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ELRINGTON, WHITTON, ETC.
that the owners of the said three tenements were entitled to take out of the demesnes of the said Fewster Johnson sufficient hedgeboot, stakeboot, and rice for the making and amending of hedges and fences, it was enacted that the said lands should be enclosed and that satisfaction should be made for the said rights of the said Fewster Johnson, and that from and after the 22nd day of November, 1784, all right and title of the said Fewster Johnston, his heirs and assigns to the aforesaid yearly rents or annual payments, heriots, mow dargues and shear dargues or day works, hens and catches or carriages to the town of Hexham, and all right or title of the respective owners for the time being of the aforesaid three tenements to hedgeboot, stakeboot, and rice as aforesaid should respectively cease and be for ever extinguished.
It will be seen that in 1784 the servile incidents of layrewite and merchet have disappeared.85 The week work has been replaced by 'divers rents. But the heriot still remains as an acknowledgment of the Anglo-Saxon doctrine :— Then when he dies the lord takes back what he leaves. The boon days of two mow dargues and two shear dargues also remain, and the three catches or carriages yearly to Hexham probably have their counterpart in farm leases in Elrington township at the present day as they had in the chartulary of Tynemouth in 1387.86
I produce rent-receipts, surrenders, and admittances, dated in the years 1891 and 1892, showing payments in those years to the lord of the manor at Tynemouth for hall corn rent in lieu of week work, boon day rent in lieu of boon day services, for shire rent, and for fines on the admittance of an heir and on the alienation of a quarter of a farm. It will also be observed, from the wording of the admittances, that the new tenant still does fealty for his holding at the lord's court.87
85 The latest account of the custom of 'merchet' is to be found in Mr. Owen Pike's Introduction to the Year Books, 15 Edward III. (Record Office Publications) pp. 15 to 62. As to‘ merchet' in Northumberland see Bracton's Note Book (edition, Maitland), Case No. 895, and Testa de Nevill, 389. In Russia, prior to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, serfs could not marry as they chose without the consent of their masters, and the proprietor would not allow the daughter of one of his serfs to marry a serf belonging to another proprietorbecause he would thereby lose a female labourer-unless some compensation were offered. Wallace's Russia, 4th edition, vol. i. pp. 114-140.
** The Rev. J. Thomlinson, rector of Rothbury, says in one of his MSS.: No doubt all the lands in the town of Whitton did belong to the rector, but the inhabitants having held them time out of mind at one pound per annum each farm and two days' ploughing and leading with their draughts and as many ploughing and reaping (the rector finding them meat when they work for him), they now look upon themselves as freeholders. History and Directory of Northumberland (Hexham Division), published by Bulmer, Manchester, and Beavis, Stewart, & Co., Newcastle, 1886.
With regard to the extent of these customary holdings the following extract as to the township of High Buston made by Mr. J. C. Hodgson from Clarkson's Survey of 1567 is interesting as showing that each farm was looked upon as a living for a family, that no farm could be partitioned unless the farmer had acquired the freehold from his lord, and that even where freehold farms were sub-divided or sub-let the commonable rights of the partitioners were carefully restricted within the limits of those formerly enjoyed by the whole tenement :
This towne was at the fyrst planted with xvi tenno as yett appeareth by the scites of there tenems and are nowe but viij tenn-s the cause of that there ys so little arable land and medowe grounde as also pasture moore grounde wh. will not well suffice for the living of so many tennts and for yt also they sholde the better lyve and be more able to do ther dewtyful servyce to their Ld and Mr. they were of xvj made but viij tennts.
The said Thomas Buston hath one lytle house there wherein dwelleth one tennt, to do him servyce wc ys agaynst the old anceyent ordre of this Lp; for althoughe he aledgeth that he or any other may upon his freholde sett such several buildinge upo auncyent scites as they shall think good, wherunto I must by leave agree, Never the lesse yf we consyder the premiss and for what cause the said towne was brought from xvi tennts to viij fermors as also the small quantity of the corne moare (?) And that every inhabyt wth in any towne must have suffycent for the maintenance of him and his family and wher also suche staite (extinte) of all things ys kept (as ys in the towne of Bustone) the will think it bothe lawe and reason that every tennt of lyke lande and like rent have lyke porcyon in all things upon the said como pasture. And sure (?) I would give order that the said Thos. Bustone should have not more pasture or other extinte or fewell (seeing he ys in all respects equal with every one of the said tenn's) for him and his tenant both, than one of the said tenants have and that under great penalty yf he be found by the Jurye convicte thereof.
If we take the number of farms contained in each township, as mentioned in Appendix A, and divide the total acreage of the township by them, we shall find a varying number of acres assignable to each farm, and if we exclude the townships of Rochester and Troughend in the parish of Elsdon, which contain an unusual and extraordinary quantity of useless waste and mountainous land, we shall find that the five hundred farms which are left have an average of nearly 160 acres of township land assignable to each of them. This is of course inclusive of arable land, meadow, pasture, and waste.
87 As to manor courts see Proc. New. Soc. Antiq. vol. 5, p. 161.
Architcologia Aeliana, Vol. XVI.
To face page 149.
Section of an American Township-
Area of quarter section 160 acres.
Area of a quarter section farm of 160 Acres
BARTON COUNTY, STATE OF KANSAS.
It will be seen from the instances cited in the former part of this paper88 that the arable land assigned to each farm ranged between 20 and 30 acres, that the meadow land ranged between 2 acres and 10 acres, and this would leave from 120 to 140 acres of open pasture and waste assignable on an average to each farm.
According to Sir Henry Maine89 the encroachments of the lord were in proportion to the want of certainty in the rights of the community. In the grass land he intruded more than into the arable land ; into the waste much more than into either. The conclusion suggested to his mind is that in succeeding to the legislative power of the old community the lord was enabled to appropriate to himself such of its rights as were not immediately valuable and which, in the event of their becoming valuable, required legislative adjustment to settle the mode of enjoying them. If that were the process it had probably begun before either the Saxon thane or the Norman baron had entered England.
I will conclude by offering for your inspection a plan of a farm of the present day in a newly-settled country. It is the plan of a farm in the south-west quarter of section 28, of township 20, range 13 west of the 6th principal meridian, in Barton county in the state of Kansas. It contains 160 acres, and the whole of the land is capable of being profitably cultivated. At the time of its survey, in 1888, 40 acres were in maize, 25 in wheat, 15 in other crops, and 80 acres were in wild grass. Similar plans of hundreds of these farms are amongst the papers of those who invest in American mortgages. They are almost all of the same size of 160 acres, or 4th part of a square mile, but some of them are half that size, or only 80 acres in extent. Where the holdings are 80 acres, a larger proportion is cultivated as arable land. Notwithstanding the introduction of modern methods of cultivation, the quantity of land which one household can profitably manage does not appear to have varied greatly in the last thousand years.
Notwithstanding the apparently modern scientific method of the
88 By an early statute of the Scotch Parliament (Scotch Statutes, vol. i. p. 387) it was ordained that the ox-gangs shall contain 13 acres. Two ox-gangs or 26 acres made a husband land (Innes, 242), so that we have a statutory warrant that 26 acres of arable land was the normal extent of a similar holding across the border,
99 Village Communities, 141.