Despite being home to the world-renowned Hereford breed of cattle, and celebrated for its hops and cider apples, Herefordshire farming remains little studied, its story rarely told. In this book, social historian Katherine Lack traces the history of farming in the county across a vast span of time, from traces left by prehistoric farmers in the valleys of the Severn and Wye, to the arrival of the railways in the nineteenth century.
How much did Stone Age people alter this landscape? What influence did the Romans have here? Who decided what to grow and how to grow it in the Dark Ages? How did Herefordshire Ryelands wool come to be seen as the finest in Britain in the Middle Ages? Why were oxen used here well into the nineteenth century, long after their replacement by horses in the rest of England? Why did the county produce hundreds of varieties of cider and perry apple? And why are hops still cultivated here?
Using original research, including wills and inventories from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, this richly-illustrated book reveals fascinating details about the daily life and work of individual farmers, and broader patterns in farming and society, in Herefordshire and beyond.
Weights and measures
Map of Hereford
1: Where are we going?
2: Farmers or foragers: who were the earliest Herefordshire farmers?
3: The transition to full-time farming
4: Farmers in roundhouses
5: Farming in Roman Herefordshire
6: Archenfield interlude
7: The millennium
8: From peasants to yeomen
Improving the land
9: Yeomen farmers
Bibliographic references and notes
Katherine Lack (1958-2021) held doctorates in Agricultural Science (Oxford) and Social History (Birmingham) and worked as a freelance researcher in Herefordshire. She had a long-standing passion for the county’s farming past.
Paperback | 272 pages | 242 x 171 mm | November 2021