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Jacksom's Farmhouse

Grade II listed Jacksom's Farmhouse was originally built in the seventeenth century. It was altered in the eighteenth century when the barn was also added. A sale of the entire stock and household items of Jacksom's Farm in 1824 offers an intriguing insight into life on the farm and the local economy at that time.

Along with many local farms of the period, dairy production was important. The farm had a dairy herd and possessed all the utensils necessary to produce its own butter and the 'narrow loaf cheese' of north Wiltshire that was popular during the period. Indeed, the farm had such a large amount of cheese at the time of the sale that it was divided into several small lots. Pigs were bred, fattened and seemingly slaughtered on the farm for ham and bacon. The herd of Southdown sheep probably supplied wool for the local woollen cloth trade, then in decline. Although the mutton they produced was noted at the time for being 'fine in grain and well-flavoured'.

Jacksom's livestock also included turkeys, geese and 'Corsican fowl', a diminutive type of chicken that produced fine eggs. Possibly unusually, peafowl were also listed in sale items. The sight of peacocks in Langley Burrell, thus, may not have been unusual. There were peacocks in nearby Corsham, which are also de facto of the town's emblem. The barn possesses dove holes which are arranged in 4-tiers in the east gable end. It is likely that at some date pigeons, often cultivated on farms for their meat, may have also been present.

Local dairy production generally went hand in hand with arable on local farms, one reason being it provided bedding and feed. Jacksom's farm appears to have been no different, with horses, three ploughs, 'drags and harrows' and other necessary items amongst the farm stock. The barn at Jacksom's is hipped at one end to allow the entry of carts. In 1824, the farm had no fewer than seven carts and waggons. Also present were two 'fowling pieces'; shotguns for shooting wild birds. At the time birds, such as sparrows, were considered a pest to arable production. Not only did sparrows eat the wheat, they damaged the stalks and were consequently killed in their thousands across England.

The household effects likewise provide hints about farm life. These included a mahogany dining set, a Pembroke folding table, a looking glass and a four-poster bed, items that bring to mind a relatively comfortable existence. Other items included were Steel fenders, fire irons, coal scuttle and chimney ornaments, essential in a home where heating and cooking depended on fire. A two-volume encyclopaedia, over fifty years old and one of the earliest to be produced in English, Cyclopædia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences was one of a number of books, indicating perhaps this was an educated family. A barometer necessary in an era before weather forecasts to allow the farmer to anticipate short-term changes in the weather. An eight-day clock (so-called because it only needed to be wound once a week). Kitchen objects included many necessary for extensive home brewing, such as mash and kiving tubs and seven iron-bound barrels. There were also two hogsheads of cider.

 

Jacksom's Farmhouse,
Jacksom's Lane,
Langley Burrell

 

NGRef: ST 91605 75920
Historic England 1022349 

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