WW1 Armistice Exhibition - Farming


The Kelly’s Directory of 1913 lists 35 farmers in Frittenden, including Edward Homewood at Great Bubhurst.  The Homewoods had taken over the Farm in 1912.  Letters between members of the family provide a good source for details of farming practice and conditions.  Mary Hallward’s diaries also provide some more general views of farming and, as Rupert Inglis observes:- Sunday 2 April 1916:- ‘The men are very happy here [in France] on the farms, and as most of them are farm hands, they give a hand with the work. Our farmer must be pretty well to do, he has a lot of stock and 27 milking cows….’

Kelly’s 1913 Directory lists the farmers in Frittenden:

Baker, Mrs, Moat Farm

Boorman, Henry, Cold Harbour Farm

Bowles, Ernest, Great Hungerden Farm, also hop grower

Capeling, James & Son, Manor farm

Chantler, Arthur, Corner Farm

Chapman, Horace, Whitsunden

Cox, John, Pond farm

Croft, Benjamin, farm bailiff to C. J. Oakeley Esq. J.P

Farrance, David William, Broadlake

Fielder, Geo. (Mrs.), Balcomb Farm

Fread, Geo., Chanceford FarmHarris, James, Bailey Farm

Harrison Dering, H. A. C., Buckhurst, also land owner & hop grower

Hickmott, Silas, Weaver's den

Homewood, Edwd., Gt. Bubhurst

Hope, John, Cole farm

King, John Payne, Beal & Old Mill farms, also hop grower

Lindridge, Thos., Hungerden

Ottaway, Harry, Stone Court Farm

Pearson,Jn. Dobell, Lashenden

Phillips, W. J., Great Ayleswade Farm

Pope, Charles, Pound Hill Farm

Price, Geo. (Mrs.), Sinksnorth Green

Roberts, Esther (Mrs.), Lowlands Farm

Roseveare, Wallace, Pullen Farm

Skinner, James, Knoxbridge

Standen, Brothers, Tolehurst

Stent, Algernon Arth. poultry farmer, Little Buckhurst

Taylor, John, Sandhurst Bridge & Appleton Farms, also hop grower

Tipples, James William

Ward, Robert

Weeks, Jas. Cherry Tree Farm

Wheadon, George, Little Buckhurst Farm

Young, Charles William, Little Ayleswade

Young, John, Rock Farm

JULY 1914

As war approached, Julia Homewood wrote to her daughter Maude, living in Syracuse, New York State, describing the chores involved in running the family home and the boarding business.  “Should have commenced the wash on Wednesday, but had a small pig to put away, we made 4lbs of sausages, a little lard, gave the head away to two of our men, two joints we will roast, and the rest we will put in salt, you know your father likes streaky pork …”

The impact of the war on people’s domestic life was soon evident as Mary Hallward recorded on Friday 2 August 1914 that ‘2 of the Oakeleys’ carriage horses were commandeered.  A cart horse has been already taken’. 

Friday 4 September 1914:- Julia Homewood notes that ‘horses have been taken that are any good, from every parish, fortunately for us, they do not seem to have found us out, I suppose it is we live off the Main Road, we hear that stacks of Hay and Straw have been taken too...’

Tuesday 10 November 1914:- Mary - ‘out again to get celery for the Belgians stewing beef, from F[rank] Bearsby [husband of Alice and market gardener at Fair View], &c.’

Saturday 16:- Street Farm for sale by auction for Mrs Upton by Messrs Winch.

Thursday 10 February 1916:- Mrs Homewood wrote from Bubhurst to her daughter Maude ‘... Oh! I cannot bear to think about it, and they are making it compulsory after March 2nd so they will have every young man that are available...  we are so short of labour ... we are wanting a waggoner now, have an empty cottage, thought of advertising next week, we shall have to have an old man, there is no young men about.’

Monday 28 August:- Charlie Homewood writing to his sister Maud said that ‘The country is very pretty around Hawkhurst – the Hops look very well indeed and they will be picking them in a few days I should think.  Of course Father is very busy indeed now.  All but one field of wheat is cut and there are tares and clover to get up.  I helped pitch off a load of clover Saturday afternoon.  Len and Willie work very well – a jolly sight better than I did at Willie’s age.  Willie is growing fast – is already taller than I am ...’

Friday 29 September:- Charley Homewood writing to his sister Maud – ‘Everyone is well – very busy apple picking – all the plums are already picked.  The fruit is fetching a very good price.’

Friday 2 February 1917:- George Wheadon of Little Bubhurst advertised for sale a stack of about 12 tons of meadow hay.

Monday 2 April:- Messrs Winch and Sons entered for sale - 800 Fat and Store Sheep: 44 Fat Bullocks: 14 Calves; 11 Store Bullocks; 270 Pigs; Chickens.  Also 4 tons of Meadow Hay at the Windmill, Frittenden, for Mr Fred Durey.

Monday 28 May:- Messrs Winch & Sons have included in a sale 1,000 tomato plants (Carter’s Sunrise) for Messrs J Capeling and Son of Manor Farm.

In June Messrs Winch & Sons entered for their annual sale of soft fruit, 1 acre of Black Currants, Little Buckhurst for Mr Algernon Stent, farmer.

29 July:- Edward Homewood wrote to his daughter Maud – ‘Well, I am glad to say I keep well in health, do a lot of work helping on the farm, but have got the backache, been mowing and it made me stiff, and has been for 12 days.  We cut 17 acres of wild white clover for seed in 3 days finished.  On Saturday we raked up close in rows not to lose the clover heads, shall carry next week; then we have got 28 more acres to cut that was laid in later, so will not come to cut for some time ... I have 45 big bullocks on the [Romney] marshes this year.  We have 163 sheep here, have got them dipped or we have had the fly in some of them, I have to look after them.  Also 35 bullocks and 2 cows and heifers in calf.  We have finished up the haying.  Len [Edward’s son] and your Uncle Walter [Julia’s brother] are thatching the hay stacks as we cannot get a thatcher to do them, they are getting on very well...  William [another son] goes with the horses and has done all the mowing with the machine.’

Tuesday 4 December:- Charley Homewood, in a letter to his sister Maud, wrote – “We are having fine weather – a nice hard frost last night.  Father has got the thrasher and is now busy thrashing the clover seed.  It ought to turn out well.”

Monday 25 February 1918:- Julia Homewood wrote – ‘Glad to say our Clover seed has paid very well this year, it is better than hop growing because there is not near the expense to grow it, it just has to be harvested extra dry, and then after it is thrashed the Hay is given to the Bullocks, and they like it.  We sold our last fat bullocks last Monday, we have a nice lot of Bullocks in the yards now, that will fatten in our marshes here next summer, we also expect to grow a lot more corn than we did last year.’

At the beginning of April, Charley Homewood, in a letter, wrote ‘Father and the boys were busy getting potatoes in.  The crops look very well.’

Wednesday 24:- Mary Hallward:- ‘A women’s land army parade, & speeches in St Giles.  Princess Mary in Trinity Gardens giving badges.’

Friday 3 May:- In a letter Julia Homewood wrote “Your father had two forms sent him to fill in of all particulars of the Farm, and how many he has working for him; before they can send him an appeal form, for they have orders not to send out any for a grade one man, so whether we will get one for Will we do not know...  Will has just been to Egerton on one of the Army horses...  This last week we have been extra busy, had a three weeks wash, had Mr Bates 2 days and distempered the Dairy and top of the back-stair, thankful to say we have got all the places straight, and churned and baked, was taking bread out of the oven at one o’clock this morning, we had bought 2 gallons of bread, and you are sure we are all glad to have home-baked again...  Tomorrow is Tenterden Fair, your Father and Len are going,”

Tuesday 7:- Charley to his sister Maud wrote – “I went home yesterday, just for a few hours.  Father had just returned from a sale at Tenterden and Leonard soon arrived with some bullocks he had bought.”

Friday 17th:- Charley to Maude:- ‘I managed to get home last weekend...  We won’t get much fruit but the ground crops are looking good.  I had a fine time with the horses’

Wednesday 19 June: - Julia Homewood wrote:- “Our Trustees [of the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, Aylesford] came (only four) and they were very pleased with everything they saw on the Farm.  Maud (a niece) and Annie have been out weeding with Minnie ever so many times, so has made me extra busy indoors, but today Minnie is here ironing and Maud doing bedrooms...  Last Sunday … we had a walk around the Farm...  I was surprised to see the lovely lot of Wild White Clover your Father has.  I can see what a lot of work there is wants doing, goodness knows how the haying will get done, and we have a splendid lot of Bullocks too.  Your Father advertised for two men...”

Monday 1 July:- Julia wrote to Charley – ‘... your Father is getting on nicely with the haying, has one stack up and commenced another, and also managed to get 1 sieve of Blackcurrants gathered today.’

Sunday 25 August:- Annie Homewood wrote to her brother Edward – “We have got a horrible lot of work this summer with boarders that work on the farm, we have 3 dinner to dish up for 17 people, just a few isn’t it, I do the waiting in the other rooms...  Father has had an awful lot of work out-of-doors too, he has a lovely lot of clover this year.  Father bought a tractor and cultivator the other day, Len drives it, he learnt in two days...  We haven’t many apples this year but they are an awful price, 12/6 a half sieve...  I cut nine cucumbers for tea, they are not very big though, about 9ins.  A heifer and a calf yesterday so we shall be having more milk now.  When we have plenty of milk Father makes cheese, he has made quite a lot.”

Monday 23 September:- Julia Homewood wrote to Maud – “we expect a lovely lot of clover seed, and we hear it is making 20/- a lb, isn’t that a price, we sold ours at 12/- a lb last year, your father has bought a tractor and cultivator, Len drives it and gets on very well (cost £429).  Len is getting the corn ground ready for Wheat...  We are all well excepting your Father and I are feeling the extra work we have done this summer.  I had 18 to cook for over a month.”

Other pages in this section:
Background - Inglis - Gillham - Civilians - Farming - Tribunals