common.
As to trees, Blundell, in 1648, goes so far as to say: " I could not observe one tree to be in any place but what grew in gardens-there is so great scarcity even of birch, as that the mercers in Man . . . when they come into England for other commodities, they buy up our birch brooms, and of them they make rods and sell them to parents to correct their children, and schoolmen to discipline their schollars." 31 The scarcity of trees is also mentioned by a writer in Mercuries Politicos, in November, 1651, who, when describing the sail of Duckenfield's fleet along the eastern shore of the island, states that they were able to observe the insular forces mustering because there were " no trees to hide them "; 32 and, seventy years later, Waldron says that a man might ride " many miles and see nothing but a thorn-tree, which is either fenced round, or some other precaution taken, that so great a rarity shall receive no prejudice." 33 Yet the Legislature evidently did its best to prevent the loss of the few trees that existed by enacting, in 1629, that any one who cut down trees, except on his own ground, should be fined ten shillings; and, in 1667, that any one committing the same offence must plant five or ten trees, according to whether it was the first or second offence, for each tree cut by him. Fines and imprisonment on this account were also imposed by the Acts of 1753, 1758, and 1817. 34 The first recorded effort to plant trees systematically was made by Bishop Wilson on his estate at Bishop's Court, where the extensive plantations still bear witness to his activity.35 But it was not till the present century 36 that planting was carried out on a large scale, and even now trees are by no means numerous. Quite recently an arboricultural society has been formed to promote tree-planting.
The first mention of an effort thoroughly to drain the Curragh is in 1648, when, as a preliminary step, the Great Enquest of Michael Sheading was ordered to meet the governor and officers " to view and consider of some convenient remedie and redresse for the drayninge of the waters from the corraghlands." 40 The remedy adopted was the digging of a deep trench, called the Lhen, or Lhane-mooar. This trench required constant repairs to keep it in order, and there are frequent references in the Records to the necessity41 of doing so. It is noticeable that, after the trench was made, the northern side of the island, which had hitherto been considered the least fertile part, gradually became the most fertile.
The Curragh, however, was not the only marshy part of the island which was full of small lakes and bogs. The works necessary to drain most of these were ultimately carried out in 1756,42 1763,43 and 1776. 44
Let us now consider the profits obtainable from farming. Before 1660, it is very difficult, owing to the very few sales of land mentioned in the Records, and to the paucity of evidence with regard to the money value of the corn dues payable by each quarter-land, to estimate what proportion the lord's rent and other charges on the land, such as corn and turf dues, bore to its value. But it may, perhaps, be stated, with some approximation to the truth, that the average value of a quarter-land (of say eighty acres), at the beginning of the seventeenth century, was from £50 to £60, and that the charges on it varied from 30s. to £2 annually.45 It will, therefore, be clear that the margin of profit was not excessive, and that the lord's rent, which forms more than one-half of the total, was at least a real rent and not a mere nominal charge, as, owing to the enhanced value of land, it is at present.
Between the period of the Restoration and that of the Act of Settlement, (1660-1704), agriculture languished, one cause of this being, according to the farmers, that the profits would not suffice to pay the rent, and the reports of the juries appointed to enquire into the question seem to show that there was some truth in this, as far as the inferior farms which were out of lease were concerned. Thus it was stated, in 1677, that the annual valuation 46 of six farms in the shedding of Glenfaba, which were unlet, was £2 17s. Id., and that the lord's rent payable by them was £2 10s. 9d., while, in the sheadings of Rushen and Michael, the valuation was not sufficient to cover the rental.47 But another and more general cause of the depression in agriculture was the insecure condition of the tenure. Under these circumstances we are not surprised to find that Manxmen paid more attention to their fisheries than to their land, and that, towards the end of the century, many of them were tempted to take part in the profitable, though hazardous, pursuit of smuggling.
After the passage of the Act of Settlement, however, agriculture slowly revived. The culture of flax was encouraged by the legislation already referred to in Book ii. chapter ii., as well as by the purchase and gratuitous distribution of Dutch flax-seed, by the Government, 48 and the crops generally were improved by the extirpation of the parrs, or wild swine, which had caused considerable damage to them.49
No doubt, too, Manx farmers were stimulated to make improvements by the remarkable success of Bishop Wilson, 50 in farming his demesne, especially when he proved the superiority of his methods by raising large quantities of grain during the famine years of 1740 and 1741, when his neighbours' crops had all but failed.
Such improvement as there was, however, must have been very gradual, since, in 1739, we are informed that the island had not for many years past produced sufficient corn for the support of its inhabitants,51 and, in 1765, one of the first objects of the legislation then passed was to provide the Manx people with wheat, barley, oats, meal, and flour. 52 It was also enacted that the prohibition of the exportation of Manx live-stock, except sheep, to Great Britain, should be done away with; that all agricultural implements, flax, and flax-seed, might be imported from thence duty free, 53 and that the bounties on corn meal and flour exported from Great Britain into the Isle of Man54 should be discontinued. So inert, however, were the farmers that very little use seems to have been made of these facilities, though there is no doubt that the check which smuggling received at this time55 caused more attention to be paid to farming. 56 And yet a competent authority, writing at the end of the eighteenth century, describes the farmers as only cultivating a small portion of their estates, leaving the rest to be grown over by heath and gorse.57 Some advances were, however, being made. In 1765 and 1776, there was some useful legislation about boundaries. 58 About 1770, clover was introduced, and, ten years later, turnips were first cultivated. Nevertheless, in 1792, the Duke of Atholl reported that agriculture was " nearly as backward as before 1765 . . . excepting near some of the towns. 59 But just at this time a rapid improvement set in. Stimulated by the increasing price of corn and the low price of land, enterprising Scottish and English farmers bought or rented farms, and their superior methods of culture were gradually imitated by the natives.60 A great impetus, too, was given, in 1798, to the breeding of a better class of sheep by the issue of a permission to import one hundred sheep annually from England,61 and, in 1807, the improvement of live stock generally was powerfully stimulated by the establishment of a branch of the Workington Agricultural Society62 in the island. This was mainly due to the exertions of John Christian Curwen, who was an ardent agriculturist. 63 Unfortunately the improvement in methods of culture and quality of stock was not accompanied by the introduction of more efficient agricultural implements.
.At the beginning of the present century the ploughs are described as rudely constructed, and drawn by four oxen yoked abreast. They required the services of two men, one to hold the plough, and another who used a fork to assist in regulating the depth of the furrow, whilst the harrows had teeth made of wood hardened over the fire, which were sharpened every morning before being used. 64 Such implements were, of course, inefficient, and so we find that from half to threequarters of an acre was considered a good day's work for a team of four oxen, and from threequarters of an acre to an acre for a horse team of two, three, or four, according to their strength. 65 Threshing machines were introduced as early as 1793; but for years after that time farm carts were almost unknown, the usual method of carriage being on horses' backs, 66 or by means of sledges formed of two shafts, connected by five or six cross-bars. These were somewhat wider at the end which trailed on the ground than at that which was fastened to the horse's back.67
It cannot, then, be wondered at that a competent observer, in 1812, speaks of Manx agriculture as " a recent art," 68 and that he remarks that the attention it received " from the numerous yeomanry, among whom the soil is principally divided," 69 was still insufficient. He also criticises the defective construction and unventilated condition of the farm buildings and houses, and the want of cleanliness in the dairies; and he points out that the system of soiling was " unknown or unpractised."69
Another failing of the Manx farmers, at this time, was the neglect of a proper rotation of crops. The production of corn, owing to the enormous increase in its price, paid handsomely,70 so that three crops of it were often taken in succession. The principal corn crop was barley, which was " in universal use among the poorer classes for the purpose of bread,"70 it being also in demand for the numerous insular breweries. One result of this exclusive cultivation of corn 71 was that, in 1812, Manx exports of grain exceeded, for the first time, the imports, and this continued to be the case up to 1820. After that date the imports were again in excess of the exports till about 1835.72
There is no doubt that during the period from 1808 to 1816 Manx farmers were very prosperous.
Trade rapidly increased and so did the numbers of English families which settled in the island, as well as of the native population. Moreover, the heavy taxes which were at this time imposed in England operated as bounties upon Manx agriculture73. One result of this prosperity was the cultivation of land high up in the mountains, and to such an extent had this process been carried out that, in 1819, a shrewd observer remarked that it had gone further than profits would ultimately justify, a statement which has been since then amply justified. 74 The excessive production of corn, as well as the increase of population, resulted in the decrease of the exports of live stock at this period. On the other hand, the imports, not only of stock, but of grass and clover seeds, after 1800, increased, which affords a proof that there were some effort to promote improved cultivation.75
Rents, following the increased price of agricultural produce, were greatly augmented. In 1792, lands near Douglas, Castletown, and Peel were let at from 15s. to £2 per acre, while, near Ramsey, rents were, as a rule, below 15s. per acre. The uplands let at about 5s. per acre throughout the island, and the mountain land at about 2s.76 By 1812, all these rents were nearly doubled. Then, after the conclusion of the great war in 1815, came a sudden collapse. The numerous troops which had been stationed in the island were removed. Many of the large class of visitors, who had been tempted to reside in it by the operation of the Act of 1737, by which debts contracted out of the Isle of Man were not recoverable there, departed, on its repeal in 1814.
Prices consequently fell suddenly.77 This unfortunate state of things was aggravated by several bad seasons, and by the free importation of foreign wheat, which, except for brief intervals in 1819 and 1821, continued till 1828, when it was prohibited.78 But there were also other and more permanent drawbacks to agricultural progress. Among them were the still defective fences, the bad state of the highroads, and the laziness induced by the pursuit of the herring fishery, in which much the largest part of the male population found employment.79 To these we may add the method of the collection of the tithe, and the attempt to take the tithe of potatoes and other green crops which had not been demanded for many years. 80
Many farmers, especially the smaller ones, were ruined, and they, with numbers of the labouring class, being unable to obtain employment, emigrated to America, especially between 1825 and 1837.81
This led to the rapid reduction in the number of the smaller estates which were absorbed into the larger ones.82 So marked were the effects of emigration and of the fall in prices of agricultural produce, that, in 1828, an insular journalist stated that the former had " most seriously contributed to drain " it " of itsheart's blood," and that the latter had " reduced the Island almost to a state of bankruptcy;"83 and we learn that, in 1829, " the farmers were idle, that their lands were exhausted by improvident tilth 84 and that mortgage upon mortgage had accumulated." 85 Moreover, what the Legislature termed, in 1827, "the most injurious and unnatural union of the two trades of fishing and farming" still continued 85
This state of things naturally reduced the competition for land, and, therefore, both its value and its rent fell. During the period between 1816 and 1839 the average value of good land did not exceed £20 per acre 86 and that of inferior land was as low as £6 per acre. Yearly rents varied from 6s.to 30s. per acre, except near Douglas, where a few good fields were let at about £3 per acre.87 In 1823, the gross rental of the island was computed at from £60,000 to £70,000, and, in 1835, it was put at £100,000, the mortgages on it being estimated at £40,000 annually88
After 1839, however, owing to the passage of the Tithe Commutation Act, which removed the friction between the landlords and the clergy by placing the payments from the former to the latter on a satisfactory basis, a great improvement in agriculture, especially in the northern district, is noticeable.87 Drainage was carried out on a large scale88 subsoil ploughing' was introduced, and artificial manures came into use. The re-establishment of the Agricultural Society in 1858 had also a good effect.89
The result of these various causes was a very large increase in the exports of agricultural produce, especially of wheat, potatoes90, turnips, hay, and fat cattle.&91 At the same time, the stock of cattle, sheep, horses, and pigs, largely increased.92.
Even the repeal of the corn laws in England, in 1846, does not seem to have produced much effect on prices which were kept up by the gold discoveries in California and Australia. The tenants were as prosperous as the landlords, though rents had increased 50 per cent. since 1792. In 1863, the rents, in the lowlands, varied from £1 to £3 per acre, some lands letting to butchers, near the towns, especially Douglas, for as much as £4 per acre. Eleven years later, when rents reached their highest point, they were, perhaps, about 10 per cent. higher than in 1863. This state of things, with the exception of a few short periods of reaction,93 continued till about 1874, when, with regard both to crops and rents, a change set in. The cultivation of wheat, owing to its growing importation from other countries, became unprofitable,94 while the increased number of summer visitors rendered it necessary to produce more milk, butter, and meat for their consumption, and more oats for the large number of horses required for their use. To such an extent, indeed, has the home market for these commodities increased, that, though a much larger part of the island has been placed under permanent pasture, grass, and oats,95 and, though the stock of cattle and sheep has increased till it has become an unusually large one for the area under cultivation, it has been necessary to import an annually increasing quantity of live-stock, poultry, flour, fruit, vegetables, butter, and eggs.96 Rents since 1874 have shrunk, generally, about 20 per cent., and, in the case of mountain lands, from 30 to 40 per cent. The agricultural depression was, perhaps, at its worst from 1879 to 1886, though rents have continued to fall since the latter date. Within the last few years, however, prices have slightly improved, and the fall in rents has been checked. The value of agricultural land has, especially near the towns, been well maintained, 97 though it is not so high as it was 25 years ago. Its cultivation is favourably commented on by a writer in the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1882, and he notes the improvement of cattle due to the importation of Ayrshires and shorthorns. Since 1889, the insular Government has contributed to the improvement of stock by giving premiums for stallions and bulls, and, in 1896, it instituted lectures on dairying, a department in which Manx farmers have still much to learn.98 They have, however, not been behindhand in the introduction of labour-saving machinery, such as self-binders, tic., but, indeed, this has been forced upon them by the large emigration of labourers from the country districts.
On the whole it may fairly be said that, at the present day, the average condition of agriculture in the Isle of Man is not much inferior to what it is in England and Scotland, and that the position of the Manx farmers, though they generally pay higher rents .. than their compeers in those countries do, is, except perhaps in the more remote parts of the island, a more favourable one than that of the English and Scottish farmers...
The present position of Manx farmers and of agriculture is referred to by a Commission on " Local Industries" which reported in 1900. The commissioners state that they " have not discovered any causes prejudicially affecting Manx farmers which do not equally affect farmers in England, Scotland, and Ireland "; .. and they continue: " Indeed, we believe that, owing to the excellent demand here for all sorts of agricultural produce in the summer, the position of our farmers, except those in the more remote districts, is an exceptionally favourable one." .. They also remark that, " on the whole, rents are not excessive." .. In relation to the state of cultivation their comment is that " there is need for better and more thorough cultivation of the land," .. and that, as regards the crops, " neither Manx wheat nor barley is as good, on an average, as English; but that " oats, the largest corn crop, is, on the whole, fully equal to what is grown on the mainland." .. They declare that the Government premiums for stallions and bulls have been beneficial in improving the breed of horses and cattle, but that dairying is " in a very unsatisfactory condition," .. Manx butter being " very unequal in quality." .. Legislation is recommended to compel the cutting of noxious weeds, which are very prevalent,~j and to insure adequate attention being paid " to the deepening, widening, and maintaining of the main arteries of drainage" .. in boggy districts; and lectures in connexion with dairying, market-gardening, arboriculture, and beekeeping are suggested.
1: See Book I. ch. ii.
2: It must be remembered that this system was in existence in England after that time, it calling forth a remark from Young that the " Goths and Vandals of open fields farmers must die out " before any real improvement could take place.
3:At that time the only green crops to give a rotation were vetches and beans, there being no sown grasses or turnips.
4:It is not known whether Manx pasture land increased at the expense of the arable, as in England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, or not.
5: Cott. MSS. (Manx Soc., vol. iv. p. 95). If we may believe the survey of 1608 (see pp. 878-9 note i), which declares, as regards the parish of Lonan, that there was " noe tenant within that parish because of the Barren Soyle therein," it would seem that the parish was altogether uncultivated. But this is contradicted by the fact that numerous lord's rents would seem to have been paid in that parish in the year referred to, and so we must assume that the surveyors of 1608, whose principal duty was to give a list of leases, meant to convey merely that there was no land let on lease in that parish.
6: Blundell (Ibid., vol. xxv. p. 40).
7:Chaloner (Ibid., vol. x. p. 6).
8: Denton, MS.
9:Manx Soc., vol. i. p. 12. We have already seen that at this time the area under flax and hemp was compulsorily increased by legislation (p. 426).
10: Ibid., vol. xi. p. 2.
11: We may note that there were deer in Man as well as on the Calf. Thus, in 1653, " the deare of this Island have been much neglected " (Lib. Scacc.).
12: " Their meadows are either benty or full of rushes; some by the sides of rivers much better " (Demon MS').
13: Some tolerable pastures." Sacheverell (Manx Soc., vol. i.p. 12).
14: Blundell (Ibid., vol. xxv. p. 41).
15: Blundell (Manx Soc., vol. xxv. p. 41).
16: Sacheverell (Ibid.,vol.i. p. 12).
17: Blundell (Ibid., pp.42-3).
18: Sacheverell (Ibid., p. 13).
19: Statutes, vol. i. p. 43.
20: Statutes, vol. i. p. 54.
21: No manner of person or persons shall keep a stoned horse unless he be the height of five quarters of a yard and worth 6s. 8d. in value, otherwise upon the presentment of the Great Enquest, the offender is to tee fined 3s. 4d." (Parr's MS.).
22: Statutes, vol. i. p. 142.
23: Mamac Soc., vol. xviii. (Camden's Britannza), p. 13. The size of a Manx horse, even in the eighteenth century, may be inferred from the entry " a substantial horse about 13 hands " (Lab. Scacc., 1716).
24: Book I. ch. ii.
25: Statutes, vol. i. p. 110. The old customary law was that " ditches " or fences of four and a half feet high, sufficient " to defend horse or cow," should be kept up from the 25th of March to the 29th of September (Ibid., p. 49)
.26: Ibid., p. 126. The pinfolds were naturally in great request. In 1422, it was ordered that they were to be made " as they were wonte to be in old time " (Ibid., p. 13), and, in 1665, it was ordered that they were to be kept in repair, like the church. yards, by the tenants of each been (Ibid., p. 127). 27:Manx Soc., vol. i. p. 12.
28: Ibid., vol. xxv. pp. 46-7.
29:Statutes, vol. i. p. 151.
30: Ibid., vol. vi. p. 47.
31: Ibid vol xxv pp46-7
32:" Manx Rebellion " (Mann Soc., vol. xxvi. p. 65).
33: Ibid., vol. xi. p. 41. 34: See Statutes, vol. i. pp. 82,134, 252, 278, and 387. Doubtless the reason of such offences being frequent was the difficulty in obtaining fuel.
35:Wilson's History (Manx Soc., vol. xviii. p. 106).
36: Haining's Guide, p. 184. Bullock, p. 244. The Agricultural Society (see p. 926) at that time distributed young trees gratuitously to those who prepared and enclosed land for planting them.
37: Statutes, vol. i. p. 14; Wilson (Manx Soc., vol. xviii. p. 103).
38:Sacheverell (Mann Soc., vol. i. p. 12). Tradition has it that the people imitated him in burning stone to make lime, but, since they did not confine themselves to limestone, they frequently failed, and so, attributing his success to witchcraft, they gave up their attempts. Numerous piles of calcined stones may be found in various parts of the island at the present day.
39:Wilson (Manx Soc., vol. xviii. p. 103).
40: Lab. Scacc.
41: One of these, in 1714, ran as follows: " Whereas complaint is made that notwithstanding severall orders formerly issued forth for the opening the sluices and cleaning the draines that carry off the water from our Honourable Lords Land called the Lanemore yet the same is neglected whereby the said Lands is very much damnified and rendered of less profit . . . therefore you are hereby required forthwith to give notice to all persons whose Lands and Trenches adjoin to the said Lanemore . . . to open and cleanse their respective drainer, trenches and sluices " (Lab. Scacc.).
42: Lib. Scacc.
43: Statutes, vol. i. p. 292.
44: Ibid., p. 301. In 1771, Vicar-General Wilks remarked that many acres of marshy and mountainous land had been reclaimed, and it would be inferred from his statement that most of this had been done since 1765 (Manx Note Book, vol. iii. p. 179).
45:Thirty-nine leases taken between 1542 and 1592, but for the most part between 1582 and 1592, give an average rental of 8½d. per acre, or. averaging a quarter-land at eighty acres, 56s. 8d. per quarter-land, but these leased lands were probably the choicest farms in the country.
46: The juries stated that they had valued the land " green side up," and had computed " the yeerly worth of grasse, hay, and herbage by wich computation " most of the farms " will not discharge and satisfy the yearly rent much less the other incumbrances " (Lib. Scacc.).
47:The valuation of the other sheddings has been lost. It :is interesting to note that the juries estimated the "grassing" of a cow at 1s. 4d. per annum. In 1756, this had advanced to 8s. 3d.
48: Lib, Scacc,, 1706.
49: In 1711, the Legislature endeavoured, though in vain, to obtain the boon of free trade for its agricultural and other produce from Great Britain in return for an undertaking to put an end to the smuggling (Statutes, vol. i. p. 187).
50: He was the son of a farmer.
51: Petition of William Quayle to the Crown (Loose Papers. Knowsley).
52:7 Geo. III. c. 45. By 6 Geo. III. c. 40, a quantity of wheat, not exceeding 2,500 quarters, was allowed to be imported into the island.
53: Commissioners' Report, Appx. (B) No. 44 (5 Geo. III. c. 43).
54: Ibid., 5 Geo. III. p. 30 (see p. 585).
55: See p. 597
56: Though they still went to the herring-fishing.
57: Report by T. C. Curwen, quoted by Bullock, p. 243. Bishop Hildesley writes of the insular beef and mutton being small, but, when fat, superior to the English (Manx Church, Magazine, vol. i. p. ciii.).
58: Statutes, vol. i. pp. 292-3, and 300 2.
59: Commissioners' Report, App. (D), No. 28.
60: Jefferey's Guide (1809), pp. 75-6.
61: By Act 38 Geo. III. c. 63. This quantity was increased to 300 in 1811.
62: Its first meeting was held on the 7th of July, at St. John's.
63:This society also gave prizes for the best cultivated farms.
64: Train, vol. ii. p. 241.
65: Quayle, pp. 109-10.
66: They carried panniers called " creels."
67:Quayle, p. 40. And yet it is said that tillage in 1812 was effected at a reduced expense, " owing to improved methods'(Ibid., p. 52).
68: Quayle, p. 20.
69: Quayle, p. 20. The size of the farms varied from ten to one hundred and fifty acres, there not being more than sixty farms of sixty acres or above (Ibtd., p. 25). 70: The average prices at this period (1800-16) were: Hay, about £3 per ton. Barley, 1s. 6d. and wheat 10s. 6d. per bushel. Turnips £5 per load, but they varied greatly in price. The price of horses, and housekeeping, of implements and of wages in 1812 were double what they were in 1792 (Ibid., p. 52).
71: It was estimated, in 1816, that the average production of good land was from 40 to 50 bushels per acre for oats and barley and from 25 to 30 bushels per acre for wheat (Bullock,p. 245).
72: Appendix A.
73: Bullock, p. 249.
74:J. M. D. McCulloch, Western Islands of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 519. He spoke approvingly of the cultivation of the north of the island.
75: Appendix A, where the very meagre statistics procurable will be found.
76: In 1805, J. C. Curwen estimated the number of productive acres in the island at 160,000, and their average rental at 10s.
77: Also wages.
78: By Act 9 Gleo. IV. cs. 20 and 60. But the same Act prohibited the export of malt to the United Kingdom, and of ground corn, except wheat meal, wheat flour or oat meal, to Great Britain, and of ground corn to England.
79: Wood (p. 44), writing in 1811, said that four-fifth of the farming work was done by women.
80: See p. 661.
81: Manks Advertiser.
82: Teignmouth, vol. ii. p. 203.
83: Manks Advertiser.
84: There is a good deal of discrepancy in the evidence as to the way in which the land was cultivated, though there is no doubt that it was much injured by the constant cropping for corn. According to one account, it was well manured and properly cultivated (Hairing's Guide, 1822, p. 183) though it was admitted that there was great room for improvement, while, according to others, manure was so scantily supplied that it was not infrequently carried to the field in a creel instead of a cart (Oswald's Guide, 1823), and there were constant complaints of the neglected state of agriculture and the want of drains (Letters to the Manks Advertiser, 1830).
85:Quiggin's Guide, p. 124 (edit. of 1831).
86: Oswald's Guide (1823) and Teignmouth, vol. ii. p.203.
87: As late as 1845, however, some primitive methods survived, the farmers even then, in some cases, using horse creels to carry their manure while they transported their corn in sledges (Train, vol. ii. pp.246-7). The following are prices and rents of farms in the northern district in 1858: Ballavarran' Jurby, 154 acres, rent £170, sold for £4,400. Ballavoddan, Andreas, 165 acres, sold for £8,200. sallasteen, Andreas, 128 acres, sold for £5,850.
88: After 1853, the draining began.
89 it had failed in 1813; it was re-formed in 1842, but only lasted till 1845
: in 1820, the farm of Ballashamrock, near Douglas, of 100 acres, was sold for £1,461. In 1817, there were eight farms near Douglas, the rent of which was under 20s. per acre.
90:A potato factory was set up in Douglas in 1851. [?1846 as per Ind Arch - a Patrick Featherstone was foreman in 1851c]
91: Unfortunately there are no reliable statistics to show this (see Appendix A).
92: Appendix B.
93:Man was visited by the cattle plague in 1865,1870, and 1877.
94: The acreage under wheat fell from 7,444 acres, in 1873, to 809 acres in 1896 (Appendix C).
95: Appendix D.
96: In the evidence given before the " Commission on Manx Industries " in 1899, the quantity of imports was estimated as follows: Butter, 200 to 220 tons; eggs, from a minion to a million and a quarter; poultry, about 10,000; and an"immense quantity " of all sorts of fruits and vegetables. The imports of live stock, except lambs, do not much exceed the exports, but of them there are a " much larger quantity imported than exported." The chief exports are barley, turnips, and potatoes.
97: This is shown by the prices received for Lady Buchan's properties in 1890: Castleward (2 miles from Douglas), £6,115 for 180 acres, [Kirby (1 mile from Douglas), £6,500 for 218 acres; Ballahutchin, Marown (3½ miles from Douglas), £6,100 for 203 acres; Ballanayre (2½ miles from Peel), £3,250 for 155 acres.
These have, however, not been continued since then.
+ The increased price of labour during the past thirty years has not affected farmers unfavourably, since it has been more than compensated for by the introduction of machinery.
~ In Appendix E will be found a summary of recent legislation concerning agriculture.
* Commission on Local Industries (Manx Blue Book, 1900, pp. 1-2).