Parlington Hall :: The Estate :: Farming

Farming in the Time before the First World War on the Parlington Estate

The header picture was given to me by my daughter, it hails from Worcestershire in the Cotswolds, a little village called Wormington. Using it here however, I feel is appropriate, as it is indicative of the methods of farming prior to the First World War. To the right is the driving steam engine which has a very large flywheel powering, by the long belt, the threshing machine in the foreground. The lower picture is of the same kind of set up, but with the steam engine in the foreground.

Threshing Machine and Steam Engine from Barwick

Parlington Drive Cottage

Below is an enlarged version of the steam engine, the rivets of the boiler can be clearly seen. The number of people engaged in the harvesting process is at least six, for this operation. Further the field of wheat or barley would have earlier been cut by a horse drawn binder/reaper and the sheaves stacked into stooks in the field, these became commonplace farming methods in the nineteenth century. The mechanisation was a step change from millenia of back breaking work of cutting the wheat with a scythe or sickle, hand collecting into sheaves for further drying and then using hand threshing methods.

A serious consideration when using steam driven power for the threshing was the siting of the plant, as sparks from boiler fire exiting the tall chimney could easily set alight the wheat being processed through the threshing machine, separating into grain and straw. This in part explains why the steam engine and the threshing machine were individual elements of plant. Also the movement of the equipment was by horse as can be witnessed by the tracer arms projecting from the steam engine front to attach the horse harness.

Parlington Drive Cottage

The two pictures in the body of this page are from the publication Bygone Barwick, a Countryside publication, ISBN 0 86157 216 5 The lower one is of a self propelled steam engine, pictured at Manor Farm, Barwick in Elmet. This very piece of equipment might well have been used on the Parlington Estate.

Self Propelled Steam Threshing Engine

Parlington Drive Cottage

I was prompted to add this short article as we are in harvest season and in the space of a few hours entire fields are harvested by one man in a large combine harvester, serviced by tractors hauling trailers to discharge the load of grain at an indoor grain store. All within a few hours, the harvesters are often equipped with sat-nav to assist in getting the most out of the field!

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