Skip to main content

Portrait of Aldington at the end of the 19th Century – Grain And Chaff From An English Manor

In 1873, Arthur Herbert Savory, a “gentleman farmer”, educated at Harrow and Oxford, became tenant of Aldington Manor and farmed there for the next 28 years.  He enjoyed the status of being “Squire” at Aldington, but much admired the independence of the growers in Badsey.  On returning to his native Hampshire, he wrote a book, published a year or so before his death in 1921, entitled “Grain and Chaff from an English Manor”.  It gives a vivid account of farm and village life at Aldington during the period 1873 to 1902.  Generally speaking, Savory does not give the actual name of the many characters he describes but by looking carefully at census returns and parish registers, it has been possible to deduce in most cases who he was describing.

Arthur Savory (1851-1921) was born at Lower Clapton, Middesex, and was just 22 years old when he arrived at Aldington at Michaelmas 1873.  He was either already married to Frances (from Herne Bay, Kent) or married her shortly after his arrival.  Their daughter, Cynthia Mildred, was born in 1874 and baptised at Badsey.  Frances, sadly died in 1883 and two years later he married Georgiana Ford Poulton.  Arthur and Georgiana had two children:  Christopher Arthur Francis (1887-1899) and Dorothy Joyce (1891-1934).  Christopher unfortunately died, aged 13, whilst staying at Tredenny Street, Barbourne, Worcester in 1899.  The Savorys left Aldington shortly after Cynthia’s marriage to Charles Selwyn Martin in January 1902.  Savory died at Burley, Hampshire, in 1921.

A copy of the book is held in the Badsey Society Archive. The book has long been out of print but has been made available online by the Gutenberg Project (see below for a full PDF of the text).

CHAPTER PAGE
Preface 1
I - Aldington Village, The Manor House, The Farm 4
II - The Farm Bailiff 8
III - The Hop Foreman and the Hop Drier 14
IV - The Head Carter, the Carpenter 19
V - An Old-fashioned Shepherd, Old Tricker, a Gardener, my second Head Carter, a Labourer 24
VI - Characteristics of Agricultural Labourers and Villagers 29
VII - Machinery, Village Politics, Asparagus 39
VIII - My Three Vicars, Church Restoration, Churchwarden Experiences, Clerical and other Stories 43
IX - The School Board, Religious Instruction, School Inspections, Dean Farrar, Compulsory Education 51
X - Village Institutions:  Cricket, Football, Flower Show, Band, Postman, Concerts 56
XI - Dealers, Luck Money, Fairs, Sales, Effect of Climate on Cattle and Sheep, Agricultural Shows 59
XII - Farm Specialists 66
XIII - The Dairy, Cattle, Sheep, Lambs, Pigs, Poultry 71
XIV - Orchards, Apples, Cider, Perry 77
XV - Plums, Cherries 83
XVI - Trees:  Elm, Oak, Beech, Will, Scots-Fir 85
XVII - Corn, Wheat, Ridge and Furrow, Barley, Farmers New-style and Old-style 94
XVIII - Hops, Insect Attacks, Hop Fairs 100
XIX - Meteorology, Eton and Harrow at Lord's, "Rus in Urbe" 105
XX - Changing course of Streams, Dewponds, A Wet Harvest, Weather Phenomena, Will-o'-the-Wisp, Various 108
XXI - Birds:  Peacocks, a White Pheasant, Rooks' Arithmetic 115
XXII - Pets:  Susie, Cocky, Trump, Chips, Wendy, Taffy 119
XXIII - Butterflies, Moths, Wasps 122
XXIV - Cycling, Pageants of the Roads, Roadside Creatures, Harmonious Building, Collecting Old Furniture and China 126
XXV - Dialect, Local Phraseology in Shakespeare, Names, Stupid Places 130
XXVI - Is Aldington (former site) the Roman Antona? 134
Index 141