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Evidence to the House of Lords Committee on the state of Agriculture 1837

This was an exercise by Steve Keates to illustrate the average costing of running a Glamorgan farm in the Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg) in the years 1790, 1813 and 1833.

The data is derived/adapted from the accounts of comparative expenses given as evidence to the Select Committee, House of Lords on the State of Agriculture. PP Vol V (464) pp 66-69 --- a Mr Evan David presented his evidence about the farm he managed, size of farm is 650 acres.

Prices by 1833 were becoming depressed which he blamed in part to the increased import of corn from Ireland and..."our unequal competition with the Irish grower".

What follows is a breakdown of costs and day wages in various farming related jobs.

Table No 1

(Cost is in shillings and pence ----  12d. to the shilling & 20s. to the £.) 

*Average paid 3 yrs ending 1833 -*Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 -*Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Labour                                         *-s. /d.  *-s./ d.*-s./ d.

  • Mowing Hay per acre                  -2/6   -3/6   -1/8
  • Reaping Corn ditto                       6 /-  10 /-    4 /-
  • Threshing Wheat per llistrad**     1/ -    1/6     -/8
  • Plashing hedges per perch            - /3    - /4    - /2
  • Threshing barley per llistrad**    - /7    - /9    - /4½
  • Hire per day                                 1/8    2/6     1/2

** A Llestraid is a Welsh corn measure of 3.75 bushels

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Carpenters' Work         *s. /d.  *s. /d.  *s./ d.

  • Oak timber per foot             2/ -  4 /-    1/2
  • Ash and Elm ditto               1/6   2/6    -/10
  • Hire per day                       3/-    4/-    1/8

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Smiths' work                    *s. /d. *s./ d. *s. /d.

  • Horse-shoes each            - /5    - /7     - /3
  • Removing ditto                - /2    - /2     -/1
  • Repairing ploughshares   1/6     2/-     1/ -
  • Journeymen per day         3/-      4/-    1/6

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Saddlers' work        *s. /d.  *s. /d. * s. /d.

  • Set of harness          48/-    60/ -   32/-
  • Horse collars each    5/-     7/-       3/3
  • Mules' bridles           6/-     7/6      4/ -
  • Hire and diet             3/-     3/6      1/6

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Thatchers' work          *s. /d. *s. /d. *s./ d.

  • Thatching per square        3/-   3/6    2/-
  • Hire per day                     2/6   3/-    1/6

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Masons' work            *s. /d.*s. /d.*s. /d.

  • Walling per perch      1/3    1/6    2/-
  • Pitching per yard        -/4    - /5    -/2
  • Hire per day               3/-    3/6    2/-
  • Hurdles per dozen    16/-  24/-   10/-
  • Sacks ditto                40/-  54/-   30/-

Rates and taxes

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

                                                *s. /d.   *s. /d.   * s./ d.

  • Poor-rates per acre             4/4     3/3           2/-
  • Highway rates ditto             -/9      -/6¼       -/3
  • Assessed taxes ditto            -/3      -/6½       -/-¾
  • Land-tax ditto                     -/10½  -/10½     -/10½
  • County-rates ditto               -/6½    -/4          -/1
  • Agistments ditto                 -/11      -/11       -/2½
  • Church-rates ditto              -/2½     -/1½       -/- ¼
  • Property-tax ditto               -/-        1/10        -/-

Household expenses

Sundries, no sums are given but average percentages given are that in 1813 expenses were 60% higher than in 1833 and in 1790 62½ % lower than in 1833.

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833* Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Shoemaker                                *s. /d.  * s. /d.   *s. /d.

  • Men's shoes per pair                 9/ -   12/ -      6/-
  • Paupers' ditto                            7/ -     8/ -      4/-
  • Men's boots ditto                    35/ -   45/-      22/ -
  • Journeymen's wages per day    3/6     4/6        2/-

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Tailors                           *s. /d.   *s. /d.  *s. /d.

  • Making a coat               9/-    10/6     6/-
  • Making trowsers          3/6      4/6     2/6
  • Journeymen per day     3/6      4/-      2/ -

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

Coopers                         *s. /d.   *s. /d.   *s. /d.

  • Small hoops each        -/2        -/3        -/1
  • Casks ditto                 12/ -    16/-      10/-
  • Hire per day                 3/-      3/6       1/6

 

Maids wages etc

*Av. pd 3 yrs ending 1833 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1813 *Av. of 3 yrs ending 1790

  • Dairy-maid, wages                        £6 - -   £7 - -    £3 - -
  • Maid servants                               £4 - -    £4 - -    £2 - -
  • Education and board per annum  £20 - -  £25 - -  £15 - -
  • Day school per quarter                 -/15s -   £1-/-     - /7s6d

Table No 2

ANNUAL EXPENSES of Cultivating 650 acres of Land (450 Arable and 200 Pasture) at the following periods, according to the previous table, in Glamorganshire.

                                                      *1833       *1813       *1790

                                                        *£ s.         *£ s.         *£ s.

  • Labour                                 *£620        *£892         *£415
  • Carpenter, including timber   *£40          *£66          *£22
  • Smith, and iron                       *£42          *£53         *£24
  • Sadler                                     *£16          *£20         *£10
  • Assessed taxes                         *£8           *£18          *£2
  • Agistments                              *£29          *£29           *£6
  • Property-tax                           *£- -           *£60          *£- -
  • Lime and coal                         *£30          *£40          *£24
  • Dairy Maid and dairy utensils                           *£38      *£44         *£22
  • Clover, turnip and mangel seed                         *£45      *£60         *£36
  • Hurdles, sacks, sieves and rope-maker            *£18      *£24          *£12
  • Druggist and farrier                                          *£10      *£12           *£6
  • Corn tithes, by composition and in kind            *£98      *£122       *£85
  • Bad debts, marketing stock and other incidental expenses        *£50        *£ 50          *£30
  • Poor-rates                         *£131             *£96           *£60
  • Highway-rates                    *£22             *£15             *£7
  • Church-rates                         *£6               *£4              *£1  
  • Total Expenses            *£1,231          *£1,635          *£792
  • Period                              *1833             *1813          *1790

Table No 3

ANNUAL PRODUCE of 600 Acres as per contra.

*Ave net value for 3 yrs ending 1833*Ave net value for 3 yrs ending 1813 *Ave net value for 3 yrs ending 1790

  • 110 acres Of Wheat          *£561         *£1,224              *£637      [22 bushels per acre, net]
  • 70 acres Of Barley           *£441            *£693             *£ 409      [40 bushels per acre, net]
  • 10 acres Of Oats           [consumed]
  • 12 acres Of Potatoes         *£105          *£240               *£180      [60 sacks an acre, net]
  • 100 Fat sheep sold            *£210          *£270               *£409       [72 lbs]
  • 250 Sheep/lambs shorn       *£94            *£94                 *£47         [Wool-59 stones]
  • 2 Head of fat cattle each    *£200          *£300              *£135        [800 lbs]
  • 6 Cows                              *£128          *£192              *£112       [Milk/Cheese/Butter]
  • 100 Ewes, milked               *£50            *£70               *£40
  • 4 Horses sold                      *£60           *£100              *£44
  • 30 Pigs sold                        *£52            *£105             *£52
  • 30 Tons of Hay                   *£82           *£120              *£60
  • Total Produce                *£1,984          *£3408         *£1,852
  • Total Expenses            *£1,231          *£1635            *£792

Balance for rent, interest of capital and superintendence [figures rounded off]

  •                                        *£753          *£1,773         *£1,060
  • Period                             *1833             *1813           *1790

When asked about rent Evan David states that he was only "desirous of showing the surplus remaining for rent, interest of capital and superintendence, at those periods." He added that prices had been in steady decline from about 1820/21.

Steve Keates Jan 2001

 

Follow on ;

To complete the picture, I have tried to dig out some figures to illustrate what rent per acre the above farmer in the Vale of Glamorgan may have had to pay but despite referring to the excellent books "Land and People in C19 Wales" by David Howell, and also "The Welsh Cattle Drovers" by Richard Colyer, I have failed to find such figures for this particular area.

Ignoring any other fixed overheads and cost of living, the above farm's trading surpluses can simplistically be translated into a maximum rental capacity per acre per year of  £ 1.15  in 1790, £ 2.72  in 1813 and £1.63  in 1833.

The reason for the better trading performance in 1813 in the above figure is directly related to the effect of higher corn prices created by the Napoleonic War. Apart from 1813, it can be seen that the farm could barely service the rent which in the Vale of Glamorgan could presumably not have been less than the 21s seen for vale land in Brecknockshire, see below.

Whatever, these following examples of rent figures elsewhere in Wales will give some idea of prevailing levels although a direct comparison is not possible;

  • A 1100 acre mountain farm in Talybraich, North Wales in 1806 , where 977 acres of mountain yielded £75 rental income while the remaining 123 acres of "lowland meadow" was let for £88, these figures show the variation between types of land ;
    • Good old meadow land improved by constant horse manuring----20s. per acre
    • Pretty good upland stony meadow-----10s. per acre
    • Summer cow pasture----4s. per acre
    • Coarse pasture for young cattle------2s. per acre
    • Sheep walk-----6d per acre
  • In the 1830s Samuel Lewis was able to value vale land in Brecknockshire  at between 15s and 21s per acre with mountain land realising 3s to 7s.per acre
  • In 1820, it was estimated that lands in the lowlands of Cardiganshire produced 4s to 5s per acre, and the best vale land in North Wales produced 20s per acre.

Gareth Hicks Jan 2001

 

Post script from Steve Keates ;

Evidence of Edward Bradley Land Steward living in Cowbridge and Evan David farmer at Radyr Court Vale of Glamorgan. 1836

The Glamorganshire farmers were unable to compete with the Irish farmer. The Irish wheat was being sold more cheaply in the usual markets used by Glamorganshire farmers. Some Glamorganshire wheat was left unsold at Bristol. The taxes such as the local Poor Rate and assessed taxes were greater than those in Ireland and labour cost far much more because to keep workers from moving into the Metallurgical industries a higher rate was necessary. Consequently the Glamorganshire farmers found it hard to pay their rents.

Irish labour was on average 6d to 10d or possibly 1s per day.

The Glamorganshire labourer was paid between 11s and 12s per week. The average rents of lands on the estates Bradley managed were from 16s to 18s per acre.
Some help was available from the county banks but security was a problem and many tenant farmers found their living harder than their labourers.

Further evidence from Evan David shows rents falling in the Vale of Glamorgan and of farms being let at £240 in the past being let now (1836) for £110, or another at £800 reduced to £500......

"Another estate, which was purchased about 1811 for £42,000, the proprietor has laid out £30,000 in building, farm-yards and agricultural improvements and it is now (1836) offered for sale at £37,000."

 

Steve Keates Jan 2001

[Last Updated : 25 Sept 2002 - Gareth Hicks]