Survey Plans: Series I


The surveys of the first and second series follow slightly different plans. For the initial commission, surveyors were asked to address the following list of questions, which tend to reflect quite focused concerns and a wish for detailed description about crops and farming methods. The list was published by the Board of Agriculture in 1797 as an appendix to Communications to the Board of Agriculture, on Subjects Relative to the Husbandry and Internal Improvement of the Country, Volume 1. (p. xlvii – xlviii.)

“The inquiries principally to be made will relate to the following points:

1. The nature of the soil and climate of the district to be examined?

2. The manner in which the land is possessed whether by great or by small proprietors?

3. The manner in which the land is occupied whether by great or by small farmers?

4. The manner in which the land is employed whether in pasture in husbandry or a mixture of both?

5. If in pasture what grasses are cultivated what species of stock is kept whether the breeds can be improved or whether new breeds ought to be tried?

6. Whether any of the land is watered and whether any considerable extent of ground is capable of that improvement?

7. If the land is employed in husbandry what are the grains principally cultivated?

8. What is the rotation of crops and in particular whether green crops as turnips clover &c are cultivated and how they are found to answer?

9. Whether fallowing is practised or otherwise?

10. What manures are made use of?

11. What are the usual sorts of ploughs carts and other implements of husbandry?

12. Whether oxen or horses are made use of?

13. What is the usual seed time and harvest?

14. Whether the land is inclosed or in open fields?

15. What advantages have been found to result from inclosing land in regard to the increase of rent quantity or quality of produce improvement of stock &c?

16. What is the size and nature of the inclosures?

17. Whether inclosures have increased or decreased population?

18. Whether there are any common fields and whether any division of them is proposed?

19. What is the difference of rent or produce between common fields and inclosed lands?

20. What is the extent of waste lands and the improvement of which they are most capable whether by being planted converted into arable or into pasture land?

21. What is the rate of wages and price of labour and what are the hours at which labour commences and ceases at the different seasons?

22. Whether proper attention is paid to the draining of land particularly the fenny part of it and what sorts of drains are commonly made use of?

23. Whether paring and burning is practised and how is it managed and found to answer?

24. Whether the country is well wooded and whether the woodlands are kept under a proper system?

25. What is the price of provisions and whether the price is likely to be steady to rise or to fall?

26. What is the state of the roads both public and parochial whether they are in good order or capable of improvement?

27. What is the state of farm houses and offices whether in general they were well situated and properly constructed?

28. What is the nature of the leases commonly granted and the covenants usual between landlord and tenant?

29. To what extent have commerce or manufactures been carried on in the district and have they had either good or bad effects on its agriculture?

30. Are there any practices in the district that could be of service in other places?

31. Are there any societies instituted in the district for the improvement of Agriculture?

32. Whether the people seem to have a turn for improvements or how such a spirit could best be excited?

33. What improvements can be suggested either in regard to the live stock or the husbandry of the district?

34. Are there any obstacles to improvements and in what manner can they best be removed?

35. What are the names descriptions and address of those proprietors or farmers who are the most active or the most skilful improvers in the district and who are the most likely to be useful correspondents to the Board of Agriculture?”