A history of Halesworth, Suffolk, UK, through the ages.


Volume 1


Farming the Land

The agricultural life of the village changed very little as there was still the need for hard work on the land in growing crops, rearing cattle, and carrying on the many linked trades. Only those in charge would have changed. The lord of the manor's lands would be worked by serfs who were due to give certain days of service, and they would have their own strip of land allocated to them to produce crops for their own use. In these early medieval times, a field would be marked out into long narrow strips, which would be allocated to the peasants, looking somewhat like the allotments of today. As late as the 16th century, a field called Gallows Field at Broadway, near the 'Triple Plea' on the Bungay Road was still farmed in strips.

Within the demesne lands, the private lands of the lord of the manor, the rotation of crops would have allowed for two out of three fields to be cultivated each year, with a third lying fallow to allow it to refresh its richness. Barley and oats were cultivated. At Halesworth Manor in the early 14th century, about 17 or 18 unfree men had 'bond land' which they farmed in return for services to the lord of the Manor. After about 1300, these services were often in the form of payment in money, or in produce.


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