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How wealthy were farmers

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Re: How wealthy were farmers

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:47 am

I have traced farming family on both sides of the Welsh borders (Radnorshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire) back to at least 1500, using Wills, which I discovered largely in Herefordshire County Records, but also (in the case of N Shropshire) in online records for the Bishopric of Lichfield. I found Herefordshire Records were very helpful, incidently.

They are all in English, though the early ones needed a lot of 'translation' because of the writing and the arcane language used - but with the aid of a couple of excellent books, and increasing practice, I have transcribed every one, even the earliest.

These family members, especially the very early ones, were tenant farmers but still left Wills. These divided out the deceased's standing and gathered crops, a lake in one case, sheep and other livestock, farming and husbandry equipment, money, articles of clothing, household furniture, pots and pans, and so on. This was an era when even the most basic household goods were of value, and they wanted to ensure that they were divided properly, and the least able within the family unit were properly cared for. Later, the family owned their farm near Clun, and with more to leave, the need for a Will was even more marked, and the Wills were longer and more complex.

I think that even tenant farmers, if they worked hard, and had reasonable land, and reasonable luck with weather etc, could make a very good living, by the lights of the time.


Brummie on Exmoor
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