Farming, the main occupation of Bradworthians, was still based in the rotation methods established in the eighteenth century. The weather, pests and crop diseases still being the limiting factors.

Most of the larger farms employed one or two farm workers living in the farmhouse and often one young lady to help the farmers wife. There were usually one or two cottages for the farm workers and their families. These were rent free. Wages were very low and farm prices were poor. There were no tractors, horses were used.

Spring would be a very busy time ploughing the fields. Manure from the cattle sheds was taken and spread on the fields, then harrowed, rolled and tilled. Corn, turnip, mangolds were all used to feed the cattle in the winter.

Butter making class

Butter making classs, about 1905

The rural community provided manpower at harvest time on potato picking and threshing days and the landscape still reflected the effect of the enclosure of open fields and the cottages, now sought after as holiday homes, housed the families which provided the labour.

It was very hard work, in the summer often long hours saving the hay which was stacked loose in ricks. The corn was also put into ricks. But the tranquil picture usually portrayed belied considerable poverty and hardship and a bad season often had devastating effect.

All the hay had to be cut from the ricks and carried around to the sheds in the winter. The ricks of corn would be threshed in the winter, the corn used to feed the stock and straw used for bedding.

The farm buildings were very poor and often badly planned, these would be extended when more stock became available if the farmer could afford it. The buildings were usually made of home grown timber covered with galvanised corrugated sheets.

Traditionally, Lady Day and Michaelmas were the days that the workers moved from one farm to another if they wanted to.

Farm prices improved during the 1914-18 War as did the price of farms, but in the early 1920's they dropped off again. Wages for farm workers (over 21) were 32/6d per week.

Their cottage and milk were usually free and often they would plant potatoes and vegetables in the farmers field. A farmer could stock a farm for a few hundred pounds with a couple of horses and a few implements. Many of the farms were rented, although after a few years some would be able to purchase the farm.

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