Parish of Barvas (1831-1845) - Industry

Agriculture and Rural Economy.- The uncultivated portion of the parish, and the extensive moors to the southward, which have not been accurately measured, and cannot well be estimated, exceed the arable land in extent, beyond all proportion. By giving proper encouragement, much waste land might, with a profitable application of capital, and with little difficulty, be reclaimed. At present, there are 1468 acres of land cultivated, or occasionally in tillage; 12,146 in pasture; and 489 in fine pasture. The rental of the whole is L. 1070, being on an average nearly 15s. an acre arable, including the value of the pasture attached to it. Each tenant is entitled to a souming proportional to his rent, at the rate of a cow with her follower till a year old, 8 sheep, and half a horse for every pound rent.

Rate of Wage:.-All the artisans in the parish consist-of 6 blacksmiths, and two self-taught carpenters, the former paid by the quantity of work, and the latter at the rate of 1s. a-day and their victuals, and sometimes paid by contract. When farm-labourers are hired, which is not often the case, they receive 1s. per day in summer, and 8d. in winter, without victuals.

Breeds of Live Stock and Husbandry.-There is not the slightest attention paid by the people, to the improvement of their breed of cattle. They are satisfied if they multiply in proportion to the annual sale. Upwards of 2500 are reared in the parish, and fed in winter principally on ware or sea-weed. The sheep amount to triple that number, and are of a more improved breed than formerly. In husbandry, there is hardly any improvement or deviation from the system which has been followed for centuries. Hitherto, they have not attempted draining or trenching, or to imitate in any respect a better mode of tillage, owing to their indigence, and to the short duration of their leases, which vary from six to twelve years. The minister’s plough is the only one in the parish, except we admit as such three or four machines so called, having but one handle, which the ploughman manages with both hands, standing sideways. A little refinement of taste, more than a sense of its disadvantages, has in some instances abolished the use of the crooked spade, a very indelicate tool for females for which the common spade is now substituted. As there is no produce exported from this parish, its amount cannot easily be valued, but may be conjectured from the fact that in no season is it more than barely sufficient, and sometimes not adequate, to supply the necessities of the tenantry.

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