March 1862

Saturday 1st  We finished thrashing the oat stack in the morning.
I walked all round the farm alone by the Parks an Mr Burgess’.
Mr Saml Booke, Mr Forster and Mr Peach of Stoke Dry came for dinner, and we all walked down to Martinsthorpe in the afternoon to see the steeple-chases between the boys of the Uppingham school.  A boy named Poole won in the first race, he also won last year.  They have it in our field there and those of Mr Sharp the other side the brook and in ther race they have to jump the brook four times and a few fences.

Sunday 2nd  Went to Church in the morning and received the Sacrament, but I did not go in the afternoon as I have a bad cough.

Monday 3rd  The ground was covered with snow this morning when we got up, but we had some sun in the middle of the day that soon thawed it.
Mr Nicholson sent the horse back to Inman in the morning as it was not fit to ride; the boy also took my horse to Uppingham to get him shod all round and the fore feet with leather for lameness.
Mr Wortley went to Empingham before the magistrates to give evidence against two men (Thorpe and Barfield by name) who live at Uppingham for trespassing on one of Mr Simkins field’s.  They got one months imprisonment.
Grace calved about eight oclock this evening, a rich roan bull calf.

Tuesday 4th  It was a very severe frost during the night, so that we could not plough on the light land.
I rode round the farm by the Parks in the morning, Tom Manton was ploughing in Colts Close, the land there is very stiff so that the frost does not take hold of it so much as the light land.  They carted the manure out of the waggon hovel yard to First Close on the land that is ridged up for Mangel Wurzel.
Mr Musson of Peterboro came with a young man  to look at the place as Mr Wortley will soon have a vacancy, as Mr Burdett is leaving.  When they arrived I was out a ride, and when I got home Mr Wortley came and told me that Mr Staunton would like to see me.  I went down into the room and found Staunton there , who was a pupil of Mr Burbidge’s  of Thorpe Arnold.  We had a walk round the farm before dinner; they staid for dinner and returned home soon afterwards.  Staunton is learning farming with a farmer in Lincolnshire.
Mr N. and I walked to Allexton after tea to see if the beast had some hay left there.

 Wednesday 5th  It was a frost again.  I rode round the farm by the Parks in the morning.  It was very windy all day.

Thursday 6th  The frost has quite disappeared this morning and the weather is very mild.  Mr Wortley and Mr Nicholson went to a draining and hedge-cutting match at Oakley in Northamptonshire.  Mr W acted as judge.  I rode down to Martinsthorp in the morning.  They thrashed the hovel of oats at the Top-Yard.

Friday 7th  Uppingham Fair.  Mr Wortley and Mr Burdett went to it.  It is the custom at Uppingham that at their March fair every trades-man askes his friends in to lunch; it is also the custom to pay bills today, and everyone who has not paid their Christmas bills, pays them today.  I put my horse in the trap in the morning and Mr Nicholson and I drove to Manton Station to fetch a casting for the mill.  Before dinner Mr Nicholson made up his mind to go and see his brother in Cambridgeshire this afternoon, so after dinner I drove him down to the station with Punch in the trap.

Saturday 8th  They drilled beans in Colts Close.  It was a beautiful day just like spring.
I made up my mind to go to Peatling, so about 11 oclock I started off on my horse.  I stayed about an hour an a half at Mary’s and arrived at Peatling about five oclock.  John was gone to Leicester market.  Criss has been staying at Peatling for the last fortnight, but for the last week he had been staying at Hinckley with Tom.  They drove to Leicester in the Morningand came on to Peatling in the evening.

Sunday 9th  It rained all morning and all afternoon.  We went to Peatling Church in the afternoon.  Tom and Chriss gave me their Cartes de visite.

Monday 10th  Tom went back to Hinckley in the morning.  John, Criss and I walked round the farm.  They are ploughing up a field of Clover ley for Oats, working with two old horses and two young ones.  John has not sufficient farm-yard manure to manure the Clover ley with, so he is going to top dress it with artificial manure.  He has 12 Beasts in the straw yard eating straw and twasles, they are not looking very well.

Tuesday 11th  Criss and I went down to the Plantation with a saw to cut out wood to make a screen with, to hide the Kitchen garden.  I rode round by Gilmarton & Willoughby after dinner.

Wednesday 12th  John Criss and I went down to the wood to help make covers for hares and rabbits with boughs of trees.

Thursday 13th  It rained all day so we could not go out of doors.  I helped John to pot off all the slippings.

Friday 14th  John and some of the men planted trees in the plantations where others had been cut down. Criss and I commenced the screen by putting down some of the posts.  John has a keeper conjointly with Mr Wayte of Great Peatling and Mr Blucke of Willoughby, the lodge has been divided and he lives in one half of the house.

Saturday 15th  In the morning John, Polly, Criss and I drove to Leicester in the large carriage.  John and Criss dined at the Bell and Polly and I dined at Janie’s.  Annie and Edie are staying there.  Janie and Ediorin are going to remove to Lyston, where they have taken a house with a very nice garden round it.

Sunday 16th  We all went to Peatling church in the morning and Chriss & I walked to Bruntingthorpe for the afternoon service there,  Mr Longhurst officiated, and gave us a very good sermon.  He is brother to the Mr Longhurst who used to own Peatling Hall before John.

 Monday 17th   I intended returning to Ridlington to day and Criss was going with me on Johns mare; but it rained almost all day so we could not go.  I went to the Lodge.

Tuesday 18th  It was a fine day, so Criss  and I started of on our horses about twelve oclock for Ridlington, we stayed about an hour and a half  at Twr (?) Langton, Mary was gone to Leicester to help Janie remove to Lyston.  We got to Ridlington about half past five, Mrs Drury, Mr W’s sister from the Isle of Man is staying here now.  Criss stayed all night and slept with me.

Wednesday 19th  We took criss to look at the Wind Engine and showed him all its performances, he was very much pleased with it.  We went into the farm yard and showed him the herd and we walked a little on the farm.  Mr Wortley and Mr Burdett drove to Uppingham market.  Chriss had some lunch and then returned on the mare to Peatling.  I rode on my horse with him as far as Allexham and then I went on to our land there, there are two cows and calves in one of the meadows that Mr W has bought since I have been away.

Thursday 20th  I walked all round the farm with Mr W.  They are carting the Swede Turnips out of Pease Hill into the Stack-yard for the ewes and lambs.  Tom Manton harrowed Baker’s Hill, first by harrowing up the furrows and then cross-ways, so as to level the field as much as possible.   It is going to be sown with peas tomorrow, if the weather permit.  I asked Mr Wortley if he always manures his clover leys, which question he answered in the affirmative, but he said (that if he had no farm yard manure or had not enough to manure his seeds , he would sow from 2 1/2 to 3 Cwt of Guano after the oates were sown and harrow it in. Yesterday they split back the ridges on the land that had been ridged up in the autumn in First Close to be exposed to the action  of the frost, wind and sun, it was manured  between the ridges with good rotten farm yard manure on February 11th when the ground was frozen,  Thus when the ridges were split back the manure was covered and a fresh surface was exposed to the air.  Thirteen of the Irish beasts that were bought in the autumn are now in the New Yard having, Pea Straw and three pounds of cake per head per day, they are looking very well.

Friday 21st  Very cold.  It snowed all last night and this morning the ground is covered with snow about six inches deep, and it did not thaw much during the day.  We are now in the middle of the lambing season, one of the most interesting as well as an anxious season for the farmer, we have had very good luck, indeed we have only lost one lamb and that was taken by a fox in the night.  Mr Wortley gives his shepherd his dinner every day for a month in the lambing time for his extra trouble, in sitting up in the nights to attend to the ewes.  I rode to our land at Alexton in the afternoon, it was very bad riding as the snow balled so.  There are seventy Irish Beasts in the large field, they are having a little clover now, and are looking as well as can be expected.  Mr Nicholson came home about tea time looking very well and in capital spirits.   In the evening I read a paper in the journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England on,  Pedigree in Wheat as a means of increasing the crop by Mr Hallett of Brighton. This gentleman in 1857 selected a few grains of wheat from the finest ears of a red (?) nursery wheat which he dibbled one foot apart each way so that the roots should not interfere with each other & so that the stems should have as much air and sun as possible to bring it to the highest state of perfection,  the next year he selected the finest ears of the produce of the year before sowing the grains out of each ear in separate rows and the same distance between each grain as the proceeding year, this he has carried out up to the present time, and finds that the length of the ear and the number of grains contained in each ear increase year by year as well as the improvement in the quality of the grain, and that a field sown in this way would yield more per acre than a field of the same sort of wheat drilled in the ordinary way.  And he finishes up by saying that he thought by this management Britain might be made to yield enough wheat for the consumption of its population.

Saturday 22nd  The snow thawed and the air was very mild.  I sowed three cucumber seeds  in flower pots and plunged them in the frame.  I rode to Uppingham in the afternoon to get my horse shod.

Sunday 23rd  Went to Ridlington church twice.  It snowed and rained all day.

Monday 24th Stamford-lent fair,  Mr Burdett went with his two horses, and this time he sold them, but lost about £11 in the two.  Mr Nicholson and I walked round the farm and to Colts Close, Harry Mayes and William Baines are draining there.  Colts Close meadow was very much flooded as there has been a great fall of rain the last few days.  My Nicholson’s brother in Cambridgeshire is draining some land on his farm 4 ½ feet deep and he is paying them 13 d per chain of 22 yards and the men are making on the average   2s 8d per day.  The price seems to the people here remarkably small, but the land which is of a sandy nature renders it so easy to dig and below this is about half a foot of buttery clay, and there being no stones in the land makes the work very easy.    We have fenced about an acre off with hurdles on the Italian Rye-Grass for early mowing & the Ewes and couples are running on the rest.
We sowed some Guano mixed with soot with the dry manure distributed in Feeding Close below Pines Close to make the grass grow and to improve the quality of the land.  The best time for applying Artificial Manure to grassland is on a damp morning either before or after rain or even while it is raining gently.
Reeves dry manure Distributor is a capital machine, it distributes the manure so evenly, you cannot find a square inch without any on.  It is even used for sowing Clover and Italian Rye-Grass seeds and as good a plant has been obtained by this machine as with broad-cast sowing.  The price of this machine when new is £10.  Mr Nicholson had a horse sent him out of Lincolnshire by train, so he walked down to Manton Station in the afternoon to fetch it home and I walked my horse down with him, on the way down we had a talk about farming especially about what quantity of wheat was sufficient for seed per acre.  Mr N. said that his brother in Lincolnshire sowed 9 pecks on light black land and that a neighbour of his only sowed 7 pecks  on the same sort of land, and that his neighbour’s looked better than his now.   I forgot to say that Mr Nicholson’s brother’s foreman put all the tiles in for the men.

Tuesday 25th  It was a very foggy day.  The hounds met at Coles Lodge.  Mr Nicholson and Mr Burdett went hunting with them.  I rode to Allexton in the morning.

Wednesday 26th  I heard from Fanny this morning, she sent me her Carte de visite, but it was a very bad likeness of her.  The shepherd cut the single lambs in Hall Close.  Mr Burdett left here for good, he has been here for about a year and a half.  They rolled the seeds in Middle Close.  It is wonderful what good rolling or trampling grass land does, as a proof look by the foot paths in fields, the land there is always the best.  In the afternoon Mr Nicholson and I rode to Allexton and home by Belton, my horse cast one of his fore shoes.

Thursday 27th  The mist cleared off about eleven oclock and it turned out a beautiful day.  I worked in the garden nearly all day.  Nathaniel and Miss Franks came for tea.  Mr N. rode my horse to Uppingham to get him shod and from there he went on to Mr Peache’s of Stoke Dry.  Two ploughs were going in Peace Hill in the afternoon, it is to be sown with wheat this year, so we are going to get it ploughed up and sown as soon as possible as the wheat ought to be in by now.

Friday 28th  Lord Camden and the Hon Henry Noel came to look at the Wind Engine and look round the farm, so Mr Wortley could not go to Stamford market; but Mr Nicholson went in his stead.  Mr W. received a letter  this morning from Mr Pochin of Edmundthorpe Hall, offering Mr Burdett the refusal of a farm he has just bought at Leigh of Lady Harborough.  Mr B. returned here from Stamford with Mr Nicholson to go over to see this farm with Mr W. tomorrow.  In the evening Mr B. and Mr N. walked  to Martinsthorpe  Mr W. and I walked round the home farm.  They have taken the lambs off Pease-hill as they have finished the turnips and have put them into the Second Glebe to eat swedes that have been carted on there.   We went to look at the the ewes and couples that are in Middle Close, they are having 1 pound of Cake per head per day now,  ½ pound of Linseed Cake and ½ pound of Rape Cake xxx small and mixed with a little chaff.  They have the cake every morning, so we turned the rouves over to keep them dry.  They have brought up seven of the Irish Beasts and the two Cows and Calves from Allexton into the First Glebe.

Saturday 29th   Mr Wortley and Mr B. drove to Edmundthorpe  and went with Mr Pochin round the farm at Leigh, the grassland is very poor and the rent is very high, so Mr B. declined it.  I rode to Wing in the morning and round by the Glaston and Preston.  Mr Nicholson went hunting to Blaston Pastures, and in the afternoon he and I rode to our land at Allexton, three of our men are knocking clots there, but they will have finished this evening.  Mr N. and I walked to Martinsthorpe in the evening.  I gave my horse a bran mash with a server full of corn in’it and a hand-full of Saltpetre and a hanfull of Sulphur.

Sunday 30th  Went to Ridlington church twice, Mr Hay gave us a very excellent sermon in the afternoon.  Mr N. and I walked to Launde Wood in the evening.

May Farmers have been hindered in getting in their spring corn, by the incessant rains we have had for the last fortnight, but I hope April will bring with it fine weather and sunshine.

Monday 31st  Mr Burdett went to Stamford by the first train and from thence he went on to Toft to stay with Mr Barnes.  Mr Wortley went to Stamford fair.  Mr Nicholson and I walked round the farm, they finished ploughing Pease Hill.  Mr W. bought six beasts at Stamford fair.  The horse-men here go out with their horses at 6 oclock A.M.  they are allowed a quarter of an hour at ten oclock for their lunch and leave off at ½ past 2 or 3 oclock.  Mr Nicholson said that their men in Lincolnshire went out with their horses at 6 oclock A.M. and came home at 3 oclock p.m., but that in summer they went at 6 oclock came home at 12 oclock and baited until 2 oclock and from that time they went on till 6 oclock P.M.