Haymaking

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Haymaking

Haymaking in a field next to Trowbridge Road

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Cutting hay when it was largely done by hand was a communal activity, with family, friends and neighbours taking part. In larger fields it was possible to use machinery, drawn by horse or tractor, to cut the grass, turn it to dry it out and even to lift it on to wagons. Small plots, like this field just off the Trowbridge Road, might involve using a scythe, rakes and pitchforks. At the end of the effort there was usually a well-deserved jug of cider or beer.

In the photograph are members of the Uncles family at the end of the 19th century, who as agricultural engineers, would have had access to machines, but seem not to have used them. The field is now part of the grounds of the Fitzmaurice Junior School.

In Bradford on Avon Museum there is a scythe that was used to cut grass on Winsley Hill, as well as the smaller one-hand sickles. Both tools would also have been used in harvesting wheat or barley later in the year.

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