Tuesday 9 January 2024

The All Cannings Plough

The Museum of English Rural Life, Reading has a plough from All Cannings in its collection. It was used on what was my farm many years ago. It has a wooden mouldboard, probably made of elm. By coincidence a photo of the plough is part of the Salisbury Museum collection.

Wooden mouldboards were favoured by the ploughmen,  Albert and his son George Tilley,  when the clay was wet and heavy, they claimed it didn't stick as much.

A story I was told was that when a new mouldboard was sent up from the Hiscocks in the village Albert was affronted that the the "boy" was sent up to fit it. He claimed it didn't draw true so old man Hiscock was summoned to put it right. As he left the workshop he picked up a handful of shavings. After the visit Albert boasted how he knew it needed fettling, so young Hiscock asked his dad what he did. "Just scattered the shavings around".

Champion ploughman Nelson Tamblin demonstrates his skills at the World Ploughing Championships in Shillingford, Oxfordshire, in 1956, using a plough drawn from The MERL collection (MERL 60/1475).

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