[From Feltham's Tour, 1798]



To the same.

" The care of farms we sing-attend the strain
What skill, what toil, shall best procure you gain:
How different culture, different grounds requires,
While wealth rewards, whom industry inspires."


you will not be surprised, that so able and vigilant a committee as the Board of Agriculture have extended their researches even to this remote appendage to the British crown

When all their surveys shall assume a more condensed form, and appear before the public eye in a more finished state, it will exhibit a gratifying and pleasing view of the improving style of agricultural arts, and of the capabilities of our country of still adding, beyond conception, to the luxuries of the rich, and to the comforts of the poor. A plan for such a republication (by the President of the Board) is prefixed to the new edition of Mr. Billingsley s " Survey of the Agriculture of Somersetshire," 8vo.

Mr. B. Quayle, whose brother had a medal voted by the Society of Arts for the invention of a Pentrough* for equalising water falling on water-wheels, was the person who sent to the Board the agricultural state of the Isle of Man. This account I shall now abridge, adding such additional information as occurred to me.

Divisions of land prevail here, termed Quarterlands. It is uncertain how they obtained the name, or why they were first divided into such parcels.

It is not supposed to have been by reason of their original value, as the rent payable to the lord for some quarters of land is nearly double to that of others. Nor could it be by admeasurement, as they vary in dimensions; they are considered to be one hundred acres more or less. In William the First's time we read of hides of land in England, these quarterlands seem to be analogous to them, in point of size and variety of dimension.

Quarterlands are in the Isle of Man considered to be property of the highest nature. They are (although subject to the payment of a small rent to the lord of the island) absolute estates of inheritance, descendible from ancestor to heir: they cannot be disposed by will, nor are they liable to the payment of debts. Lands under the appellation of intacks and cottages, were formerly considered of a nature far inferior, and to all intents and purposes, chattels real, were devisable by will, or in case of intestacy fell to administrators; and were always the objects of creditors, when the goods moveable or personal chattels were deficient. In the act of settlement they are recognised as chattels, how far they are still so remains a matter of doubt; by an act passed in 1777, it is enacted that they shall no longer be considered assets in the hands of executors or administrators, but shall descend to the heir-at-law. Whether by this statute the name chattel and the incidents are totally taken from intacks and cottages, or merely so far as regards their being assets in the hands of executors and administrators, is a nice question; lawyers are not agreed, although some decisions since favour the former opinion. This much is however clear,-that if they are not disposed of by will or other instrument in writing, they descend to the heir-at-law, in the same manner as quarterlands.

Though these quarterlands are not subject, generally speaking, to the payment of debts, or devisable by will; yet this is not the case with such as are newly purchased, for in the island, purchased lands, though quarterlands, are on an exact footing with intacks and cottages. Nor in the laws of the island is the word purchase equivalent to the Latin word perquisitio, as understood by the laws of England; but signifies a thing acquired for a consideration paid or to be paid.

I annex a rate to show the proportion paid by quarterlands, to those lands, &c. which do not come under that title.


Kirk Patrick 41 quarters.
£ s. d.
35 quarters at 2s. 1d. per quarter
3 12 11
Bangor and Sabel 6 q. at 2s. 1d
0 12 6
Intacks, cottages, and milns
1 5 2
Kirk German, 52¾.
39¾ Lords land
13 abbey land, at 2s 1d
5 9 10¾.
Milns, cottages, and intacks
1 11 9
Kirk Michael.
45 quarters at 2s.1d
4 13 9
Milns, cottages, and intacks
0 14 0
34½ quarters at 2s.1d.
3 11 10½
Milns, cottages, and intacks
3 10 1½
18¾ quarters, at 2s.1d.
1 19 0t
Milns, cottages, and intacks
2 5 96
Kirk Andreas.
58 quarters, at 2s.1d
6 0 10
Milns, cottages, and intacks
3 7 5
Kirk Bride.
42 quarters, at 2s. 1d
4 7 6
0 16 4
Kirk Christ Lez-ayre, 43½.
33½ quarters lord's land
10 abbey lands, at 2s. 1d · ·
4 10 7
Milns, cottages, and intacks
7 17 2
Kirk Maughold, 40.
38 lord's land
2 staff land, at .2s.1d
4 3 4
Milns, cottages, and intacks
1 1 4
Milntown Barony, 2 quarters
0 4 2
Kirk Lonan, 57½
52½ lord's land
5 abbey land, at . 2s 1d
5 19 9½
Milns,cottages,and intacks
0 17 10
Kirk Maroun, 34½.
30½ quarters .
4 St. Trinian's, at 2s.1d
3 11 10½
Milns, cottages, and intacks
0 13 .7½
Kirk Santon.
34¼ lord's land, at 2s. 1d.
3 11 10½
Milns and intacks
0 12 0
Malew, 66¾..
26¾ lord's land ·at 2s. 1d
40 abbey ditto .
6 19 0¾.
Milns, cottages, &c.
3 11 6
31½quarters at 2s. 1d
3 5 7½
Milns, cottages, &c.
0 6 7½
Kirk Christ Rushen.
40 lord's land
16 abbey ditto. at 2s1d
4 6 5½
milns, cottages. &c. .
0 12 0
19¾ quarters at 2s id.
2 1 1
0 10 0
Kirk Braddon, 56.
38 lord's land at 2s.1d.
18 abbey ditto . .
6 16 8
Milns, &c.
0 17 10
40 quarters at 2s.1d.
4 3 4
Milns, &c.
0 17 10
Number of Quarter-lands 759¼.

A chain of hills and mountains runs nearly the length of the island, and occupies a considerable part of the centre; they afford pasture for sheep, &c. and also fuel from the peat-mosses.

The two extremities of the island may be termed lowlands, and consist of good arable and pasture. The South end has different soils, the greater part is loam; stiff.clays, which are difficult to till, prevail in some places, and sand in others.

A lime-stone bottom lies under a very considerable tract; but the expense of raising it prevents its general use as a manure.*2

Sea-wrack, or alga marina, is driven in quantities ashore by winter storms, and proves an excellent dressing for barley; it has been tried for potatoes, and answers as to quantity, but it is inferior in quality to what is raised on farm-yard dung.

The north side has forty-eight square miles of improvable land, mostly a sandy loam, on a bottom of clay or marl; it also contains an extensive moss, which has, within these fourteen years, been improved by a large open drain. A tract of 500 acres of flat clay is dedicated to hay.

The climate is rather milder than in the neighbouring parts of Great Britain and Ireland, particularly in winter, the frost and snow being slight and of short continuance; but the summers want that heat which is friendly to vegetation; this causes late harvests, checks the grain as to its size, and impairs the straw. Frost and snow seldom appear before Christmas; but gales of wind and rain are frequent and of long continuance; the easterly winds in spring check the progress of husbandry. Many estates are tithe free, paying an annual modus or prescription, which can never be altered.

Leases, till the year 1777, dropped at the death of the inheritor and lessor; but since that time, leases are granted for a certain period, on the same terms as in England, as to treating the lands agreeable to the rules of good husbandry.

The value of land varies from 10s. to 40s. per acre; and in the uplands, from 5s. to 12s. The right of pasture on the commons belongs to the public. Most farms keep six cows, some twelve, but rarely exceed twenty.

The following is the distribution of a crop on a farm near a town, in 1794: number of acres 270; rent 210l Wheat, 26 acres. Barley and oats, 30 each. Potatoes, 24. Hay, from sown grass, 40. Meadow, 10. Flax, 5. Fallow, 13. Pasture, 92. Plough-horses, 6. Colts, 4. Saddle-horse, pony, and stallion. Milch-cows, 15. Fatting cows and heifers, 10. Bull, 1. Grassing to six cows. Horses, 4. Sheep, 20. House-servant, two men, and three boys, with six labourers, and 25 additional hands in harvest. Families, 7. Souls, 40. This farm was divided among six tenants, who kept 16 horses, and maintained 30 souls.

As the fishery engages upwards of 5,000 men during the most important summer months, the weeding and getting in of the harvest, &c. falls to the women, and the few men who prefer being on shore. The women are expert reapers, and do many other parts of husbandry. Threshing is mostly performed by them on the upland farms; and in digging up of potatoes they are little inferior to men. Mowers cut only three-quarters of an acre a day. Five reapers, and one to bind, cut an acre of middling corn a day.

A common plan here is to have the barn over the cow-houses, but the cattle are never kept so clean; and, if fatting stock, do not thrive so well. It is also inconvenient and expensive to drag in the crops.

The farms are badly accommodated with offices; and the dairy-maid, in milking, is not accommodated with a seat as in England. The feet of the cattle are tied with straw ropes, to prevent their straying; this they call Lanketting: there appears something cruel in this mode, but the hedges are not sufficient to keep them, being only earth thrown up in the usual way, without any fencing or underwood at the top. The cottages are built of earth, and covered with straw, fastened with a netting of straw ropes, which lasts about two years.

The inclosures are from four to ten acres. The fences are only banks of earth not secure by any means; gorse or furze is seldom seen on the top. Dry stone walls are adopted where they can be had cheap; they cost from 12d. to 20d. per yard in length, five feet high, and two thick.

The roads are wide, and kept in good order, by parochial labour, (including three days' labour from every house in the towns, the composition for which amounts to about 7501.) by a proportion of the revenue from public-house licenses, of about 1801., and a tax on dogs of 701. amounting in the whole to about a thousand per annum.

The ploughs used by the small farmers are nearly like those formerly in general use in Scotland and Ireland, but not so large or heavy; on lays or strong lands, they are inferior to no plough, but the draught is greater than those with curved mould-boards. Mr. Small's, of Ford in Scotland, are in esteem; the draught being less, though the plough is heavier. These cost in the whole about 50s. Good harrows are used, but drilling and hoeing machines are few. Carts are in general use with handy rails attached occasionally; but I do not recollect having seen any waggons Corn is dressed by fanners. One threshing machine cost a farmer 50l. These, when brought to perfection, will be one of the most valuable inventions: about twenty-five bushels can be thus threshed in an hour. The oat and barley straw is eaten by the oxen, steers, &c. so that they have but little to form dung with, which is very scarce. Sea-weed sups plies the shore around, on the south side, with manure.

Lime-stone is plenty in quarries, and on the coast of the south; side; it costs 18d. per barrel of six bushels, and 50 barrels are reckoned enough for an acre. Sheep, &c. are folded in many: farms. Clay marl abounds on the north side. They lay 300 to 400 loads, of ten cwt. each, on an acre. This will serve for twelve crops. The cleansing of the washing-tubs used in curing herrings, with the sweepings, is a fine manure. Fairs for cattle and the manufactures of the island are frequent, which renders many of them insignificant; there are six at which much business is done. I was at one of these which was full of people, and stored with cattle; while at another, not l00 persons were present.

Many hundred head of cattle are bought up and sent to England annually; jobbers come from Cumberland, and without waiting for the fairs, get about the farms and pick up whatever cattle suits them: a great deal of business is done this way, and by a settled correspondence. The fairs, therefore, do not give a stranger an adequate idea of the stock of cattle in the island.

Horses are frequently brought from Ireland to this place; they are larger than the native ones. Every year produces a greater attention to the breed and rearing of the live stock Formerly the ponies were remarkable for their beauty, and were much in request in England and Ireland to run in carriages; but now their numbers are much diminished, as larger horses are found more useful The farmers breed for their own use, and the island has some fine stallions. The old country stock of cows are now seldom to be found; they were short-legged and thickbodied, and more remarkable for fatting than for milk; sixteen quarts per day, for three months after calving, being considered as a very good produce; twelve quarts will be near the average return. Barrel churns are used, but plunge churns are most common. Butter varies with the season, from 5d. to 8d per pound of sixteen ounces; and when salted in crocks, at 6d. and 7d: About 1,000 crocks of 30 lbs. each, are annually sent to-Fngland; The cattle soon fatten in choice pasture, or when exported When fatted, their average weight is 80 lbs. a quarter, and in proportion to that weight have 40 lbs. of tallow, and 60 lbs. of hide. Calving cows and heifers fell in May from four to six guineas. Dry cows and heifers for fatting, from 3l. 15s to 51 Oxen from the plough, from five to six guineas, and usually leave with the grazier, from 21. l0s. to 31. l0s. Beef varies with the season, from 2½d. to 4d. per pound.

The native stock of sheep is small and hardy; when fatted, they weigh from five to eight pounds a quarter. They endure the severest weather with little loss: the meat is fine. This is still the mountain breed. In other parts a larger sort, a mixture from Scotland and Ireland, prevails; weighing when fatted from twelve to eighteen pounds per quarter.

The rot is scarcely known; but a disorder prevails which is occasioned by eating a particular weed, which the Manks call Ouw. Its leaf destroys the liver, and in about twelve months causes the animal's death. On opening the sheep, this leaf is found-attached to its liver, and transformed into an animal having apparent life and motion, and retaining its shape as an herb.*3

Two pounds and a half is the average weight of the smack sized fleeces, and the larger rarely exceed 71bs. It is not the finest or longest staple, but the inhabitants make a strong cloth of it. Few wash their sheep previous to shearing; the wool thus cleansed is sold from 6d. to 8d. per pound. Almo every farmer reserves as much wool and fax as employs the female part of his family.

There is a peculiar breed of sheep, called Laughton, of the colour of Spanish snuff; these are not hardy, and are more difficult to fatten. The natives like the cloth, and stocking. made of this wool.

Pigs abound, and of good size. The price for fresh pork 2½d. per pound; hams and bacon, 5d. Poultry is also very plenty: chicken, 6d. per couple; fowls, 12d. Geese are numerous; the price from 1s. to 1s. 6d. weighing from six to eight pounds. Turkeys and ducks are also cheap; quantities are sent to England. Dogs of a mixed sort are very common, almost a nuisance, notwithstanding they are taxed.

A tract of 2,000 acres has received immense and valuable benefit from a drain cut through the lowest places, ten feet wide, and six deep; its length nearly six miles; the soil peat moss, and clay, with abundance of marl.

On good land the most approved rotation of crops is, 1st. Potatoes, or Turnips, well dunged. 2d Barley. 3d. Clover. 4th. Wheat. 5th. Oats, or Pease.

On the marled land of the north side, twelve crops of Pease, and barley alternately, are often taken, and sometimes fifteen, without any other assistance than the dressing of marl, or even throwing in grass seeds. Barley is chiefly sown. Wheat, besides its requiring a difference in the condition of the soil, is subject to smut, and its straw is not fit for fodder; this operates against it. 5,0001. is in consequence annually paid for flour imported – Barley is found best adapted, except oats, to the soil and climate. There are two sorts sown; the four-rowed, which is only fit for malt, and the two-rowed, which is used for bread, and is the general food of the lower classes, with whom oats is also a considerable part of diet. Horse-beans are little cultivated as yet; these are productive, but are difficult to save, as moist weather attends the latter end of harvest.

Pease, on the north side light lands, are cultivated. Rye is little sown at present; before marling was so much used, rye occupied the land now sown with wheat. Potatoes are grown in quantities. Turnips*4 are suited to the climate; success has attended their cultivation; and they begin to be adopted. Turnip-rooted cabbage, and scarcity root, have not been found to answer. Carrots have been grown for cattle, but the expense of weeding has prevented their cultivation. Different kinds of winter cabbage have been raised for feeding of milking stock, and were found very convenient.

The growth and manufacture of flax is very general through the island; almost every farmer and cottager growing a little, both for the use of their families and for exportation, The linen cloth is particularly well manufactured, and finds a ready sale in England, where 5,0001. worth is annually exported; the price from 1s. to 2s. per yard.

Hemp is sown in gardens, or very rich spots of land, but very rarely seen cultivated in fields.

Grass seeds are generally sown with their spring crops. In short, there is no doubt, if a society for the improvement of the land were instituted, and information and advice circulated, by means of small cheap tracts on the subject, but that the happiest effects would now; and from the very great and beneficial changes that are observable within these last twenty years, we may predict that the island will rise to that degree of consequence it deserves, at no very distant period.

Even the most barren parts of the mountains, when planted, may be productive in time; and that elegant poet, Scott, informs us to what they may be adapted:-

" On barren mountains, bleak with chilly air,
Forbidding past'rage, or the ploughman's care;
Laburnum s boughs a beauteous Woom disclose,
Or spiry pines a gloomy grove compose."

The Scotch fir (says Mr. Billingeley) will endure almost any severity of climate, and the beech will resist the destructive; influence of the sea-breeze; next to these in point of hardiness are the larch, sycamore,*5 ash, and birch.

We find also that the Shifty, or mountain-ash, grows in the highest and coldest situations, and is the last tree we meet in going up the Welsh hills, where the lower class of people make a thin beverage with its red berries fermented.

" And whitty glitters up the mountain's side-
The hardy whitty, that o'er Cambrian snows
Beams its red glare, and in bleak winter glows."


Hazels, yews, and hollies also, as they grow in all soils, we may hope, at a future day, to see adorning the barren sides of Mona's mountains. Adieu.


*1 For a description and plates of which, see Repertory of Arts, No. 17, for October, 1795.

*2 The substrata of all soils about to be improved, should be investigated; a manure congenial may probably thus be found. Under clay we frequently find sand, and sand under clay; under flint, chalk; under white lies, or stone-brash, marle; under red-earth, lime-stone; under peat-bogs, sea-mud or clay.

Dung should not be applied for the wheat crop, as it makes the land foul; and though there is a great burthen of straw, there is but little corn.

It is most beneficial to apply dung to potatoes, turnips, &c. and to the artificial grasses, making wheat the last crop in the course.-BILLINGSLEY cf supra

*3 This plant is the marsh penny-wort (hydrocotyle vulgara), or white rot. A plate of it may be found in Parkinson's Theat. Botan. folio, 1640, p, 1214.. It Occurs frequently in marshy grounds, and the inbabitants on this side of the water believe it to be the occasion of the disease in sheep, called the Rot. But Dr. Withering observes, in a note, " that it may be made a question, whether the rot in sheep is so much owing to the vegetables in marshy ground, as to a flat insect called a fluke (fasciola hepatica), which is found in these wet situations, adhering to the stones and plants, and likewise in the livers and biliary ducts of sheep that are affected with the Rot." I am obliged to my friend Mr. Wray, jun. of Salisbury, for the communication of this note, to whom I showed.the plant in question.- C. Bauhine calls it Ranunculus aquatius cotyledanis folio; others, Cotyledon patustre, and Hydrocotyle. Vid. Hill's Brit. Herbal, 419. The Ranunculus arvensis, or corn row-foot, is also said to injure sheep.

*4 An acre of good turnips will (between November and March) Stain one hundred sheep gin weeks; and an acre of cabbages two months. An acre of good turnip rooted cabbages will maintain one hundred sheep through the trying month of March It is supposed that a little hay will be given with the roots. Devote at least one quarter of your turnip land to the Ruta-Baga, or the Swedish turnip, which will bear the utmost severity of weather, and will remain sound when the other turnips are all rotten. sow early in may, and treat it, in other respects, like the common turnip. The root does not attain the size but is weightier, and consequently more nutritious.-BILLINGSLEY

*5 This is more properly the great maple, in scotland it is called the plane-tree. Mr. Evelyn recommends it for cart and plough timber, being light and tough; but ash is certainly better. See ACER, in the new edition of Miller's Gardener's Dictionary, 2 vols folio, 1796, Rivingtons.


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