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18 September 2014
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Making the Most of Memory: Farm Lads' Tales

By Stephen Caunce
Buckets of beer

Image of men in field with hoes
Haymaking at Manor Farm, Thixendale, in the 1890s 
Sunday was the one day the lads had more or less to themselves, but instead of getting away from the farm, Mr Masterman also recalled that they found their recreation there too:
There was a lot of farms and each farm had five or six single lads, and we used to go to look at their horses, to see who had the fattest. And in harvest time we used to go and see who had the best stacks... Sometimes the farmer would come out and he would bring a bucket of beer - great big buckets, scoured clean - bring a dozen mugs and a basketful of beef sandwiches - stick 'em in the middle of the yard, and say "here you are lads!"

Being paid once a year, and being tied to a farm for a year at a time, strongly influenced the way they lived, as Mr Walker told me:

You see, what we earned during that year had to go for clothes and boots at the end o' the year, do you see? You couldn't pay for it straight away. You had to you know, go to tailors and bootmakers to get your boots. 'Course they were all measured, do you see, and hand-made, same wi' clothes. And pay for 'em the following year, do you see? That's how we used to carry on.

Published: 2005-01-31

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