Agriculture
Features Timeline Folk & Facts Flora Fauna

Home
Up
Click here to visit the 22villages online newsgroup
please leave your comments in our Guest book

send an email to the 22village team

 

Rare Breeds and Rat Catchers! 

hallfarm6.jpg (87216 bytes)In 1881 rat catching was also noted as an occupation! By this time Lord Bristol of Ickworth , whose predecessors had acquired some local land and the tile of Lord of the Manor of Tuddenham in 1698 4 was adding to those acquisitions so that by the turn of the 20th. century there was very little land or property here, apart from the church and charity holdings, which did not belong to his estate. He never lived in the village but let out some land to tenants and installed a bailiff to work his own acres, this in turn created a lot of employment for local people.

hallfarm1.jpg (55403 bytes)In the early 1900's the local farms supplied the villagers with milk, sometimes collected from the farm in a jug. By the middle of the century dairy cattle walking along the public roads to and from their pasture twice a day for milking was a common sight, the cows would be hand milked and the bulk of the milk treated, put into large churns 5 and collected from the farm gate by the 'milk lorry'. Today there are no dairy herds left here although we still have a bottled milk delivery service and there are a few cows and calves at Longwood farm where they also have some rarer breeds like the longhorned highland cattle.

hallfarm3.jpg (60543 bytes)Following the Industrial Revolution as mechanisation increased, the faithful workhorses were gradually replaced by tractors which completed the work much more efficiently and faster, it also drastically cut down the amount of manpower required to work the land and now one man in isolation with a machine is the normal procedure. Suffolk Punch horses which used to pull the ploughs and carts are becoming an endangered species with only about 400 left in the whole country. Five of these belong to Gordon Brown, one of the main farmers here, who uses them for breeding and showing. Our soil is particularly suited to grass growing and in consequence we now have stables and studs which serve the local racing industry so race horses in the fields are a common sight.

hallfarm2.jpg (56504 bytes)During the war everyone was encouraged to'Dig for Victory' on every available piece of land, allotments became popular and many families kept a pig and a few hens and grew their own vegetables. Even the RAF Commander grew cabbages in the area around his HQ.6 on Tuddenham airfield. Allotments shown on old maps of the village7 have now disappeared as imported, reasonably priced fruit and vegetables have become readily available in supermarkets both in and out of season. People are more health conscious today and the demand for organic produce has increased dramatically, Longwood Farm has diversified into this and built up a reputation for quality foods grown and produced locally in the organic way some of which is retailed through their farm shop in Tuddenham.

hallfarm4.jpg (72037 bytes)The number of personnel employed in farming here now is minimal, probably less than 5%, although agriculture is still the main industry. As well as corn and root crops such as potatoes, carrots and onions, sugar beet is one of the main crops with oilseed rape and linseed oil, with the profusion of bright yellow and blue flowers and pungent smell increasingly popular. With artificial fertilisers and additives no ground needs to be left fallow, polythene sheeting covering the land warms the ground and retains the moisture so that more than one crop per season in not unusual. This policy has resulted in grain hallfarm5.jpg (71718 bytes) mountains and surplus crops so that now farmers are told what and how much they are allowed to grow and in some cases are paid to 'set aside' fields. Farming is a changing industry but remains vital to the local economy and the welfare of Tuddenham residents.

2001 Esme Murfitt
 

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival 2000 Designed by ArtAtac