13th C. Farm

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DanceswithCows
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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby DanceswithCows » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:11 pm

Alan E wrote:I think you would have to be reading it rather out of context to make that interpretation. I have underlined rather more than you bolded, to bring in the full context of what the Brother wrote. To paraphrase:
The distinct modern breeds did not exist, selective breeding was unknown. Different local types existed and the specific types used as oxen do not exist today (as either distinct types, breeds or species) because we do not generally need or use draught cattle.. Most of the cattle not used as draught beasts (that is, not oxen) "were small, hardy, fairly good milkers, having smaller horns than modern types".
Brother Ranulf, I would question "fairly good milkers" - this would be relative to oxen rather than to modern breeds selectively bred for milking presumably?


I did not read it as you've said here and am trying to gain clarification, hence my question. For me it's poorly phrased. 'Oxen' are cattle of any breed used for draught, that is what makes them a separate thing from other cattle, not type or breed. IMO it is wrong to claim that, in this country, there were cattle bred specifically for draught for the majority of history and I take issue with a lot of what Ranulph's claimed in my attempts to gain clarification on the original point.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby guthrie » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:17 pm

Well please give us this evidence that they would be persuaded by. If you are away from home or something we can wait until you have access to your source material again. I often forget exactly where some nugget of information came from and take a few days to catch up with a discussion.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby DanceswithCows » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:38 pm

sorry, who would be persuaded by what?



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:45 pm

You are confusing the modern use of the term "oxen" with the use of that term 800 or 900 years ago. I would urge you most strongly to look yet again at the Winchester pipe roll for the accounting year 1208 to 1209:

91 oxen . . .and completely separately

24 cows
9 heifers and bulls
11 yearling cattle
12 calves

If you then add in all the other accounts from the period 1100 to 1300 the same distinction is made every time, with oxen being used to mean only draught animals, not those animals for meat or milk. The Bishop of Winchester would be served milk, veal and beef not from his plough teams but from among the 56 animals listed separately which would provide more than enough for his dairy and his table; those 91 oxen represent something more than 11 plough teams (iuga in the Latin of the time) which were used on the bishop's extensive estates for both carting and ploughing - and the 8 animals in each iugum included males, females and young which would ensure continuity of the inherited instinct for such work. I am uncertain whether oxen from these teams would be rotated to provide a better gene pool, but it makes sense to do that. The very fact that a iugum included males, females and young animals can only imply that they were being bred within their own group.

From the sources I cited earlier it is certain that an ox-herd was a different man to a cow-herd, with distinct customary entitlements owing to his greater status; plough teams could not normally be seized by a feudal overlord in penalty for unpaid rents (ditress or distrain) whereas ordinary cattle (calves, heifers, bulls, yearlings and cows) could be forfeit in that way, simply because they had less value. A complete iugum of oxen was given the immense value of 240 stirling silver pennies at the end of the 12th century, not because of their value as meat on the plate but for their worth alive. There was absolutely no other means of carting stone for building work, distributing bulk salt, hauling merchandise around the country or ploughing a set number of acres in a day.


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:49 pm

Biro,

I compiled a glossary of some of the terms used in the 1279 work commitments. If I have missed anything, let me know:

Benseed: Grain retained from a tenant’s current year’s crop and paid to the feudal lord for planting on his demesne land.
Cotter: An unfree peasant holding a cottage, a croft and no other land of his own.
Croft: An area of land attached to the rear or side of a house or cottage, usually very small and representing a below-the-breadline existence if the tenant relied only on this. The land immediately surrounding the house walls was called a Toft. The tenant could decide for himself how to use the croft; he might plough it and grow grain or vegetables, or keep a few animals or poultry and/or have orchard trees on part of it.
Demesne: Lands held directly by the feudal overlord but worked by the local workforce as part of their feudal obligation. Foods produced here went to the lord’s household.
Head-penny: a kind of poll tax.
Heriot: A fine paid to the overlord in cash or livestock when a tenant peasant died (thereby reducing his workforce).
Hide: A variable amount of land, nominally supposed to support a household throughout the year (at Alwalton 5 virgates or 125 acres). Most people survived on far less land than this.
Merchet: A fine paid to the feudal overlord when a tenant married off a daughter (thereby depriving him of a member of his workforce).
Messuage: A house with its associated outbuildings, yard, well, cesspit and so on. It could include a craftsman’s workshop or a merchant’s place of business.
Rood: Usually about a quarter of an acre, often the size of a large house yard.
Villein: An unfree peasant holding a house, a croft and a reasonable amount of land.
Virgate: A variable amount of land calculated as fraction of a Hide (at Alwalton 1/5 or 25 acres)


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Biro » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:55 pm

That helps a lot, thank you.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby DanceswithCows » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:57 pm

OK, I have looked at that and I'm not seeing what you are seeing:

- You still have not explained why in your opinion there are no terms within this special race of draught cattle for the breeding & young stock. We have terms for horses - mare, filly, colt, stallion, etc. and we have terms for cows, bulls, calves etc. but for oxen, they are all just oxen, whether male female or baby, apparently. Why would this be? The oxherd has a high status for looking after these animals, yet NO terminology has evolved to describe them in any more detail? Hmm.

- As I've said, there is no evidence there that "oxen" relates to anything other than 'non breeding or youngstock'. If we accept your classifications, where ARE the beef stock that the bishop ate? The breeding stock and babies are accounted for, there is nothing to say 'meat' in those terms, nothing more or less than in the classification 'oxen' either? The fact that females and young may be present in the ox group is no surprise - not all females can breed, and you have to start training somewhere...it was common to have a team of 8 separated by a year in age and the oldest ones were bumped off to bring in the youngest ones so you always had a supply of prime well grown beef and well trained animals in the team to lessen the challenge of bringing in green animals when work *had* to be done.

- My point about it eroding the economy of keeping oxen at all by keeping them purely for draught remains unanswered, which surprises me - It's totally ox-knowledge 101 that what makes oxen so prevalent is the economy of keeping them, and that includes eating them! Specialist dairy and beef animals didn't exist for the selfsame reason, why would the triple purpose of draught be any different? As I said, keep an animal purely for draught and you are firmly in horse territory, but with less speed = pointless.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby 40/- freeholder » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:21 am

Returning to houses, in Boldon Book, late C12th Bishop of Durham's tenancy agreements, "the villeins each year in their works ought to build, if necessary, one house 40 feet long and 15 feet wide".
Has anyone yet mentioned Walter of Henley for C13 estate management? Dorothea Oschinsky's edition is definitive, not just for translation but background discussion.
Laws of Hywel Dda recommended for cattle cash values relative to age and sex.
Having discussed bovine cattle management at inordinate length and in tedious detail in the thesis, my will to live does not extend to a summary here. Such time if/when I pass, I will be pleased to provide relevant chunks to interested parties.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:00 am

Houses were just as regionally varied as types of sheep - and their construction and size changed over time. It is interesting to compare the houses a Wharram Percy, which all included cattle byres partitioned at one end of the house, with the houses at Goltho and Barton Blount, which did not. Late 11th/early 12th century houses at Goltho were about 25 feet by 11 feet; rebuilt houses on the same tofts over 100 years later were about 32 feet by 18 and included a through-passage in the centre, similar to Wealden hall houses, dividing the space into two very separate areas.


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:54 am

For the move from plough oxen to plough horses, F G Payne's article in the Agricultural History Review is a useful overview. He gives the years 1730 to 1830 as the period of greatest change:

It was not until the eighteenth century that the next big change in plough design occurred. . . . It was the less radical change from teams of four, six or eight slow oxen and clumsy, heavy ploughs to the lively two-horse team and lighter plough. But once again, and in spite of the immeasurably greater technical efficiency that eighteen or nineteen hundred years had brought, it took a long time - roughly from 1730 to 1830 - for the change to become general. Even then, there were some fertile districts in Kent, Sussex, Gloucestershire, Monmouth and Glamorgan that clung to ox teams and ancient types of plough until late in the nineteenth or early in the twentieth century


He goes on to emphasise that slow-moving oxen and heavy ploughs were widely regarded as a positive feature, since they resulted in controlled, straight, even, consistently-deep furrows with time for the ploughman to correct any problems.

The article is published here: http://www.bahs.org.uk/AGHR/ARTICLES/05n2a2.pdf

Perhaps the very earliest reference to plough horses in England comes in the Macclesfield Psalter of the 14th century (about 1330) and even at that time such animals are exceptionally rare for the reasons cited in Payne's article.


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby 40/- freeholder » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:45 pm

J. Langdon Horses, Oxen and Technological Innovation is very good too.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Fox » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:10 pm

If I'm honest, I'm not likely to find the time to read those (so much to read, so little time), so can I be cheeky and tap the knowledge here...

Ian Mortimer suggests, in passing, that it's adoption of the horse collar that allows horses to replace oxen.

Since the horse collar arrived in England by the middle of the Medieval era, why does it take half a century to become more widely adopted?



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:43 pm

Fox,

The consensus is that a: the horses available were not sturdy enough to deal with the heavy ploughs and b: nobody wanted to change from slow, steady oxen because the pace allowed for better results.

With due respect to Ian Mortimer, I do not believe that horse collars had any connection with the change, since they existed in England long before it took place. Payne's article suggests that the yoke was the traditional plough team system in England and any attempts to yoke horses would have tragic consequences, since they are made differently in the neck department - if you consider the images of horses (with collars) attached to carts or harrows they are always solo, not in teams. So the thinking is that if you had a single animal moving a light weight, it would be a horse wearing a collar, but a team attached to a centre beam would need one or more yokes, ruling out horses.

Only when ploughs became slightly more lightweight was there a move to horse traction for ploughing and other HGV work; as I mentioned somewhere amongst all the above, horses were certainly used for light carting and for harrowing from at least the early 12th century, fitted with horse collars as here:

cart1130 - Copy.jpg


and in about 1180 in Normandy here:

fecampcart.jpg


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:01 pm

DanceswithCows wrote:OK, I have looked at that and I'm not seeing what you are seeing:

- You still have not explained why in your opinion there are no terms within this special race of draught cattle for the breeding & young stock. We have terms for horses - mare, filly, colt, stallion, etc. and we have terms for cows, bulls, calves etc. but for oxen, they are all just oxen, whether male female or baby, apparently. Why would this be? The oxherd has a high status for looking after these animals, yet NO terminology has evolved to describe them in any more detail? Hmm.

Why would oxen have their own names? As Brother Ranulf said earlier, they are just a type of cattle, not a separate species. It's the same way that we don't have different names for female rouncies and sumpters, because with all their differences, they're both horses.

DanceswithCows wrote:- As I've said, there is no evidence there that "oxen" relates to anything other than 'non breeding or youngstock'. If we accept your classifications, where ARE the beef stock that the bishop ate? The breeding stock and babies are accounted for, there is nothing to say 'meat' in those terms, nothing more or less than in the classification 'oxen' either? The fact that females and young may be present in the ox group is no surprise - not all females can breed, and you have to start training somewhere...it was common to have a team of 8 separated by a year in age and the oldest ones were bumped off to bring in the youngest ones so you always had a supply of prime well grown beef and well trained animals in the team to lessen the challenge of bringing in green animals when work *had* to be done.

Good point about the meat stock. How are the meet stock for sheep indicated?

You said that there is no evidence were used for breeding. Is there any evidence that they weren't?

DanceswithCows wrote:- My point about it eroding the economy of keeping oxen at all by keeping them purely for draught remains unanswered, which surprises me - It's totally ox-knowledge 101 that what makes oxen so prevalent is the economy of keeping them, and that includes eating them! Specialist dairy and beef animals didn't exist for the selfsame reason, why would the triple purpose of draught be any different? As I said, keep an animal purely for draught and you are firmly in horse territory, but with less speed = pointless.

According to Wikipedia (sorry), oxen have more stamina and are less prone to injury. As Brother R has stated, they are also stronger. So, no, not pointless.

I'm afraid that the way you're presenting your arguments isn't helping your case here. You are taking a very aggressive stance against some-one who has earned respect here and it's making me less and less inclined to even read your posts. If you want to win us over, adjust your tone before you offend someone.


Brother Ranulf, thank you for the glossary. Do you mind if I distributed this to our group (crediting you)?
Also, am I correct in saying that:
The house is in the toft.
The toft is beside (but not in) the croft (which is similar to a modern garden)
The messuage includes croft, toft and any other associated buildings?

Or have I read that wrongly?

Many thanks

Colin


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:21 pm

Colin,

Exactly right - at Wharram Percy the tofts and crofts are still clearly defined by ditches and banks visible in aerial photographs. It was normal practice to build a new house on top of the site of the old one, usually larger as time went on; the sizes of croft and toft obviously remained the same. Where foundations were simply oak beams set into the ground or posts set into post-holes a house might need to be rebuilt every generation, say 20 years.

Wharram Percy plan:

WPPlan1.jpg


Feel free to use the glossary any way you like - it only represents a small part of the many terms used in charters and documents at the time.


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Fox » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:48 pm

I'm sorry, Brother, I'm having difficulty untangling the parts of that answer.

Brother Ranulf wrote:Payne's article suggests that the yoke was the traditional plough team system in England and any attempts to yoke horses would have tragic consequences, since they are made differently in the neck department

...which I understand; hence the need for a horse collar.

Brother Ranulf wrote:...if you consider the images of horses (with collars) attached to carts or harrows they are always solo, not in teams. So the thinking is that if you had a single animal moving a light weight, it would be a horse wearing a collar, but a team attached to a centre beam would need one or more yokes, ruling out horses.

But early horse ploughing is done with teams of two or three, so it's obviously possible to use multiple horses using collars.

And a fewer number of horses replaced larger teams of oxen when that change occurred, which implied horses were noticeably stronger than oxen.

So I can reach two possible conclusions from what you've written, I'm not sure if either/neither/both are right.

First, that horses required some level of selective breeding to become suitable replacements for oxen; so those horses were simply not available to the medieval/tudor farmer.
And/or second, that some adaptation was required to the collar to pull in teams, and this is innovation is not made until later (in which case, perhaps this is what Mortimer obliquely refers to).



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:31 pm

Fox,

I think the crux of the matter is that ploughs were eventually made lighter so that horses were able to cope with them - this was the driving force behind introducing plough teams of horses and making changes to the harness and collars to allow for multiple animals without yokes. So the horses were not stronger, simply drawing less load.


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby DanceswithCows » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:49 am

Fox, I don't believe collars had a lot to do with the change from oxen to horses. I've got reams of material on the subject but I put it into a user-friendly format in my book - Man's Forgotten Friend: A History of the Ox. It's on Amazon, only a tenner! :D



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby DanceswithCows » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:00 am

Colin Middleton wrote:a) Why would oxen have their own names? As Brother Ranulf said earlier, they are just a type of cattle, not a separate species. It's the same way that we don't have different names for female rouncies and sumpters, because with all their differences, they're both horses.

b) You said that there is no evidence were used for breeding. Is there any evidence that they weren't?

c) According to Wikipedia (sorry), oxen have more stamina and are less prone to injury. As Brother R has stated, they are also stronger. So, no, not pointless.

d) I'm afraid that the way you're presenting your arguments isn't helping your case here. You are taking a very aggressive stance against some-one who has earned respect here and it's making me less and less inclined to even read your posts. If you want to win us over, adjust your tone before you offend someone.



Have shortened things because I can't stick quotes within quotes within quotes, derails a discussion rather quickly, and I just had eye surgery so it's physically difficult for me to keep track.

a) IF ranulph is indeed saying cattle are not a separate species to oxen, then I have no beef with him. Clarity is not forthcoming in this area though. The lack of terms to my eyes is evidence that oxen are NOT some special breed, type or race of cattle, bred specifically for draught otherwise they would have a bunch of terms to describe individuals in much more detail than just 'ox'. Plain old eatin' cattle had the terms, and lovely amazing horses had terms for them all....but not oxen, even though they were more valuable than the other cattle, which leads me to believe that ox in itself is a label WITHIN cattle. Yes, oxen were kept a trained differently, no problem there, but I refute the claim this means they were bred purely amongst themselves. (ETA: With a few notable exceptions)

b) No, there's no evidence either way, hence my stance that this is not proof oxen were bred amongst themselves. I am asking for something positive to prove that assertion, this list was provided, but it does not give a good answer, for me.

c) With all due respect, that's wikipedia. :roll: given what's about to come in point d.....lol

d) Sorry dudes, I'm not really interested in winning people over or being popular on forums, I'm interested in knowledge and evidence and what I was interested in here particularly was Ranulph's answer to the question 'do you believe oxen and cattle are a separate species/breed/whatever?'. As this is my specialist subject it worries me that this is what's possibly being put across in a very authoritative manner, to go down as fact in future. I'm not getting a straight answer though, just a lot of blustering about horses :^) Once I get to the bottom of whether this is indeed what he's saying, then I can crack out the real evidence, until then there's not really a lot of point as I don't know what I'm providing evidence for! And it was hardly aggressive, I asked a question!!!!!



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:37 pm

One of the first things that Brother Ranulf says about cows is
many people today that there were "breeds" in the modern sense - there were definitely not.
.
That looks pretty specific and unambiguous to me.

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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Vermin » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:48 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:Take a look at the Winchester Pipe Roll mentioned above and you will see that cattle and oxen are treated as two entirely different beasts. This was normal practice but it was not new, since the Romans took exactly the same view. Latin vacca is a cow, taurus is a bull and bos is an ox (either sex).

By the Middle Ages the two things, although members of the same species, were treated as if they were entirely different animals -



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby DanceswithCows » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:06 am

Yes if you pick out individual statements from what Ranulph says it can go either way, hence my seeking clarity. Didn't think it would be so hard :crazy:



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby 40/- freeholder » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:40 am

What became clear from my study was that, pre-C18th commoditisation, people worked with, rather than against, the biology of livestock. Frank Fraser Darling's study of red deer, Valerius Geist's work on wild sheep and Cis van Vuure's work on the aurochs demonstrate that all these ungulates separate into two herds, one of of females with young and followers and one of adolescent and adult males, outside the rut. Stephen Hall has recently shown that the feral Chillingham herd are reverting to this pattern with the two sections of the herd using different areas of the park.
So, medieval agriculture separated the young males, or stots, into a separate unit. In Co. Durham, the "stotfield" placenames are demonstrably remote from both the settlement and the vaccary pastures. The males appear to have been sorted at c. 3 years into animals castrated for working oxen, breeding bulls and those not up to standard beefed. Management of male cattle was in the hands of men.
Female cattle were managed by women and locally, during the April-Sept milking & cheesemaking season, both women and cattle moved bodily to the upland pastures for the summer, out of contact with male cattle (though the men visited!). There is no evidence that I, or Angus Winchester, could find for the bull going with the cows to the summer pastures.
So, medieval management mirrored the natural separation into sex/age herd groups and annual movements seen in unmanaged wild ungulates. This means the mental health of the cattle was understood, unlike modern huge dairy cow herds where the poor cows must be unbelievably stressed out.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:38 pm

DanceswithCows wrote: Didn't think it would be so hard :crazy:


It's not. You're the only one who appears to be struggling with it.

Colin


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:38 pm

DanceswithCows wrote: Didn't think it would be so hard :crazy:


It's not. You're the only one who appears to be struggling with it.

Colin


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby 40/- freeholder » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:45 pm

Oxbow Books are (re)publishing The Medieval Peasant House in Midland England, which should answer some of the points raised by the original poster.



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby DanceswithCows » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:44 am

Colin Middleton wrote:
DanceswithCows wrote: Didn't think it would be so hard :crazy:


It's not. You're the only one who appears to be struggling with it.

Colin


Yes, I am, is that a crime of some kind round here?



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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Dave B » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:58 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:Fox,

I think the crux of the matter is that ploughs were eventually made lighter so that horses were able to cope with them - this was the driving force behind introducing plough teams of horses and making changes to the harness and collars to allow for multiple animals without yokes. So the horses were not stronger, simply drawing less load.


Surely it would inevitably take time - If it's evident that you can't pull very heavy loads with a horse before the introduction collar, no-one is breeding (or importing) selectively for the right horsey characteristics. then you get the collar, people start using horses for heavier carts, and breeding for draft characteristics, but that might take a long time until both the collars and hitching arrangements get better, and the horses get big enough, before you can plough with them.

So there could still be quite a number of reasons, with the collar being one of them.


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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:41 pm

Dave,

I was trying to paraphrase F G Payne's article (mentioned way back in this thread) for Fox and simplifying it in the process - yes things were much more complex and far from generalised. Regional types of plough, the type of land being ploughed and local traditions all have a part to play, as does the development of heavier horses. History, like life, is never simple.


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Re: 13th C. Farm

Postby 40/- freeholder » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:36 am

For anyone interested in more detail of cattle management, the thesis is now live at
http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/10561/




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