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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.

** 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.

*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.

*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.

*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.

*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.

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.

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 62 % 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.

*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.

*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.

 

Maids wages etc

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


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.


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

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

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;

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


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[Last Updated : 25 Sept 2002 - Gareth Hicks]

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