Economic history

Information extracted from British History Online (
History: Local Economy
In 1086 the royal farmers had 3 ploughteams and 6 servi to work their 2 hides of demesne, and the Scalers farmer ½ team on his 1 ploughteams. The other 2½ hides in the vill were occupied by 26 villani with 7 teams, and 11 bordars. The value of the manors, at £22 and 15s., had not fallen since 1066.  Before its division the Valognes manor probably had c. 320 a. of demesne arable compared with 32 half-yardlands of 14 a. each (448 a.) held in villeinage.  Half that manor included in 1235 160 a. of demesne arable and 15½ half-yardlands.  In 1279 Dovedales and Downhall manors probably each had c. 70 a. of demesne arable and 7 villein tenants, probably halfyardlanders. In 1352 Downhall had 80 a. of arable and 13 a. of grass in demesne, and 9¼ yardlands. For more, please visit:
By the 14th century the arable was parcelled out among a number of furlongs and shots, sometimes called fields, which persisted substantially unaltered until inclosure.  Of some 25 furlong names then recorded at least 18 can be traced to the 14th century, and almost all the rest were recorded by 1650, in the same relative position as they occupied in 1800.  For more, please visit:
In 1337 the fields were normally fallowed every other year, although some tried to sow their land every year, ignoring their neighbours' rights of common.  By the 1580s a triennial rotation had been introduced. The arable was divided into the tilth field, for 'white corn' such as wheat, rye, and barley; the 'pease field' sown with peas, lentils, oats, and tares; and the breach field, for breaking up after a fallow.  A similar rotation was in use in the 1780s when the land not under the triennial fallow was to be sown alternately with tilth crops, such as wheat, and 'edge' crops, such as peas and oats.  Barley was probably the most usual crop.  For more, please visit:
Sheep were widely owned. In 1086 c. 320 sheep were kept for the demesne.  Of c. 50 stone rendered to the wool levy of 1347, only 6 came from two demesnes, while 6 peasants produced 2 or more stone each, and c. 11 stone came from 25 others yielding under 14 lb. each.
The most successful of all the yeomen was John Sherman, the purchaser of Huntingfields, a grasping man much feared by his neighbours for his obstinate litigiousness.  As lessee of the impropriate rectory he took their tithes and enjoyed his own land practically tithe free from the 1560s to 1592. On giving up that lease, he procured a very favourable composition, and resisted fiercely when his successor, tempted by the high corn prices of the mid 1590s, sought to collect his tithes in kind.  Sherman was alleged to have seized many of his neighbours' strips, easing his task by ploughing up balks customarily left unploughed between furlongs. For more, please visit:
An inclosure Act was obtained early in 1828, and the allotments were probably set out later that year, the award being executed in 1830. The area allotted included 1,982 a. of open fields and wastes, and 27 a. of the 116 a. of old inclosures were exchanged. Thereafter, including old inclosures, the Foster-Pigott estate had 306 a., Dickason 463 a., and John Maryon Wilson 464 a.; J. E. Wescomb owned 168½ a., and five others, with 55–105 a. each, including Lord Hardwicke and four owneroccupiers, c. 507 a. Two colleges with the vicar and parish had together c. 100 a., and 7 smallholders with 20 a. or less only 52 a., while 28 a. were allotted for common rights only to 18 men. Few of the lesser allottees had sold their land before the tithe commutation 10 years later.  Until then the farmers had been reluctant to improve their land by using artificial fertilizer. They complained that the tithes rose with their yield, even though the master of Clare had made James Dickason, the rectory lessee, let the other farmers have their tithes at a fair valuation. In 1833 there was said to be a striking contrast between Dickason's own well farmed land, yielding valuable turnip crops, and those of his tithe-burdened neighbours.
About 1831 two thirds of the families in Litlington depended on employment in farming.  Few of the 80 adult farm labourers were out of work; part of the parish gravel pit was set aside for them to grow potatoes.  During the troubles of 1830 their discontent produced an assembly on 13 December, which apparently dispersed peacefully. For more, please visit:
The village had until after 1900 a normal complement of rural craftsmen. Butchers were recorded from the 14th century, and a tanner in 1557.  In the 19th century, besides blacksmiths, carpenters (7 in 1851), coopers, and wheelwrights, there were several tailors, 4 in 1861, and shoemakers, including a master and 8 journeymen in 1851, and also from the 1870s a whitesmith and gunsmith and a plumber and glazier. One builder employed 17 bricklayers in 1871. By 1851 straw-plaiting flourished:... For more, please visit:

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