The English Husbandman
by Gervase Markham
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{SN: Of the share.} Now for the share, it differeth in shape from both the former shares, for it is neither so large nor out-winged, as that for the gray Clay, for this share is onely made broad to the Plough ward, and small to the point of the share, with onely a little peake and no wing according to this figure.

{Illustration: The share.}

{SN: Of the plough-slip.} These Plough-irons, both coulture and share, must be well steeled and hardned at the points, because these sandy soiles being full of moisture and greete, will in short space weare and consume the Irons, to the great hinderance and cost of the Husbandman, if it be not preuented by steele and hardning, which notwithstanding will waste also in these soiles, so that you must at least twise in euery Ardor haue your Irons to the Smith, and cause him to repaire them both with Iron and steele, besides these Irons, of coulture and share, you must also haue a long piece of Iron, which must be iust of the length of the Plough head, and as broad as the Plough head is thicke, and in thicknesse a quarter of an inch: and this piece of Iron must be nailed vpon the outside of the Plough head, next vnto the land, onely to saue the Plough head from wearing, for when the Plough is worne it can then no longer hould the land, and this piece of Iron is called of Husbandmen the Plough-slip and presenteth this figure.

{Illustration: The Plough-slip.}

{SN: Of Plough clouts.} Ouer and besides this Plough-slip, their are certaine other pieces of Iron which are made in the fashion of broad thinne plates, and they be called Plough clouts, and are to be nailed vpon the shelboard, to defend it from the earth or furrow which it turneth ouer, which in very short space would weare the woode and put the Husbandman to double charge.

{SN: The houlding of the Plough.} Thus hauing shewed you the parts, members, and implements, belonging to this Plough, it rests that I proceede vnto the teame or draught: for to speake of the vse and handling of this Plough, it is needelesse, because it is all one with those Ploughes, of which I haue spoken in the former Chapters, and he which can hould and handle a Plough in stiffe clayes must needes (except he be exceeding simple) hould a Plough in these light sands, in as much as the worke is much more easie and the Plough a great deale lesse chargeable.

{SN: Of the draught.} Now for the Draught or Teame, they ought to be as in the former Soiles, Oxen or Horses, yet the number not so great: for foure Beasts are sufficient to plow any Ardor vpon this soile, nay, three Horses if they be of reasenable strength will doe as much as sixe vpon either of the Clay-soiles: asfor their attire or Harnessing, the Beare-geares, before described, are the best and most proper. And thus much concerning this red Sand, wherein you are to take this briefe obseruation with you, that the Graines which are best to be sowne vpon it, are onely Rye, Barley, small Pease, Lentles and Lupines, otherwise called Fitches, and the graines to which it is aduerse, are Wheat, Beanes and Maslin.


The manner of plowing the white Sand, his Earings, Plough, and Implements.

Next vnto this red Sand, is the white sand, which is much more barraine then the red Sand, yet by the industry of the Husbandman in plowing, and by the cost of Manure it is made to beare corne in reasonable plentie. Now of white Sands there be two kindes, the one a white Sand mixt with a kinde of Marle, as that in Norffolke, Suffolke, and other such like places butting vpon the Sea-coast: the other a white Sand with Pible, as in some parts of Surrey, about Ancaster in Lincolne shire, and about Salisbury in Wil-shire.

{SN: Of the white Sand with Pible.} Now for this white Sand with Pible, it is the barrainest, and least fruitfull in bringing forth, because it hath nothing but a hot dustie substance in it. For the manner of Earing thereof, it agreeth in all points with the redde Sand, the Ardors being all one, the Tempers, Manurings and all other appurtenances: the Seede also which it delights in is all one with the red Sand, as namely, Rye, Barley, Pease and Fitches. Wherefore who so shall dwell vpon such a soile, I must referre him to the former Chapter of the red Sand, and therein he shall finde sufficient instruction how to behaue himselfe vpon this earth: remembring that in as much as it is more barraine then the red Sand, by so much it craueth more care and cost, both in plowing and manuring thereof, which two labours onely make perfect the ill ground.

{SN: Of the white Sand with Marle.} Now for the white Sand which hath as it were a certaine mixture, or nature of Marle in it, you shall vnderstand that albeit vnto the eye it be more dry and dustie then the red Sand, yet it is fully as rich as the red Sand: for albe it doe not beare Barley in as great plenty as the red Sand, yet it beareth Wheate abundantly, which the red Sand seldome or very hardly bringeth forth.

{SN: Of Fallowing.} Wherefore to proceede to the Earings or tillage of this white Marly sand, you shall vnderstand that about the middest of Ianuary is fit time to beginne to fallow your field which shall be tilth and rest for this yeere: wherein by the way, before I proceede further, you shall take this obseruation with you, that whereas in the former soiles I diuided the fields into three & foure parts, this soile cannot conueniently, if it be well husbanded, be diuided into any more parts then two, that is to say, a fallow field, and a Wheat-field: in which Wheate-field if you haue any land richer then other, you may bestow Barley vpon it, vpon the second you may bestow Wheat, vpon the third sort of ground Rye, and vpon the barrainest, Pease or Fitches: and yet all these must be sowne within one field, because in this white sand, Wheate and Rye will not grow after Barley or Pease, nor Barley and Pease after Wheate or Rye. Your fields being then diuided into two parts, that is, one for corne, the other for rest, you shall as before I said, about the middest of Ianuary beginne to fallow your Tith-field, which in all obseruations you shall doe according as is mentioned for the red sand.

{SN: Of sowing Pease.} About the middest of March, if you haue any barraine or wasted ground within your fallow field, or if you haue any occasion to breake vp any new ground, which hath not beene formerly broake vp, in eyther of these cases you shall sow Pease or Fitches thereupon, and those Pease or Fitches you shall sow vnder furrow as hath beene before described.

{SN: Of Spring-fallowing.} About the middest of Aprill you shall plow your fallow-field ouer againe, in such manner as you plowed when you fallowed it first: and this is called Spring-fallowing, and is of great benefit because at that time the weedes and quickes beginning to spring, nay, to flowrish, by reason that the heate of the climbe puts them forth sooner then in other soyles, if they should not be plowed vp before they take too strong roote, they would not onely ouer-runne, but also eate out the hart of the Land.

{SN: Of sowing Barley.} About the middest of May you shall beginne to sow your Barley vpon the richest part of your old fallow-field, which at the Michaelmas before, when you did sow your Wheate, and Rye, and Maslin, you did reserue for that purpose: and this Barley you shall sow in such sort as is mentioned in the former Chapter of the red Sand, in so much that this Ardor being finished, which is the last part of your Seede-time, your whole field shall be furnished eyther with Wheate, if it hold a temperate fatnesse, or with Wheate and Barley, if it be rich and richer, or with Wheate, Barley and Pulse, if it be rich, poore or extreame barraine: and the manner of sowing all these seuerall seedes is described in the Chapters going before.

{SN: Of Summer-stirring.} About the middest of Iune you shall beginne to Summer-stirre your fallow-field, in such sort as was spoken of in the former Chapters concerning the other soiles: for in this Ardor there is no alteration of methode, but onely in gouernment of the Plough, considering the heauinesse and lightnesse of the earth. During this Ardor you shall busily apply your labour in leading forth your Manure, for it may at great ease be done both at one season, neyther the Plough hindering the Cart, nor the Cart staying the Plough: for this soile being more light and easie in worke then any other soile whatsoeuer, doth euer preserue so many Cattell for other imployment that both workes may goe forward together, as shall be shewed when wee come to speake of the Plough, and the Teame which drawes it.

{SN: Of Manuring.} Now as touching the Manures most fit for this soyle, they be all those of which we haue formerly written, ashes onely excepted, which being of an hot nature doe scald the Seede, and detaine it from all fruitfulnesse, being mixt with this hot soile, so is likewise Lyme, and the burning of stubble: other Manures are both good and occasion much fertilitie, as being of a binding and coole nature, and holding together that loosenesse which in his too much separation taketh all nutriment from the earth.

{SN: Of Weeding.} After you haue ledde forth your Manure, and Summer-stird your Land, you shall then about the beginning of Iulie looke into your Corne-field, and if you perceiue any Thistles, or any other superfluous weedes to annoy your Corne, you shall then (as is before said) either cut, or plucke them vp by the rootes.

{SN: Of Foyling.} About the middest of August you shall beginne to foile or cast downe your fallow-field againe, and in that Ardor you shall be very carefull to plow cleane and leaue no weedes vncut vp: for in these hot soiles if any weedes be left with the least roote, so that they may knit and bring forth seede, the annoyance thereof will remaine for at least foure yeeres after, which is a double fallowing. And to the end that you may cut vp all such weedes cleane, although both your Share and Coulture misse them, you shall haue the rest of your Plough in the vnder part which strokes alongst the earth filled all full of dragges of Iron, that is, of olde crooked nailes or great tenter-hookes, such as vpon the putting downe of your right hand when you come neere a weed shall catch hold thereof and teare it vp by the rootes, as at this day is vsed be many particular Husbands in this kingdome, whose cares, skils, and industries are not inferiour to the best whatsoeuer.

{SN: Of Sowing Wheate and Rye.} {SN: The choise of Seede.} About the middest of September, you shall beginne to sow your Wheate and Rye vpon your fallow field, which Graine vpon this soile is to be reckoned the most principall: and you shall sow it in the same manner that is described in the former Chapters, wherein your especiallest care is the choise of your seede: for in this soile your whole-straw Wheate, nor your great Pollard taketh any delight, neither your Organe, for all those three must haue a firme and a strong mould: but your Chilter-wheate, your Flaxen-wheate, your White-pollard, and your Red-wheate, which are the Wheates which yeeld the purest and finest meale, (although they grow not in so great abundance) are the seedes which are most proper and naturall for this soile. As for Rye or Maslin, according to the goodnesse of the ground so you shall bestow your seede: for it is a generall rule, that wheresoeuer your Wheate growes, there will euer Rye grow, but Rye will many times grow where Wheate will not prosper; and therefore for the sowing of your Rye, it must be according to the temper of the earth, and the necessitie of your houshold: for Wheate being a richer graine then Rye, if you be assured that your ground will beare Wheate well, it is small Husbandrie to sow more Rye or Maslin then for your house: but if it be too hot for Wheate, and kindly for Rye, then it is better to haue good Rye, then ill Wheate. Now for the sowing of your Rye or Maslin in this soile, it differeth nothing from the former soiles, either in plowing or any other obseruation, that is to say, it must be plowed aboue furrow: for Rye being the most tender graine, it can neither abide the waight of earth, nor yet moisture; the one, as it were, burying, and the other drowning the vigour and strength of the seede.

{SN: Of Winter-ridging.} About the beginning of Nouember you shall Winter-ridge your fallow field, I meane that part which you doe preserue for Barley (for the other part is furnished with seede) and this Winter-ridging differeth nothing from the Winter ridging of other soiles, onely you shall a little more precisely obserue to set vp your lands more straight and high then in other soiles, both to defend them from wet, which this soile is much subiect vnto, because commonly some great riuer is neare it, and also for the preseruing of the strength and goodnesse of the Manure within the land which by lying open and vnclosed would soone be washt forth and consumed.

{SN: Of the clensing of lands, or drawing of water-furrowes.} Now sith I haue here occasion to speake something of the draining of lands, and the keeping of them from the annoyance of superfluous wet, whether it be by invndation or otherwise, you shall vnderstand that it is the especiall office and dutie of euery good Husbandman, not onely in this soile, but in all other whatsoeuer, to haue a principall respect to the keeping of his land dry, and to that end hee shall diligently (as soone as he hath Winter-rigged his land) take a carefull view how his lands lie, which way the descent goes from whence annoyance or water may possibly come, and so consequently from those obseruations, with a Spade or strong Plough, of extraordinary greatnesse, draw certaine deepe furrowes from descent vnto descent, by which meanes all the water may be conuayed from his lands, eyther into some common Sewer, Lake, Brooke, or other maine Riuer: and to this end it is both a rule in the common Lawes of our Land, and a laudable custome in the Common-wealth of euery Towne, that for as much as many Townes haue their lands lie in common, that is to say, mixed neighbour with neighbour, few or none hauing aboue two or three lands at the most lying together in one place, therefore euery man shall ioyne, and make their water-furrowes one from another, vntill such time as the water be conuayed into some common issue, as well hee whose lands be without all danger, as he that is troubled with the greatest annoyance, and herein euery one shall beare his particular charge: which is an Act of great vertue and goodnesse.

{SN: Of the Plough.} Now for the Plough which is to plow this white sand it doth differ nothing in size, proportion, and vse of handling from the Plough described for the red Sand, onely it hath one addition more, that is to say, at the further end of the maine Beame of the Plough, where you fixe your Plough-foote, there you shall place a little paire of round wheeles, which bearing the Beame vpon a loose mouing Axletree, being iust the length of two furrows and no more, doth so certainly guide the Plough in his true furrow that it can neither lose the land by swaruing (as in these light soiles euery Plough is apt to doe) nor take too much land, eyther by the greedinesse of the plough or sharpnesse of the Irons, neither can it drownd through the easie lightnesse of the earth, nor runne too shallow through the fussinesse of the mould, but the wheeles being made of a true proportion, which should not be aboue twelue inches from the centre, the Plough with a reasonable hand of gouernment shall runne in a direct and euen furrow: the proportion of which Plough is contained in this Figure.

{Illustration: The Plough with Wheeles.}

This plough of all others I hold to be most ancient, and as being the modell of the first inuention, and at this day is preserued both in France, Germany, & Italy, and no other proportion of Ploughes knowne, both as we perceiue by our experience in seeing them plow, & also by reading of their writings: for neither in Virgil, Columella, Xenophon, nor any olde Writer: nor in Heresbachius, Steuens, nor Libault, being later Writers, finde wee any other Plough bequeathed vnto our memories. Yet it is most certaine, that in many of our English soiles, this Plough is of little profit, as we finde by daily experience both in our clayes, and many of our mixt earths: for in truth this Plough is but onely for light, sandy, or grauelly soiles, as for the most part these forraine Countries are, especially about the sea-coast, or the borders of great Cities, from whence these Writers most generally tooke the presidents for their writings.

{SN: Of the plough-Irons.} Now for the parts of this Plough, it consisteth of the same members which the former Ploughs doe, onely that in stead of the Plough-foote it hath a paire of wheeles. It hath also but one Hale, in such sort as the Plough for the gray or white clay. The beame also of this Plough is much more straight then the former, by which meanes the Skeath is not full so long. The Irons belonging vnto this Plough are of the fashion of the former Irons, onely they be somewhat lesse, that is to say, the Coulture is not so long, neyther so full bent as that for the red Sand, nor so straight as that for the blacke clay, but as it were holding a meane betweene both: so likewise the Share is not fully so broad as that for the red sand, nor so narrow as that for the gray clay, but holds as it were a middle size betweene both, somewhat leaning in proportion to the shape of that for the blacke clay. As for the Plough-slip, Plough-clouts, and other implements which are to defend the wood from the hardnesse of the earth, they are the same, and in the same wise to be vsed as those for the red Sand.

{SN: Of the draught.} Now for the Draught or Teame which drawes this Plough, they are as in all other Draughts, Oxen or Horses, but for the number thereof they differ much from those which are formerly written of: for you shall vnderstand that in this white sandy soile, which is of all soiles the lightest, eyther two good Horses, or two good Oxen are a number sufficient to plow any Ardor vpon this soile whatsoeuer, as by daily experience we may see in those countries whose soile consists of this white light Sand, of which wee haue now written: neyther shall the Plow-man vpon this soile neede any person to driue or order his Plough more then himselfe: for the soile being so light and easie to cut, the Plough so nimble, and the Cattell so few and so neare him, hauing euer his right hand at libertie (because his plough hath but onely a left hand Hale) he hath liberty euer to carry a goade or whip in his right hand, to quicken and set forward his Cattell, and also a line which being fastned to the heads of the Beasts, hee may with it euer when hee comes to the lands end, stop them and turne them vpon which hand he pleases. And thus much for the tillage and ordering of this white Sand.


The manner of plowing the Grauell with Pible stones, or the Grauell with Flint, their Earings, Plough, and implements.

Hauing in the plainest manner I can written sufficiently already of the foure simple and vncompounded soiles, to wit, two Clayes, blacke and gray, and two Sands, red and white, it now rests that I also giue you some perfect touch or taste of the mixt or compounded soiles, as namely, the grauell which is a kinde of hard sand, clay and stone mixt together: and of Grauels there be two kindes, that is to say, one that is mixt with little small Pible stones, as in many parts of Middlesex, Kent, and Surry: and the Grauell mixt with broad Flints, as in many parts of Hartford-shire, Essex, and sundry such places. These Grauels are both, in generall, subiect to much barrainnesse, especially if they be accompanied with any extraordinary moisture, yet with the good labour of plowing, and with the cost of much Manure, they are brought to reasonable fruitfulnesse, where it comes to passe that the Plow-man which is master of such a soile, if either he liue not neare some Citie or Market-towne, where great store of Manure, by the concourse of people, is daily bred, and so consequently is very cheape, or else haue not in his owne store and breede, meanes to raise good store of Manure, hee shall seldome thriue and prosper thereupon. Now although in these grauell soiles there is a diuersity of mixture, as the one mingled with small Pibles, which indeede is the worst mixture, the other with broad Flints, which is the better signe of fruitfulnesse: yet in their order of tillage or Earings, in their weeding and cleansing, and in all other ardors and obseruations, they differ nothing at all, the beginning and ending of each seuerall worke being all one.

Now for the manner of worke belonging vnto these two soiles, it altereth in no respect nor obseruation eyther in Plough, plowing, manuring, weeding, or any other thing whatsoeuer, from that of the white sand, the same times of the yeere, the same Seedes, and the same Earings being euer to be obserued, wherefore it shall be needlesse to write so amply of these soiles as of the former, because being all one with the white Sand, without alteration, it were but to write one thing twice, and therefore I referre the Reader to the former Chapter, and also the Husbandman that shall liue vpon either of these soiles, onely with these few caueats: First, that for the laying his lands, hee shall lay them in little small stitches, that is, not hauing aboue foure furrowes laid together, as it were for one land, in such sort as you see in Hartford-shire, Essex, Middlesex, Kent and Surry: for this soile being for the most part subiect to much moisture and hardnesse, if it should be laid in great lands, according to the manner of the North parts, it would ouer-burden, choake and confound the seed which is throwne into it. Secondly, you shall not goe about to gather off the stones which seeme as it were to couer the lands, both because the labour is infinite and impossible, as also because those stones are of good vse, and as it were a certaine Manuring and helpe vnto the ground: for the nature of this Grauell being colde and moist, these stones doe in the winter time, defend and keepe the sharpnesse of the Frosts and bleake windes from killing the heart or roote of the seedes, and also in the Summer it defends the scorching heate of the Sunne from parching and drying vp the Seede, which in this grauelly soile doth not lie so well couered, as in other soyles, especially if this kinde of earth be inuironed with any great hils (as most commonly it is) the reflection whereof makes the heate much more violent. And lastly, to obserue that there is no manure better or more kindly for this kinde of earth then Chaulke, white Marle, or Lyme: for all other matters whatsoeuer the former Chapter of the white Sand, will giue you sufficient instructions.


The manner of plowing the blacke Clay mixt with red Sand, and the white Clay mixt with white Sand, their Earings, Plough and Implements.

Next to these grauelly soiles, there be also two other compounded earths, as namely, the blacke Clay mixt with red Sand, and the white Clay mixt with white sand, which albe they differ in composition of mould, yet they hold one nature in their Tillage and Husbandry: wherefore first to speake of the blacke Clay mixt with red Sand, which (as before I said) is called of Husbandmen an hassell earth, you shall vnderstand that it is a very rich and good soile, very fruitfull both for Corne and Grasse: for Corne, being apt to beare any seede whatsoeuer: and for Grasse, as naturally putting it forth very earely in the yeere, by which your Cattell shall get reliefe sooner then in other soiles of colder nature: for both the blacke and white claies doe seldome flowrish with any store of Grasse before Iune, which is the time of wood-seare, and this soile will boast of some plenty about the beginning of Aprill at the furthest: but for Grasse we shall speake in his proper place.

{SN: Of fallowing.} Now for his tillage it is thus: you shall about the middest of Ianuary, beginne to fallow that field which you intend that yeere shall lye at rest or tilth, and you shall fallow it in such sort as is specified in the Chapter of the blacke clay: onely you shall raise small furrowes and Plow the land cleane, being sure to open and cast the land downeward if the land lie high and round, otherwise you shall neuer at any time cast the land downe but ridge it vp, that is to say, when you fallow it, you shall cast the first furrow downeward, and so likewise the second, which two furrowes being cleane ploughed, will lay the land open inough, that is, there wilbe no part of the ridge vnploughed: which done, by changing your hand and the gate of your Plough, you shall plough those furrowes backe againe and lay them vpward, and so plough the whole land vpward, also laying it round and high: the reason for this manner of plowing being this, that for as much as this land being mixt of clay and sand, must needes be a sore binding land, therefore if it should be laid flat, if any great raine or wet should fall, and a present drought follow it, neither should you possibly force your Plough to enter into it and breake it, or being broken should you get so much mould as to couer your Corne and giue the seede comfort, whereas vpon the contrary part, if it be laid high and vpright, it must necessarily be laid hollow and light, in so much that you may both Plough it at your pleasure, and also beget so perfect a mould as any other soile whatsoeuer, both because the wet hath liberty to auoide through the hollownesse, and also because the Sunne and weather hath power to enter and season it, wherefore in conclusion you shall fallow this field downeward if it lye high and vpright, otherwise you shall fallow it vpward as the meanes to bring it to the best Ardor.

Now for this fallow field it must euer be made where the yeere before you did reape your Pease, in case you haue but three fields, or where you did reape your Wheate, Rye, and Maslin, in case you haue foure fields, according to the manner of the blacke clay.

{SN: Of sowing Pease.} About the middest of February, which is within a day or two of Saint Valentines day, if the season be any thing constant in fairenesse and drinesse, you shall then beginne to sow your Pease, for you must vnderstand that albeit this soile will beare Beanes, yet they are nothing so naturall for it as Pease, both because they are an hungry seede and doe much impaire and wast the ground, and also because they prosper best in a fat, loose, and tough earth, which is contrary to this hard and drie soile: but especially if you haue foure fields, you shall forbeare to sow any Beanes at all, least you loose two commodities, that is, both quantitie of graine (because Beanes are not so long and fruitfull vpon this earth, as vpon the clayes) and the Manuring of your ground, which Pease out of their owne natures doe, both by the smoothering of the ground and their owne fatnesse, when your Beanes doe pill and sucke the hart out of the earth.

Now for the manner of sowing your Pease, you shall sow them aboue furrow, that is, first plough the land vpward, then immediately sow your Pease, and instantly after Harrow them, the Plough, the Seedes-man, and the Harrower, by due course, following each other, and so likewise you may sow Oates vpon this soile.

{SN: Of sowing Barley.} About the middest of March, which is almost a fortnight before our Lady day, you shall beginne to sow your Barley, which Barley you shall sow neither vnder-furrow nor aboue, but after this order: first, you shall plow your land downeward, beginning at the furrow and so assending vpward to the ridge of the land, which as soone as you haue opened, you shall then by pulling the plough out of the earth, and laying the shelboard crosse the ridge, you shall fill the ridge in againe with the same mould which you plowed vp: this done, your seedes-man shall bring his Barley and sow the land aboue furrow: after the land is sowne, you shall then Harrow it as small as may be, first with a paire of woodden Harrowes, and after with a paire of Iron Harrowes, or else with a double Oxe Harrow, for this earth being somewhat hard and much binding, will aske great care and dilligence in breaking.

{SN: Of sleighting.} After your Barley is sowne, you shall about the latter end of Aprill beginne to smooth and sleight your land, both with the backe Harrowes and with the rouler, and looke what clots they faile to breake, you shall with clotting beetles beate them asunder, making your mould as fine and laying your land as smooth as is possible.

{SN: Of Summer-stirring.} About the middest of May, you shall, if any wet fall, beginne to Summer-stirre your land, or if no wet fall, you shall doe your indeauour to Summer-stirre your land, rather aduenturing to breake two ploughes, then to loose one day in that labour, knowing this, that one land Summer-stird in a dry season, is better then three Summer-stird in a wet or moist weather, both because it giues the earth a better temper, and kils the weedes with more assurednesse, and as I speake of Summer-stirring, so I speake of all other Ardors, that the drier they are done the better they are euer done: and in this season you shall also gather the stones from your ground.

{SN: Obiection.} Now it may be obiected, that if it be best to plough in drie seasons, it is then best to fallow also in a dry season, and by that meanes not to beginne to fallow vntill the beginning of May, as is prescribed for the blacke clay, and so to deferre the Summer-stirring till the next month after, sith of necessitie Ianuary must either be wet or else vnkindely.

{SN: Answere.} To this I make answere, that most true it is, that the land which is last fallowed is euer the best and most fruitfull, yet this mixt earth which is compound of sand and clay, is such a binding earth, that if it be not taken and fallowed in a moist-time of the yeere, as namely, in Ianuary or February, but suffered to lye till May, at which time the drought hath so entered into him, that the greatest part of his moisture is decaied, then I say, the nature of the ground is such and so hard, that it wilbe impossible to make any plough enter into it, so that you shall not onely aduenture the losse of that speciall Ardor, but also of all the rest which should follow after, and so consequently loose the profit of your land: where contrary wise if you fallow it at the beginning of the yeere, as in Ianuary, and February, albe they be wet, yet shall you lay vp your furrowes and make the earth more loose, by which meanes you shall compasse all the other Earings which belong to your soile: for to speake briefely, late fallowing belongs vnto claies, which by drought are made loose and light, and earely fallowings vnto mixt soiles, such as these which by drinesse doe ingender and binde close together.

{SN: Of weeding.} About the middest of Iune, you shall beginne to weede your Corne, in such sort as hath beene before described in the former Chapters: and although this soile naturally of it selfe (if it haue receiued his whole Ardor in due seasons, and haue beene Ploughed cleane, according to the office of a good Husband) doth neither put forth Thistle or other weede, yet if it want either the one or the other, it is certaine that it puts them forth in great abundance, for by Thistles and weedes, vpon this soile, is euer knowne the goodnesse and dilligence of the Husbandman.

{SN: Of Foiling.} About the middest of Iuly, you shall beginne to foile your land, in such sort also as hath beene mentioned in the former Chapters, onely with this obseruation that if any of your lands lie flat, you shall then, in your foiling, plough those lands vpward and not downeward, holding your first precept that in this soile, your lands must lie high, light, and hollow, which if you see they doe, then you may if you please in your foiling cast them downeward, because at Winter ridging you may set them vp againe.

{SN: Of Manuring.} Now for as much as in this Chapter I haue hitherto omitted to speake of Manuring this soile, you shall vnderstand that it is not because I hold it so rich that it needeth no Manure, but because I know there is nothing more needfull vnto it then Manure, in so much that I wish not the Husbandman of this ground to binde himselfe vnto any one particular season of the yeere for the leading forth of his Manure, but to bestow all his leasurable houres and rest from other workes onely vpon this labor, euen through the circuit of the whole yeere, knowing this most precisely, that at what time of the yeere so euer you shall lay Manure vpon this earth it will returne much profit.

As for the choise of Manures vpon this soile they are all those whatsoeuer, of which I haue formerly intreated in any of the other Chapters, no Manure whatsoeuer comming amisse to this ground: prouided that the Husbandman haue this respect to lay vpon his moystest and coldest ground his hottest Manures, and vpon his hottest and driest earth his coolest and moistest Manures: the hot Manures being Sheepes-dung, Pigions-dung, Pullen-dung, Lyme, Ashes, and such like: the coole being Oxe-dung, Horse-dung, the scowrings of Ponds, Marle, and such like.

{SN: Of Winter-ridging.} About the middest of September you shall beginne to Winter-ridge your Land, which in all points you shall doe according as is mentioned in the former Chapters of the Clayes: for in this Ardor there is neuer any difference, onely this one small obseruation, that you may aduenture to Winter-ridge this mixt earth sooner then any other: for many of our best English Husbandmen which liue vpon this soile doe hold this opinion, that if it be Winter-ridged so earely in the yeere, that through the vertue of the latter spring it put forth a certaine greene weede like mosse, bring short and soft, that the land is so much the better therefore, being as they imagine both fed and comforted by such a slender expression which doth not take from the land any hart, but like a warme couering doth ripen and make mellow the mould, and this cannot be effected but onely by earely Winter-ridging.

{SN: Of Sowing of Wheate, Rye, and Maslin.} At the end of September you shall beginne to sow your Wheate, Rye, and Maslin, all which Graines are very naturall, good, and profitable vpon this soile, and are to be sowne after the same manner, and with the same obseruations which are specified in the former Chapter of the blacke clay, that is to say, the Wheate vnder furrow, and vnharrowed, the Rye and Maslin aboue furrow, and well harrowed. And herein is also to be remembred all those precepts mentioned in the Chapter of the blacke Clay, touching the diuision of the fields, that is to say, if you haue three fields, you shall then sow your Wheate, Rye and Maslin in your fallow-field, and so saue both the Foyling and double manuring of so much earth: but if you haue foure fields, then you shall sow those graines vpon that land from whence the same yeere you did reape your Pease; your Wheate hauing no other Manure then that which came by the Pease, your Rye hauing, if possible, eyther Manure from the Cart, or from the Folde, in such sort as hath beene shewed in the Chapter of the blacke Clay, and this of Husbandmen is called Inam-wheate or Inam-rye, that is, white-corne sowne after white-corne, as Barley after Barley, or hard-corne after hard-corne, which is wheate after Pease.

{SN: Of the plough.} Now for the Plough which is most proper for this soile it is to be made of a middle size betwixt that for the blacke Clay, and that for the red Sand, being not all out so bigge and vnwieldy as the first, nor so slender and nimble as the latter, but taking a middle proportion from them both, you shall make your Plough of a competent fitnesse.

{SN: Of the plough-Irons.} As for the Irons, the Share must be of the same proportion that the Share for the red Sand is, yet a little thought bigger, and the Coulture of the fashion of that Coulture, onely not full so much bent, but all-out as sharpe and as long: and these Irons must be euer well maintained with steele, for this mixt earth is euer the hardest, and weareth both the Plough and Irons soonest, and therefore it is agreed by all Husbandmen that this Plough must not at any time want his Plough-slip, except at the first going of the Plough you shall finde that it hath too much land, that is to say, by the crosse setting on of the beame, that it runneth too greedily into the land, which to helpe, you shall let your Plough goe without a plough-slip, till the plough-head be so much worne, that it take no more but an ordinary furrow, and then you shall set on your Plough-slips and Plough clouts also: but I write this in case there be imperfection in the Plough, which if it be otherwise, then this obseruation is needlesse.

{SN: Of the Teame.} Now for the Teame or Draught which shall draw this Plough, they are as the former, Oxen or Horses, and their number the same that is prescribed for the blacke Clay, as namely, eight or sixe Beasts for Pease-earth, for Fallowing, and Summer-stirring, and sixe or foure for all other Ardors: for you must vnderstand that this mixt and binding soile, through his hardnesse, and glutenous holding together, is as hard to plow as any clay-soile whatsoeuer, and in some speciall seasons more by many degrees.

{SN: Of the white clay with white Sand.} Now for the white clay mixt with white sand, it is an earth much more barraine, then this former mixt earth, and bringeth forth nothing without much care, diligence, and good order: yet, for his manner of Earings, in their true natures euery way doe differ nothing from the Earings of this blacke clay and red Sand, onely the Seede which must be sowne vpon this soile differeth from the former: for vpon this soile in stead of Barley you must sow most Oates, as a Graine which will take much strength from little fertilitie: and in stead of Rye you shall sow more Wheate and more Pease, or in stead of Pease then you shall sow Fitches of eyther kinde which you please, and the increase will be (though not in abundance, yet) so sufficient as shall well quit the Plow-mans labour.

{SN: Of Manuring.} Now for the Manuring of this ground, you shall vnderstand that Marle is the chiefest: for neyther will any man suppose that this hard soile should bring vp cattell sufficient to manure it, nor if it would, yet that Manure were not so good: for a barraine clay being mixt with a most barraine sand, it must consequently follow that the soile must be of all the barenest, insomuch that to giue perfect strength and life vnto it, there is nothing better then Marle, which being a fat and strong clay, once incorporated within these weake moulds, it must needes giue them the best nourishment, loosening the binding substance, and binding that weaknesse which occasioneth the barrainnesse: but of this Marle I shall haue more occasion to speake hereafter in a particular Chapter, onely thus much I must let you vnderstand, that this soile, albe it be not within any degree of praise for the bringing forth of Corne, yet it is very apt and fruitfull for the breeding of grasse, insomuch that it will beare you corne for at least nine yeeres together (without the vse of any fallow or Tilth-field) if it be well marled, and immediately after it will beare you very good breeding grasse, or else reasonable Medow for as many yeeres after, as by daily experience we see in the Countries of Lancaster and Chester. So that the consequence being considered, this ground is not but to be held indifferent fruitfull: for whereas other soiles afore shewed (which beare abundance of Graine) are bound to be manured once in three yeeres, this soile, albe it beare neither so rich graine, nor so much plenty, yet it needes marling not aboue once in sixteene or eighteene yeeres: and albe Marle be a Manure of the greatest cost, yet the profit by continuance is so equall that the labour is neuer spent without his reward, as shall more largely appeare hereafter.

{SN: Of the Plough.} As touching the Plough, it is the same which is mentioned in the other soile of the blacke Clay, and red Sand, altering nothing eyther in quantitie of timber, or strength of Irons: so that to make any large description thereof, is but to double my former discourses, and make my writings tedious.

For to conclude briefely, these two soiles differ onely but in fatnesse and strength of nature, not in Earing, or plowing, so that the labours of tillage being equall there is not any alteration more then the true diligence of much manuring, which will breede an affinitie or alyance betwixt both these soiles. And thus much for this blacke Clay and red Sand, or white Clay and white Sand.


THE FIRST PART OF THE ENGLISH Husbandman: Contayning, the manner of plowing and Manuring all sorts of Soyles, together with the manner of planting and setting of Corne.


Of the manner of plowing all simple Earths, which are vncompounded.

That many famous and learned men, both in Fraunce, Spaine, Italy and Germany, haue spent all their best time in shewing vnto the world the excellencie of their experiences, in this onely renowned Arte of Husbandry, their large and learned Volumes, most excellently written, in that kinde, are witnesses: from whence we by translations haue gotten some contentment, though but small profit; because those forraine clymates, differing much from ours, both in nature of earth, and temper of Ayre, the rules and obseruations belonging vnto them can be little auailable to vs, more then to know what is done in such parts, a thing more appertaining to our conference then practise. But now, that other kingdomes may see though wee write lesse yet wee know as much as belongeth to the office of the English Husbandman, I, though the meanest of many millions, haue vndertaken to deliuer vnto the world all the true rudiments, obseruations and knowledges what soeuer, which hath any affinitie or alliance with English Husbandry. And for as much as the best and principallest part of Husbandry consisteth in the plowing and earring of the ground (for in that onely Adam began his first labours) I thinke it not vnmeete, first to treate of that subiect, proceeding so from braunch to braunch, till I haue giuen euery one sufficient knowledge.

To speake then first of the Tilling of Grounds. You shall well vnderstand, that it is the office of euery good Husbandman before he put his plough into the earth, truly to consider the nature of his Grounds, and which is of which quallitie and temper. To proceede then to our purpose; all soyles what soeuer, in this our kingdome of England, are reduced into two kindes onely, that is to say, Simple or Compound. Simple, are those which haue no mixture with others of a contrary quallitie, as are your stiffe clayes, or your loose sands: your stiffe clayes are likewise diuers, as a blacke clay, a blew clay, and a clay like vnto Marble. Your sands are also diuers, as a red sand, a white sand, a yellow sand, and a sand like vnto dust. Your mixt earths are where any of these clayes and sands are equally or vnindifferently mixed together, as shalbe at large declared hereafter. Now as touching the tilling of your simple clayes, it is to be noted, that the blacke clay, of all earth, is the most fruitfull, and demandeth from the Husbandman the least toyle, yet bringeth forth his increase in the greatest abundance: it will well and sufficiently bring forth three crops, eare it desire rest: namely, the first of Barly, the second of Pease, and the third of Wheate: It doth not desire much Manure, for it is naturally of it selfe so fat, rich, and fruitfull, that if you adde strength vnto his strength, by heaping Manure or Compasse thereupon, you make it either blast, and mildew the Corne that growes, with the too much fatnesse of the earth, or else through his extreame rankenesse, to bring it vp in such abundance that it is not able to stand vpright when it is shot vp, but falling downe flat to the ground, and the eares of Corne smothering one another, they bring forth nothing but light Corne, like an emptie huske, without a kirnell. The best Manure or Compasse therefore that you can giue such ground, is then to plow it in orderly and dew seasons, as thus: you shall begin to fallow, or breake vp this soyle, at the beginning of May, at which time you shall plow it deepe, & take vp a large furrow, and if your Lands lye any thing flat, it shalbe meete that you begin on the ridge of the land, and turne all your furrowes vpward, but if your Lands lye high and vpright, then shall you begin in the furrow and turne all your furrowes downeward, which is called of Husbandmen, the casting downe of Land. This first plowing of ground, or as Husbandmen tearme it, the first ardor, is called fallowing: the second ardor, which we call stirring of ground, or sommer stirring, you shall begin in Iuly, which is of great consequence, for by meanes of it you shall kill all manner of weedes and thistells that would annoy your Land. In this ardor you must oft obserue that if when you fallowed you did set vp your Land, then now when you stirre you must cast downe your Land, and so contrarily, if before you did cast downe, then now you must set vp: your third ardor, which is called of Husbandmen, winter ridgeing, or setting vp Land for the whole yeere, you shall begin at the latter end of September, and you must euer obserue that in this third ardor you doe alwaies ridge vp your Land, that is to say, you most turne euery furrow vpward and lay them as close together as may be, for should you doe otherwise, that is to say, either lay them flat or loosely, the winter season would so beat and bake them together, that when you should sow your seede you would hardly get your plough into the ground.

Now your fourth and last ardor, which must be when you sow your seede, you shall begin euer about the midst of March, at least one weeke before our Ladies day, commonly called the Annunciation of Mary, and this ardor you shall euer plow downeward, laying your ridges very well open, and you shall euer obserue in this ardor, first to sow your seede, and then after to plow your ground, turning your seede into the earth, which is called of Husbandmen, sowing vnderfurrow: as soone as your ground is plowed you shall harrow it with an harrow whose teeth are all of wood, for these simple earths are of easie temper and will of themselues fall to dust, then after you haue thus sowne your ground, if then there remaine any clots or lumpes of earth vnbroken, you shall let them rest till after the next shower of raine, at which time you shall either with a heauie rouler, or the backside of your harrowes, runne ouer your Lands, which is called the sleighting of ground, and it will not onely breake such clots to dust, but also lay your Land plaine and smoth, leauing no impediment to hinder the Corne from sprouting and comming forth. In this same ordor as you are appointed for this blacke clay, in this same manner you shall ordor both your blew clay & your clay which is like vnto marble. Now as touching the plough which is fittest for these clayes, it must be large and strong, the beame long and well bending, the head thicke and large, the skeeth broad, strong, and well sloaping, the share with a very large wing, craueing much earth, and the coulter long, thicke and very straight.

Now touching those lands which are simple and vncompounded, you shall vnderstand that euery good Husbandman must begin his first ardor (which is to fallow them) at the beginning of Ianuary, hee must sooner stirre them, which is the second ardor, at the latter end of Aprill, he shall cast them downe againe, which is called foyling of Land, at the beginning of Iuly, which is the third ardor, and wherein is to be noted, that how soeuer all other ardors are plowed, yet this must euer be cast downward: the fourth ardor, which is winter-stirring or winter-ridgeing, must euer begin at the end of September, and the fift and last ardor must be performed when you sow your ground, which would be at the middest of May, at the soonest, and if your leasure and abilitie will giue you leaue, if you turne ouer your ground againe in Ianuary, it will be much better, for these sands can neuer haue too much plowing, nor too much Manure, and therefore for them both, you shall apply them so oft as your leasure will conueniently serue, making no spare when either the way or opportunitie will giue you leaue. Now for as much as all sands, being of a hot nature, are the fittest to bring foorth Rye, which is a graine delighting in drynesse onely, you shall vnderstand, that then you shall not need to plow your ground aboue foure times ouer, that is, you shall fallow, sommer stirre, foyle, and in September sow your Corne: and as these ardors serue the red sand, so are they sufficient for your white sand, and your yealow sand also. As touching the ploughes fit for these light earths, they would be little and strong, hauing a short slender beame and a crooked; a narrow and thinne head, a slender skeeth, a share without a wing, a coulter thinne and very crooked, and a paire of hales much bending forward towards the man; and with this manner of plough you may plow diuers mixt and compounded earths, as the blacke clay and red sand, or the red sand and white grauell: and thus much as touching earths that are simple and vncompounded.


Of the manner of plowing the blacke clay mixt with white sand, and the white clay mixt with red sand: their Earrings, Plough, and Implements.

As touching the mixture of these two seuerall soyles, that is to say, the blacke clay with white sand, and the white clay with red sand, they differ not in the nature of plowing, sowing, or in Manuring, from the soyle which is mixt of a blacke clay and red sand, of which I haue sufficiently intreated before: onely thus much you shall vnderstand, that the blacke clay mixt with white sand is so much better and richer then the white clay mixt with red sand, by as much as the blacke clay is better then the white clay: and although some Husbandmen in our Land, hould them to be both of one temper and goodnesse, reasoning thus, that by how much the blacke clay is better then the white, by so much the red sand is better then the white sand, so that what the mixture of the one addeth, the mixture of the other taketh away, and so maketh them all one in fruitfulnesse and goodnesse: but in our common experience it doth not so fall out, for wee finde that the blacke clay mixt with white sand, if it be ordered in the forme of good Husbandry, that is to say, be plowed ouer at least foure times, before it come to be sowne, and that it be Manured and compassed in Husbandly fashion, which is to allow at least eight waine-load to an Aker, that if then vpon such Land you shall sow either Organe Wheat (in the south parts called red Wheat) or flaxen, or white Pollard Wheat, that such Wheat will often mildew, and turne as blacke as soote, which onely showeth too much richnesse and fatnesse in the earth, which the white clay mixt with red sand hath neuer beene seene to doe, especially so long as it is vsed in any Husbandly fashion, neither will the white clay mixt with red sand indure to be deuided into foure fields, that is to say, to beare three seuerall crops, one after another, as namely, Barly, Pease, and Wheat, without rest, which the blacke clay mixt with white sand many times doth, and thereby againe showeth his better fruitfulnesse: neuerthelesse, in generalitie I would not wish any good Husbandman, and especially such as haue much tillage, to deuide either of these soyles into any more then three fields, both because hee shall ease himselfe and his Cattell of much toyle, shall not at any time loose the best seasons for his best workes, and make his commodities, and fruit of his hands labours, by many degrees more certaine.

You shall also vnderstand, that both these soyles are very much binding, especially the white clay with red sand, both because the clay, proceeding from a chaukie and limie substance, and not hauing in it much fatnesse or fertillitie (which occasioneth seperation) being mixt with the red sand, which is of a much more hardnesse and aptnesse to knit together, with such tough matter, it must necessarilie binde and cleaue together, and so likewise the blacke clay, from whence most naturally proceedeth your best limestone, being mixt with white sand, doth also binde together and stifle the seede, if it be not preuented by good Husbandry.

You shall therefore in the plowing and earring of these two soyles, obserue two especiall notes; the first, that by no meanes you plow it in the wet, that is, in any great glut of raine: for if you either lay it vp, or cast it downe, when it is more like morter then earth, if then any sunshine, or faire weather, doe immediately follow vpon it, it will so drie and bake it, that if it be sowne, neither will the seede haue strength to sprout thorrow it, nor being in any of your other summer ardors, shall you by any meanes make your plough enter into it againe, when the season falleth for other plowing. The second, that you haue great care you lay your Land high and round, that the furrowes, as it were standing vpright one by another, or lying light and hollow, one vpon another, you may with more ease, at any time, enter in your plough, and turne your moulde which way you please, either in the heate of Sommer, or any other time of the yeere whatsoeuer.

Now as touching the plough, which is most best and proper for these soyles, it would be the same in sise which is formerly directed for the red sand, onely the Irons must be altered, for the Coulter would be more long, sharpe, and bending, and the share so narrow, sharpe, and small as can conueniently be made, according as is formerly expressed, that not hauing power to take vp any broad furrow, the furrowes by reason of there slendernesse may lye many, and those many both hollow, light and at any time easily to be broken.

As for the Teame which is best to worke in this soyle, they may be either Horses or Oxen, or Oxen and Horse mixt together, according to the Husbandmans abillitie, but if hee be a Lord of his owne pleasure and may commaund, and haue euery thing which is most apt and proper, then in these two soyles, I preferre the Teame of Horses single, rather then Oxen, especially in any winter or moist ardor, because they doe not tread and foyle the ground making it mirie and durtie as the Oxe doth, but going all in one furrow, doe keepe the Land in his constant firmenesse.

As touching the clotting, sleighting, weeding, and dressing of these two soyles, they differ in nothing from the former mixt earths, but desire all one manner of dilligence: and thus much for these two soyles the blacke clay mixt with white sand, and the white clay with white red sand.


A comparison of all the former soyles together, and most especiall notes for giuing the ignorant Husbandman perfect vnderstanding, of what is written before.

The reason why I haue thus at large discoursed of euery seuerall soyle, both simple and compounded, is to show vnto the industrious Husbandman, the perfect and true reason of the generall alteration of our workes in Husbandry, through this our Realme of England: for if all our Land, as it is one kingdome, were likewise of one composition, mixture, and goodnesse, it were then exceeding preposterous to see those diuersities, alterations, I, and euen contrary manners of proceedings in Husbandry, which are daily and hourely vsed: but euery man in his owne worke knowes the alteration of clymates. Yet for so much as this labour of Husbandry, consisteth not for the most part in the knowing and vnderstanding breast, but in the rude, simple, and ignorant Clowne, who onely knoweth how to doe his labour, but cannot giue a reason why he doth such labour, more then the instruction of his parents, or the custome of the Countrie, where it comes to passe (and I haue many times seene the same to mine admiration) that the skillfullest Clowne which is bred in the clay soyles, when hee hath beene brought to the sandy ground, hee could neither hould the plough, temper the plough, nor tell which way in good order to driue the Cattell, the heauinesse of the one labour being so contrary to the lightnesse of the other, that not hauing a temperance, or vnderstanding in his hands, hee hath beene put euen vnto his wittes ends; therefore I thinke it conuenient, in this place, by a slight comparison of soyles together, to giue the simplest Husbandman such direct & plaine rules that he shall with out the study of his braines, attaine to absolute knowledge of euery seuerall mixture of earth: and albeit hee shall not be able distinctly to say at the first that it is compounded of such and such earths, yet hee shall be very able to deliuer the true reason and manner how such ground (of what nature soeuer) shall be Husbanded and tilled.

Therefore to begin the Husbandman, is to vnderstand, that generally there are but two soyles for him to regard, for in them consisteth the whole Arte of Husbandry: as namely, the open and loose earth, and the close and fast binding earth, and these two soyles being meare opposites and contraries, most necessarily require in the Husbandman a double vnderstanding, for there is no soyle, of what simplicitie or mixture soeuer it be, but it is either loose or fast.

Now to giue you my meaning of these two words, loose and fast, it is, that euery soyle which vpon parching and dry weather, euen when the Sunne beames scorcheth, and as it were baketh the earth, if then the ground vpon such exceeding drought doe moulder and fall to dust, so that whereas before when it did retaine moisture it was heauie, tough, and not to be seperated, now hauing lost that glewinesse it is light, loose, and euen with a mans foote to be spurnd to ashes, all such grounds are tearmed loose and open grounds, because at no time they doe binde in or imprison the seede (the frost time onely excepted, which is by accidence, and not from the nature of the soyle:) and all such grounds as in their moisture or after the fall of any sodaine raine are soft, plyable, light, and easie to be wrought, but after when they come to loose that moistnesse and that the powerfulnesse of the Sunne hath as it were drid vp their veynes, if then such earths become hard, firme, and not to be seperated, then are those soyles tearmed fast and binding soyles, for if there ardors be not taken in their due times, and their seede cast into them in perfect and due seasons, neither is it possible for the Plowman to plow them, nor for the seede to sprout through, the earth being so fastned and as it were stone-like fixt together. Now sithence that all soyles are drawne into these two heads, fastnes, and loosenesse, and to them is annexed the diuersitie of all tillage, I will now show the simple Husbandman which earths be loose, and which fast, and how without curiositie to know and to distinguish them.

Breifely, all soyles that are simple and of themselues vncompounded, as namely, all claies, as blacke, white, gray, or blew, and all sands, as either red, white, or blacke, are open and loose soyles: the claies because the body and substance of them being held together by moistnes, that moisture being dryed vp, their strength and stifnesse decayeth, and sands by reason of their naturall lightnesse, which wanting a more moist and fixt body to be ioyned with them doe loose all strength of binding or holding together. Now all mixt or compound earths (except the compositions of one and the same kinds, as clay with clay, or sand with sand) are euer fast and binding earths: for betwixt sand and clay, or clay & grauell, is such an affinitie, that when they be mixt together the sand doth giue to the clay such hardnesse and drynesse, and the clay to the sand such moisture and coldnesse, that being fixt together they make one hard body, which through the warmth of the Sunne bindeth and cleaueth together. But if it be so that the ignorance of the Husbandman cannot either through the subtiltie of his eye sight, or the obseruations gathered from his experience, distinguish of these soyles, and the rather, sith many soyles are so indifferently mixt, and the colour so very perfect, that euen skill it selfe may be deceiued: as first to speake of what mixture some soyles consist, yet for as much as it is sufficient for the Husbandman to know which is loose and which is binding, hee shall onely when he is perplext with these differences, vse this experiment, hee shall take a good lumpe of that earth whose temperature hee would know, and working it with water and his wet hands, like a peece of past, he shall then as it were make a cake thereof, and laying it before an hot fire, there let it lye, till all the moisture be dried & backt out of it, then taking it into your hands and breaking it in peeces, if betweene your fingers it moulder and fall into a small dust, then be assured it is a loose, simple, and vncompounded earth, but if it breake hard and firme, like a stone, and when you crumble it betweene your fingers it be rough, greetie, and shining, then be assured it is a compounded fast-binding earth, and is compounded of clay and sand, and if in the baking it doe turne red or redish, it is compounded of a gray clay and red sand, but if it be browne or blewish, then it is a blacke clay & white sand, but if when you breake it you finde therein many small pibles, then the mixture is clay and grauell. Now there be some mixt soyles, after they are thus bak't, although they be hard and binding, yet they will not be so exceeding hard and stone-like as other soyles will be, and that is where the mixture is vnequall, as where the clay is more then the sand, or the sand more then the clay.

When you haue by this experiment found out the nature of your earth, and can tell whether it be simple or compounded, you shall then looke to the fruitfulnesse thereof, which generally you shall thus distinguish. First, that clayes, simple and of themselues vncompounded, are of all the most fruitfull, of which, blacke is the best, that next to clayes, your mixt earths are most fertill, and the mixture of the blacke clay and red sand, called a hasell earth, is the best, and that your sands are of all soyles most barraine, of which the red sand for profit hath euer the preheminence.

Now for the generall tillage and vse of these grounds, you shall vnderstand that the simple and vncompounded grounds, being loose and open (if they lye free from the danger of water) the Lands may be layd the flattest and greatest, the furrowes turned vp the largest and closest, and the plough and plough-Irons, most large and massie, onely those for the sandy grounds must be more slender then those for the clayes and much more nimble, as hath beene showed before. Now for the mixt earths, you shall lay your Lands high, round, and little, set your furrowes vpright, open, and so small as is possible, and make your plough and plow Irons most nimble and slender, according to the manner before specified: and thus I conclude, that hee which knoweth the loose earth and the binding earth, can either helpe or abate the strength of the earth, as is needfull, and knowes how to sorte his ploughes to each temper, knowes the ground and substance of all tillage.


Of the planting or setting of Corne, and the profit thereof.

Not that I am conceited, or carried away with any nouelty or strange practise, vnusually practised in this kingdome, or that I will ascribe vnto my selfe to giue any iudiciall approbation or allowance to things mearely vnfrequented, doe I publish, within my booke, this relation of the setting of Corne, but onely because I would not haue our English Husbandman to be ignorant of any skill or obscure faculty which is either proper to his profession, or agreeable with the fertillitie and nature of our clymates, and the rather, since some few yeeres agoe, this (as it then appeared secret) being with much admiration bruted through the kingdome, in so much that according to our weake accustomed dispositions (which euer loues strange things best) it was held so worthy, both for generall profit and perticular ease, that very fein (except the discreet) but did not alone put it in practise, but did euen ground strong beleifes to raise to themselues great common-wealthes by the profits thereof; some not onely holding insufficient arguments, in great places, of the invtilitie of the plough, but euen vtterly contemning the poore cart Iade, as a creature of no necessitie, so that Poulters and Carriers, were in good hope to buy Horse-flesh as they bought egges, at least fiue for a penie; but it hath proued otherwise, and the Husbandman as yet cannot loose the Horses seruice. But to proceede to the manner of setting or planting of Corne, it is in this manner.

{SN: Of setting Wheate.} Hauing chosen out an aker of good Corne ground, you shall at the beginning of March, appoint at least sixe diggers or laborers with spades to digge vp the earth gardenwise, at least a foote and three inches deepe (which is a large spades graft) and being so digged vp, to rest till Iune, and then to digge it ouer againe, and in the digging to trench it and Manure it, as for a garden mould, bestowing at least sixteene Waine-load of Horse or Oxe Manure vpon the aker, and the Manure to be well couered within the earth, then so to let it rest vntill the beginning of October, which being the time for the setting, you shall then digge it vp the third time, and with rakes and beetells breake the moulde somewhat small, then shall you take a board of sixe foot square, which shalbe bored full of large wimble holes, each hole standing in good order, iust sixe inches one from another, then laying the board vpon the new digged ground, you shall with a stick, made for the purpose, through euery hole in the board, make a hole into the ground, at least fore inches deepe, and then into euery such hole you shall drop a Corne of Wheate, and so remouing the board from place to place, goe all ouer the ground that you haue digged, and so set each seuerall Corne sixe inches one from another, and then with a rake you shall rake ouer and couer all the holes with earth, in such sort that they may not be discerned. And herein you are to obserue by the way that a quarte of Wheate will set your aker: which Wheate is not to be taken as it falles out by chance when you buy it in the market, but especially culd and pickt out of the eare, being neither the vppermost Cornes which grow in the toppes of the eares, nor the lowest, which grow at the setting on of the stalke, both which, most commonly are light and of small substance, but those which are in the midst, and are the greatest, fullest, and roundest.

{SN: Of setting Barly, or Pease.} Now in the selfe-same sort as you dresse your ground for your Wheate, in the selfe same manner you shall dresse your ground for Barly, onely the first time you digge it shalbe after the beginning of May, the second time and the Manuring about the midst of October, wherein you shall note that to your aker of Barly earth, you shall alow at least foure and twentie Waine-load of Manure, and the last time of your digging and setting shalbe at the beginning of Aprill.

Now for the dressing of your earth for the setting of Pease, it is in all things answerable to that for Barly, onely you may saue the one halfe of your Manure, because a dosen Waine-load is sufficient, and the time for setting them, or any other pulse, is euer about the midst of February.

{SN: Of the profit of setting Corne.} Now for the profit which issueth from this practise of setting of Corne, I must needs confesse, if I shall speake simply of the thing, that is, how many foulds it doubleth and increaseth, surely it is both great and wonderfull: and whereas ingenerall it is reputed that an aker of set Corne yeeldeth as much profit as nine akers of sowne Corne, for mine owne part I haue seene a much greater increase, if euery Corne set in an aker should bring forth so much as I haue seene to proceede from some three or foure Cornes set in a garden, but I feare me the generalitie will neuer hould with the particular: how euer, it is most certaine that earth in this sort trimmed and inriched, and Corne in this sort set and preserued, yeeldeth at least twelue-fold more commoditie then that which by mans hand is confusedly throwne into the ground from the Hopper: whence it hath come to passe that those which by a few Cornes in their gardens thus set, seeing the innumerable increase, haue concluded a publique profit to arise thereby to the whole kingdome, not looking to the intricacie, trouble, and casualtie, which attends it, being such and so insupportable that almost no Husbandman is able to vndergoe it: to which we need no better testimony then the example of those which hauing out of meare couetousnesse and lucre of gaine, followed it with all greedinesse, seeing the mischiefes and inconueniences which hath incountred their workes, haue euen desisted, and forgotten that euer there was any such practise, and yet for mine owne part I will not so vtterly condemne it, that I will depriue it of all vse, but rather leaue it to the discretion of iudgement, and for my selfe, onely hould this opinion, that though it may very wel be spared from the generall vse of Wheat and Barly in this kingdome, yet for hastie-Pease, French Beanes, and such like pulse, it is of necessary imployment, both in rich and poore mens gardens. And thus much for the setting of Corne.


Of the choice of seede-Corne, and which is best for which soyle.

Hauing thus showed vnto you the seuerall soyles and temperatures of our English land, together with the order of Manuring, dressing and tillage of the same, I thinke it meete (although I haue in generall writ something already touching the seede belonging to euery seuerall earth) now to proceede to a particular election and choice of seede-Corne, in which there is great care and diligence to be vsed: for as in Men, Beasts, Fowle, & euery mouing thing, there is great care taken for the choice of the breeders, because the creatures bred doe so much participate of the parents that for the most part they are seene not onely to carry away their outward figures and semblances, but euen their naturall conditions and inclinations, good issuing from good, and euill from euill: so in the choise of seede-Corne, if their be any neglect or carelessenesse, the crop issuing of such corrupt seede must of force bring forth a more corrupt haruest, by as much as it exceedeth in the multiplication.

{SN: The choise of seede Wheate.} To proceede therefore to the choise of seede-Corne, I will begin with Wheate, of which there are diuers kindes, as your whole straw Wheate, the great browne Pollard, the white Pollard, the Organe or red Wheate, the flaxen Wheate, and the chilter Wheate. Your whole straw Wheate, and browne Pollard, are knowne, the first, by his straw, which is full of pith, and hath in it no hollownesse (whence it comes that Husbandmen esteeme it so much for their thacking, allowing it to be as good and durable as reede:) the latter is knowne by his eare, which is great, white, and smooth, without anes or beard vpon it: in the hand they are both much like one to another, being of all Wheates the biggest, roundest and fullest: they be somewhat of a high colour, and haue vpon them a very thicke huske, which making the meale somewhat browne causeth the Baker not all together to esteeme them for his purest manchet, yet the yeeld of flower which cometh from them is as great and greater then any other Wheate whatsoeuer. These two sortes of Wheate are to be sowne vpon the fallow field, as crauing the greatest strength and fatnesse of ground, whence it comes that they are most commonly seene to grow vpon the richest and stiffest blacke clayes, being a graine of that strength that they will seldome or neuer mildew or turne blacke, as the other sortes of Wheate will doe, if the strength of the ground be not abated before they be throwne into the earth. Now for the choise of these two Wheates, if you be compelled to buy them in the market, you must regard that you buy that which is the cleanest and fairest, being vtterly without any weedes, as darnell, cockell, tares or any other foulnesse whatsoeuer: you shall looke that the Wheate, as neare as may be, hould all of one bignesse and all of one colour, for to beholde it contrary, that is to say, to see some great Cornes, some little, some high coloured, some pale, so that in their mixture they resemble changeable taffata, is an apparant signe that the Corne is not of one kinde but mixt or blended, as being partly whole-straw, partly Pollard, partly Organe, and partly Chelter. For the flaxen, it is naturally so white that it cannot be mixt but it may easily be discerned, and these mixt seedes are neuer good, either for the ground or the vse of man. Againe you shall carefully looke that neither this kinde of Wheate, nor any other that you buy for seede be blacke at the ends, for that is a signe that the graine comming from too rich a soyle was mildewed, and then it will neuer be fruitfull or proue good seede, as also you shall take care that it be not too white at the ends, showing the Corne to be as it were of two colours, for that is a signe that the Wheate was washt and dried againe, which vtterly confoundeth the strength of the Corne and takes from it all abilitie of bringing forth any great encrease. Now if it be so that you haue a crop of Wheate of your owne, so that you haue no need of the market, you shall then picke out of your choisest sheafes, and vpon a cleane floare gently bat them with a flaile, and not thresh them cleane, for that Corne which is greatest, fullest, and ripest, will first flie out of the eare, and when you haue so batted a competent quantitie you shall then winnow it and dresse it cleane, both by the helpe of a strong winde and open siues, and so make it fit for your seede.

I haue seene some Husbands (and truely I haue accounted them both good and carefull) that haue before Wheate seede time both themselues, wiues, children, and seruants at times of best leasure, out of a great Wheate mow or bay, to gleane or pull out of the sheafes, eare by eare, the most principall eares, and knitting them vp in small bundells to bat them and make their seede thereof, and questionlesse it is the best seede of all other: for you shall be sure that therein can be nothing but the cleanest and the best of the Corne, without any weedes or foulnesse, which can hardly be when a man thresheth the whole sheafe, and although some men may thinke that this labour is great and troblesome, especially such as sowe great quantities of Wheate, yet let them thus farre encourage themselues, that if they doe the first yeere but gleane a bushell or two (which is nothing amongst a few persons) and sowe it vp on good Land, the encrease of it will the next yeere goe farre in the sowing the whole crop: for when I doe speake of this picking of Wheate, eare by eare, I doe not intend the picking of many quarters, but of so much as the increase thereof may amount to some quarter.

Now there is also another regarde to be had (as auailable as any of the former) in chusing of your seede Wheate, and that is to respect the soyle from whence you take your seede, and the soyle into which you put it, as thus.

If the ground whereon you meane to sowe your Wheat be a rich, blacke, clay, stiffe and full of fertillitie, you shall then (as neare as you can) chuse your seede from the barrainest mixt earth you can finde (so the Wheate be whole-straw or Pollard) as from a clay and grauell, or a clay and white sand, that your seede comming from a much more barraine earth then that wherein you put it, the strength may be as it were redoubled, and the encrease consequently amount to a higher quantitie, as we finde it proueth in our daylie experience; but if these barraine soyles doe not afforde you seede to your contentment, it shall not then be amisse (you sowing your Wheate vpon fallow or tilth ground) if you take your seede-Wheate either from an earth of like nature to your owne, or from any mixt earth, so that such seede come from the niams, that is, that it hath beene sowne after Pease, as being the third crop of the Land, and not from the fallow or tilth ground, for it is a maxiome amongst the best Husbands (though somewhat proposterous to common sence) bring to your rich ground seede from the barraine, and to the barraine seede from the rich, their reason (taken from their experience) being this, that the seede (as before I said) which prospereth vpon a leane ground being put into a rich, doth out of that superfluitie of warmth, strength and fatnesse, double his increase; and the seede which commeth from the fat ground being put into the leane, hauing all the vigour, fulnesse and iuyce of fertilnes, doth not onely defend it selfe against the hungrinesse of the ground but brings forth increase contrary to expectation; whence proceedeth this generall custome of good Husbands in this Land, that those which dwell in the barraine woode Lands, heathes and high mountaine countries of this kingdome, euer (as neere as they can) seeke out their seede in the fruitfull low vales, and very gardens of the earth, & so likewise those in the vales take some helpes also from the mountaines.

Now for your other sortes of Wheate, that is to say, the white Pollard and the Organe, they are graines nothing so great, full, and large, as the whole straw, or browne Pollard, but small, bright, and very thinly huskt: your Organe is very red, your Pollard somewhat pale: these two sorts of Wheate are best to be sowne vpon the third or fourth field, that is to say, after your Pease, for they can by no meanes endure an ouer rich ground, as being tender and apt to sprout with small moisture, but to mildew and choake with too much fatnesse, the soyles most apt for them are mixt earths, especially the blacke clay and red sand, or white clay and red sand, for as touching other mixtures of grounds, they are for the most part so barraine, that they will but hardly bring forth Wheate vpon their fallow field, and then much worse vpon a fourth field. Now for any other particular choise of these two seedes, they are the same which I shewed in the whole straw, and great Pollard. As for the flaxen Wheate, and chilter Wheate, the first, is a very white Wheate both inward and outward, the other a pale red or deepe yellow: they are the least of all sorts of Wheate, yet of much more hardnes and toughnesse in sprouting, then either the Organe or white Pollard, and therefore desire somewhat a more richer soyle, and to that end they are for the most part sowne vpon fallow fields, in mixt earths, of what natures or barrainenesse soeuer, as is to be seene most generally ouer all the South parts of this Realme: and although vncompounded sands out of their owne natures, doe hardly bring forth any Wheate, yet vpon some of the best sands and vpon the flintie grauels, I haue seene these two Wheates grow in good abundance, but being seldome it is not so much to be respected.

{SN: The choise of seede Rye.} After your Wheate you shall make choise of your Rie, of which there is not diuers kindes although it carrie diuers complections, as some blackish, browne, great, full and long as that which for the most part growes vpon the red sand, or red clay, which is three parts red sand mixt with blacke clay, and is the best Rie: the other a pale gray Rie, short, small, and hungry, as that which growes vpon the white sand, or white clay and white sand, and is the worst Rie. Now you shall vnderstand that your sand grounds are your onely naturall grounds for Rie, as being indeede not principally apt for any other graine, therefore when you chuse your Rie for seede, you shall chuse that which is brownest, full, bould, and longest, you shall haue great care that it be free from weedes or filth, sith your sand grounds, out of their owne naturall heat, doth put forth such store of naughtie weeds, that except a man be extraordinarily carefull, both in the choise and dressing of his Rie, he may easily be deceiued and poyson his ground with those weedes, which with great difficultie are after rooted out againe. Now for your seedes to each soyle, it is euer best to sow your best sand-Rie vpon your best clay ground, and your best clay-Rie vpon your best sand ground, obseruing euer this generall principle, not onely in Rie, but euen in Wheat, Barly, Pease and other graine of account, that is, euer once in three yeeres, to change all your seede, which you shall finde both to augment your encrease and to returne you double profit.

{SN: The choise of seede-Barly.} Now for the choise of your seede-Barly, you shall vnderstand, that for as much as it is a graine of the greatest vse, & most tendernesse, therefore there is the greatest diligence to be vsed in the election thereof. Know then that of Barly there be diuers sorts, as namely, that which wee call our common Barly, being long eares with two rankes of Corne, narrow, close, and vpright: another called spike or batteldore-Barly, being a large eare with two rankes of Corne, broad, flat, and in fashion of a batteldore: and the third called beane-Barly, or Barly big, being a large foure-square eare, like vnto an eare of Wheate.

Of these three Barlyes the first is most in vse, as being most apt and proper to euery soyle, whether it be fruitfull or barraine, in this our kingdome, but they haue all one shape, colour and forme, except the soyle alter them, onely the spike-Barly is most large and plentifull, the common Barly hardest and aptest to grow, and the beane-Barly least, palest, & tenderest, so that with vs it is more commonly seene in gardens then in fields, although in other Countries, as in Fraunce, Ireland, and such like, they sowe no other Barly at all, but with vs it is of no such generall estimation, and therefore I will neither giue it precedencie nor speake of it, otherwise then to referre it to the discreation of him who takes delight in many practises: but for the common Barly, or spike-Barly, which our experience findes to be excellent and of great vse, I will knit them in one, and write, my full opinion of them, for their choise in our seede. You shall know then that when you goe into the market to chuse Barly for your seede, you shall to your best power elect that which is whitest, fullest, and roundest, being as the ploughman calles it, a full bunting Corne, like the nebbe or beake of a Bunting, you shall obserue that it be all of one Corne, and not mingled, that is, clay Barly, and sand Barly together, which you shall distinguish by these differences: the clay Barly is of a palish, white, yellow colour; smoth, full, large, and round, and the sand Barly is of a deepe yellow, browne at the neather end, long, slender, and as it were, withered, and in generall no sand Barly is principall good for seede: but if the Barly be somewhat of a high colour, and browne at the neather end, yet notwithstanding is very full, bould, and bigge, then it is a signe that such Barly comes not from the sand, but rather from an ouer fat soyle, sith the fatnesse of the earth doth euer alter the complection of the Barly; for the whiter Barly euer the leaner soyle, and better seede: you shall also obserue, that there be not in it any light Corne, which is a kinde of hungry graine without substance, which although it filleth the seeds-mans hand, yet it deceiueth the ground, and this light Corne will commonly be amongst the best Barly: for where the ground is so rich that it bringeth forth the Barly too rankely, there the Corne, wanting power to stand vpon roote, falleth to the ground, and so robde of kindly ripening, bringeth forth much light and insufficient graine. Next this, you shall take care that in your seede-Barly there be not any Oates, for although they be in this case amongst Husbandmen accounted the best of weede, yet are they such a disgrace, that euery good Husband will most diligently eschew them, and for that cause onely will our most industrious Husbands bestow the tedious labour of gleaning their Barly, eare by eare, by which gleanings, in a yeere, or two, they will compasse their whole seede, which must infallibly be without either Oates or any weede whatsoeuer: and although some grounds, especially your richest blacke clayes, will out of the abundance of their fruitfulnesse (as not induring to be Idle) bring forth naturally a certaine kinde of wilde Oates, which makes some ignorant Husbands lesse carefull of their seede, as supposing that those wilde ones are a poisoning to their graine, but they are infinetly deceiued: for such wilde Oates, wheresoeuer they be, doe shake and fall away long before the Barly be ready, so that the Husbandman doth carry of them nothing into the Barne, but the straw onely. Next Oates, you must be carefull that there be in your Barly no other foule weede: for whatsoeuer you sow, you must looke for the increase of the like nature, and therefore as before I said in the Wheate, so in the Barly, I would wish euery good Husband to imploy some time in gleaning out of his Mow the principall eares of Barly, which being batted, drest, and sowne, by it selfe, albeit no great quantitie at the first, yet in time it may extend to make his whole seede perfect, and then hee shall finde his profit both in the market, where hee shall (for euery vse) sell with the deerest, and in his owne house where he shall finde his yeeld redoubled.

Now for fitting of seuerall seedes to seuerall soyles, you shall obserue, that the best seede-Barly for your clay field, is ninam Barly, sowne vpon the clay field, that is to say, Barly which is sowne where Barly last grew, or a second crop of Barly: for the ground hauing his pride abated in the first croppe, the second, though it be nothing neere so much in quantitie, yet that Corne which it doth bring forth is most pure, most white, most full, and the best of all seedes whatsoeuer, and as in case of this soyle, so in all other like soyles which doe hould that strength or fruitfulnesse in them that they are either able of themselues, or with some helpe of Manure in the latter end of the yeere, to bring forth two croppes of Barly, one after the other: but if either your soyle deny you this strength, or the distance of place bereaue you of the commoditie thereof, then you shall vnderstand that Barly from a hasell ground is the best seede, for the clay ground, and Barly from the clay ground is the best seede, not onely for the hasell earth, but euen for all mixt earths whatsoeuer, and the Barly which proceedes from the mixt earths is the best seede for all simple and vncompounded sands or grauells, as wee finde, both by their increasings and dayly experience.

{SN: The choise of seede-Beanes, Pease, and Pulse.} Now for the choise of seede-Beanes, Pease, or other Pulse, the scruple is nothing neere so great as of other seedes, because euery one that knowes any graine, can distinguish them when hee sees them: besides they are of that massie waight, and so well able to indure the strength of the winde, that they are easie to be seuered from any weede or filth whatsoeuer: it resteth therefore that I onely giue you instruction how to imploy them.

You shall vnderstand therefore, that if your soyle be a stiffe, blacke, rich, clay, that then your best seede is cleane Beanes, or at the least three partes Beanes, and but one part Pease: if it be a gray, or white clay, then Beanes and Pease equally mixt together: if the best mixt earths, as a blacke clay and red sand, blacke clay and white sand, or white clay and red sand, then your seede must be cleane Pease onely: if it be white clay and white sand, blacke clay and blacke sand, then your seede must be Pease and Fitches mixt together: but if it be grauell or sand simple, or grauell and sand compounded, then your seede must be either cleane Fitches, cleane Bucke, or cleane Tares, or else Fitches, Bucke and Tares mixt together.

{SN: The choise of seede-Oates.} Now to conclude with the choise of your Oates. You shall vnderstand that there be diuers kindes of them, as namely, the great long white Oate, the great long blacke Oate, the cut Oate, and the skegge: the two first of these are knowne by their greatnesse and colours, for they are long, full, bigge, and smooth, and are fittest to be sowne vpon the best of barraine grounds, for sith Oates are the worst of graine, I will giue them no other prioritie of place. The next of these, which is the cut Oate, it is of a pale yealow colour, short, smooth, and thicke, the increase of them is very great, and they are the fittest to be sowne vpon the worst of best grounds, for most commonly where you see them, you shall also see both good Wheate, good Barly, and good Beanes and Pease also. Now for the skegge Oate, it is a little, small, hungry, leane Oate, with a beard at the small end like a wilde Oate, and is good for small vse more then Pullen onely: it is a seede meete for the barrainest and worst earth, as fit to grow but there where nothing of better profit will grow. And thus much for those seedes which are apt and in vse in our English soyles: wherein if any man imagine me guiltie of errour, in that I haue omitted particularly to speake of the seede of blend-Corne, or Masline, which is Wheate and Rye mixt together, I answere him, that sith I haue shewed him how to chuse both the best Wheate and the best Rye, it is an easie matter to mixe them according to his owne discretion.

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