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Great Hill Husborne Crawley

Great Hill shown in green
Great Hill shown in green

In 1970 Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service staff carried out research on a number of fields belonging to Woburn Experimental Farm in Husborne Crawley. This seems to have been prompted by an enquiry from The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Plant Pathology Laboratory about Workhouse Field.

Research on Great Hill [CRT130HusborneCrawley2] revealed that in 1760 [R1/42] the ground was occupied by five strips of Mill bank Furlong, five strips of Lynches, parts of twenty five strips of Dry Mead Furlong, twelve strips of Furlong backside, Dry Mead Hill and parts of eight strips of Cains Pit Field. When Husborne Crawley was inclosed in 1799 [MA75] the land formed part of the seventh allotment to the Duke of Bedford and by 1820 [R1/43] it had become a fully inclosed field. By 1850 the field had been divided into two fields and between 1884 and 1901 part of it was planted as a little coppice.

Cropping books forming part of the estate archive of the Duke of Bedford [R4/209, 215, 223 and 229] show that in 1866 the field comprised 10 acres, 2 roods, 20 poles. Cropping was as follows:

  • 1866: fallow;
  • 1867: barley;
  • 1868: clover;
  • 1869: wheat;
  • 1870: fallow;
  • 1871: barley;
  • 1872: clover;
  • 1873: wheat;
  • 1874: fallow;
  • 1875: barley;
  • 1876: clover;
  • 1877: wheat;
  • 1878: fallow;
  • 1879: barley;
  • 1880: clover;
  • 1881: wheat;
  • 1882: fallow;
  • 1883: barley;
  • 1884: peas;
  • 1885: wheat;
  • 1886: roots;
  • 1887: wheat;
  • 1888: barley and peas and oats in the ratio 10:3;
  • 1889: clover and roots in the ratio 6:4½;
  • 1890: wheat;
  • 1891: roots;
  • 1892: oats and barley in the ratio 6:4;
  • 1893: clover;
  • 1894: wheat;
  • 1895: roots;
  • 1896: oats and barley in the ratio 8:2;
  • 1897: barley and wheat in the ratio 7:3;
  • 1898: roots;
  • 1899: barley;
  • 1900: potatoes, barley and tares in the ratio: 3:3:4;
  • 1901: wheat and roots in the ratio 7:3;
  • 1902: roots, oats and clover in the ratio 4:5:1;
  • 1903: barley and wheat in the ratio 3:7;
  • 1904: oats and clover in the ratio 3:7;
  • 1905: experimental use and wheat in the ratio 1:10;
  • 1906: experimental use, roots and tares in the ratio ½:4:6;
  • 1907: oats;
  • 1908: potatoes and kohlrabi in the ratio 4:6;
  • 1909: barley, oats and potatoes in the ratio 4:5:2.