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There is another method by which the sediment of the Trent water is made highly beneficial to the adjoining land, and which makes this boun. teous river an inexhaustible mine of wealth to the country through which it flows, this is termed “cart warping,” the alluvial soil being led on the land during a hard frost or in very dry weather*. Thus if a piece of bad moorish land were covered with four hundred loads of warp per acre, it would crop better than any other land whatever ; and this agrees with the most approved methods of cultivating such soils, the argillaceous parts of the warp being like marl it is adınirably adapted to consolidate the peat. It is evident, however, that this process must be confined to limited distances from the place where the warp can be procured, otherwise the expence of loading would be more than the freehold of the land is worth. One hundred loads per acre would, however, be an excellent manuring; and this may be repeated as often as occasion requires. One shilling per load is the price generally paid for leading a cart load of warp about a mile from the Trent, when this work is done by hire; and sometimes an acknowledgement of three-pence per load is demanded for taking the soil, by the person to whom the fore-shore belongs. This cart warping has another advantage, it can be applied to small quantities of land, to one acre, or five, or even ten ; while such portions of land cannot be flooded advantageously, because making the banks would take up so much room, and it is impossible on a few acres to regulate the flow of water.
When warp newly taken from the river, either by means of cart or by flooding, has been spread upon the land, it produces white clover spontaneously. I should conjecture that the seed has been washed down in the sediment brought by freshes into the Humber, where, being an exceedingly hard seed, and one which lies in the ground a considerable time before vegetating, has remained buried in that vast emporium of warp; but when again brought
* During the summer of 1836, on crossing Lindholme Waste to see that interesting spot, we were shewn a small portion of the waste, some few yards square only, which the proprietor had covered with warp dug out of the old channel of the river Torn, which formerly ran close by. There was growing on it a most beautiful crop of sanfoin and white clover.
to the surface, and exposed to the influence of the sun and air, vegetates and grows.
The usual method of cultivating land newly warped is as follows. Sow oats and clover ; second year, mow the clover; third year, wheat; fourth year, beans; fifth year, line ; then fallow for wheat. Or thus,—sow beans ; second
year, wheat, or take a crop of line, and after the line comes off in July, fallow for wheat; fourth year, a summer fallow; and then wheat and seeds. Potatoes ought never to be sown on new warp, or very seldom; and then only as a change of crop, and with extra tillage. On this land four quarters of wheat per acre would be a fair average crop, and five quarters a good crop; from four to five quarter of beans per acre. Ten quarters of oats a good crop, and eight quarters an average. Three tons of clover per acre is usually obtained.
The new warp lands bear a wet summer very badly. It requires a hot sun and dry weather to bring forth from this soil the full powers of vegetation; and in the year 1826, when it was never wet with rain, from February until the fourth day of September, the crops of seeds were luxuriant, the wheat stood up full five feet high, with long golden ears, and in some instances as much as six quarters * and six quarters and a half were obtained from an acre of ground, on which, in the wet season of 1828, the crop was arcely worth reaping.
After Cornelius Vermuyden had diverted the course of the river Idle, and stopped the southern branch of the Don, and left the country through which these navigible rivers formerly passed imperfectly drained, being "fenny, moorish, and full of carrs," the Isle became much more inaccessible from Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire than it was in former times, when boats went from Haxey to Finningley, and from Westwoodside to Bearswood Green, for nothing we know is so difficult to pass as soft ground; and it was not until after the Inclosure that any road whatever was formed over Haxey Carrs. The ancient communication between Doncaster and Trent was also cut off by the operations of Vermuyden.
* This was on a small farm, the property of W. Hutton, Esq. of Gate-Burton, on Butterwick South Moor,
In 1792, an act was procured to make a canal from Stainforth, where the Don had been stopped, to the river Trent at Keadby, by which the communication with Thorne and Doncaster might be restored, and an improved conveyance established for coal, lime, stone, &c. out of the West Riding of Yorkshire to the Isle of Axholme, and by means of the Trent and Fosdyke to a great part of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire; while at the same time the produce of the Isle, fruit, corn, potatoes, carrots, and onions might be forwarded to the great markets of the west. By this act the original Proprietors were made a corporate body, by the name of “ The Company of Proprietors of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal Navigation ; by that name are to have perpetual succession, to have a common seal, and may sue and be sued; and have power and authority to purchase lands, &c. for the use of the said navigation and works, without incurring any of the penalties of mortmain.” There was no natural impediment to prevent this canal passing close to Crowle, but owing to some objections on the part of the land-owners, it was cut about a mile distant.
THERE being no great thorough-fare through the Isle of Axholme, the roads like those of other places similarly situated were in a very bad state, so as to render many of them alınost impassable during the winter season, even on horseback. To remedy, this very great inconvenience several attempts were made, from time to time, to lay a causeway with Yorkshire flags wide enough for a horse to walk upon. This of course was first done in the worst places, in the village streets, and in the narrow inclosed lanes. During the years 1810-11--12, when agricultural produce bore a high price, the causeways were completed all the distance from one village to another; and the corn, &c. was delivered on horseback, a very tedious and expensive process. Owing to the roads being in such a bad state, and the consequent difficulty and danger of a horse, carrying a load, turning off the causeway into the mire, it was the custom of the country for a fuot passenger, when meeting a horse, to step on one side and suffer the horse to pass. The ig
norance of this local custom has caused many a laughable encounter between an old sturdy Islonian on horseback and a young stranger on foot, especially if he was, as Prymne describes Charles Boswell, “a mad spark, mighty fine and brisk.” The expence of these flagged ways could not be much less than the expence of making good roads, sixteen or eighteen feet wide, on the present improved principles. The improvements introduced by M° Adam have at length, however, found their way into this country; and the proper use of the large bolders from Spurn Point being shewn, by breaking them into small pieces, some very good and durable roads have been made. The causeways still remain, affording excellent foot-paths through the whole extent of the Isle, and a great convenience to foot passengers, quite peculiar to the country, so that a person may walk on the flags from Owston to Haxey, from thence to Epworth, through Belton, to Crowle and Luddington. The practice of riding on the causeways appears to a stranger very dangerous, but in reality it is not, except during frost : horses accustomed to such roads trot and canter along them with great facility and safety, and soon learn to avoid any holes or broken flags.
These improvements, inclosing the commons and warping extensive portions of them, and mending the roads, have caused here, as in other places, a great alteration for the better, and a great increase in the comforts of the inhabitants. Since the roads have been made passable, one horse with a cart will draw as large a load between Owston and Epworth as formerly required four horses and a waggon ; so that, since this improvement took place, it is evident the expence of delivering heavy produce has been reduced to onefourth, nay to much less --for one horse, with the cart and gears, would be no worse for going steadily along a good road, but it is difficult to calculate the daily wear and tear of four horses, straining through the thick mud, breaking the gears, and almost pulling the waggon to pieces. The impassable state of the roads must indeed have amounted almost to a prohibition, had it con. tinued, to the owners of Haxey and Epworth Fields, from growing potatoes or carrots beyond what was requisite for their own consumption,-in fact, such produce never could have been delivered. Before the inclosure farmers of the first and second class, many of them
freeholders, had flesh meat only once or twice a week. They lived chiefly on bread, butter milk, eggs, and flour puddings; sometimes, but not constantly, they had malt liquor. About forty or fifty years ago this was generally the routine:-Sunday, bacon, sometimes butchers' meat; Monday, ash heap cake, with butter in a hole in the middle, and milk to drink with it; Tuesday, pudding made of milk, wheat flour, and eggs; Wednesday. bacon ; Thursday, ash heap cake, and butter milk to drink; Friday, hot bread and butter; Saturday, pan pudding, i, e. a pudding made of flour, with small bits of bacon in it; of which, said my informant, "a man thought himself very lucky if he got two bits.”
In many instances, women wore the same gowns and cloaks which had served their mothers; and nobody could remember a farmer having a complete new suit of clothes. A servant girl of the best class had forty shillings per year wage, when the most homely and necessary articles of wearing apparel were much dearer than they are at present: she got up at three o'clock in a morning to spin, and was clad chiefly in linsey woolsey garments. Could she see a servant of the present day, decked out on a Sunday afternoon in a straw bonnet trimmed with silk ribbons, a gauze handkerchief round her neck, a printed muslin gown, a silk shawl, and a pair of white cotton stockings, with the Adelaide boots, verily I believe she would drop down dead with astonishment.