Lé vièr mûsée à La Hougue Bie à 'té rempliaichi par lé mûsée d'la Vie d'la Campangne à Hamptonne et y'a des choses dans l'Mûsée d'Jèrri étout, mais né v'chîn eune explyicâtion du travas fait pouor la fondâtion du vièr mûsée et d'l'exhibition à chu temps-là.
La Section 2001
This does not purport in any way to be a detailed description of Le Musée d'Agriculture (or La Tchèrquéthie) at La Hougue Bie, opened to the public in 1956, but rather an account of something of its beginnings and contents.
Much time has been expended in the formation of this "musée" over a period of several years, and the writer has been prevailed upon to present some record of the fruits of these labours, and constrained to write a "résumé" in English, though he would have preferred French. It appears La Société Jersiaise, as indeed almost all aspects of Island life, becomes more and more anglicised, and the majority of its members is now unable to read or understand anything but English. This is indeed deplorable, as La Société should at least be able to lead the way for many years yet in this respect, having been formed "pour l'étude de l'histoire, de la langue....... '.
Attempting the task of setting up a museum or collection of articles must always be looked upon as something bordering on the impossible since it is usual in the nature of things to commence thinking about such preservation when almost too late. In the present instance one had felt for some years that it was going to be past redemption if much more time was allowed to elapse without practical efforts. Though it is usually difficult to state exactly the beginnings of an idea, yet there always seems to be a certain psychological moment which, when seized, yields results. Indeed, in this respect a number of members of La Société may have thought and spoken of such a possibility without, however, any definite outcome. Be that as it may, the writer believes he is correct in saying that the project came about in this way.
Some dozen years ago, perhaps towards the close of the war, Mr. Ralph Mollet and the writer were strolling along some Sunday afternoon, in the vicinity of the former's home, when the subject of an occupation museum was mentioned. In reply to a suggestion that an agricultural museum would prove equally interesting, Mr. Mollet said :- "Well, we must have one, some day".
From that very moment the idea, mooted during a country walk, implanted itself in the writer's mind and he determined that, soon, help must be enlisted with a view to embarking upon such a project. Several agricultural implements already existed in "Le Preinseu" (Press house, or agricultural room) at the Museum in St. Hélier and, whilst bearing in mind that these could well form a nucleus (a meagre one, really), the writer decided that the first thing to attempt would be the construction of the old hay-cart or harvest-cart (L' Êclon, or Hèrnais à êclon), as being perhaps more symbolical of Jersey husbandry down the ages than any other article. Since it was thought that no such complete vehicle was extant, it appeared that the services of an old wheelwright (un charron) would have to be obtained to assemble any existing stray parts which one might be able to collect towards that end. One was aware that such an old cart had been got together for some of the carnivals which were customary each autumn in the various parishes in the 1920s. Also, that some contraption purporting to be an old hay-cart had been included in the procession of exhibits at the Liberation fête. Nevertheless, enquiries from various people (by now the date may have been about 1948) had little results. It was subsequently found that some parts had come from Mr. J. S. Romeril of Le Coin Varin, but had been stored away again in a loft where the contents now precluded one getting at them again for the time being.
In the meantime an appeal had been launched in "The Evening Post", but that having likewise produced no results the writer set about a reconnaissance throughout the Island, only to be shunted from pillar to post, as it were, in this quest for the now all-important and precious components of the "hèrnais à êclon". So-and-so would say that such and such an adjunct which he formerly possessed had been used as fuel during the Occupation of the Island by the Germans, but that he believed Mr. ......... still had one. On proceeding to the latter there would he much the same tale. Indeed, according to these various informants, there must have been at least a dozen complete carts still in being. This state of affairs went on for a few years but once in a while the writer would be fortunate in obtaining a couple of "bèrchottes", a worm-eaten "tchulon", a couple of "êcouards", half a pair of old shafts, as also perhaps an odd wheel, etc. Eventually an "êclon" itself was located at St. Cyr, St. John, the late Mr. John Priaulx (the owner) saying - in Jèrriais, of course : "You can have it when you like; come along some day and we'll get it out". This precious article was at the back of a large farm loft copiously stacked with paraphernalia of every conceivable kind, much of which had not seen the light of day for probably a couple of generations ; thus, the reader will readily appreciate that extrication was going to be no easy task.
On subsequent visits Mr. Priaulx stated he would get his workers to haul out the "êclon" - "tchique jour dé plyie" (some rainy day). The writer knew too well what that meant. Having been great friends with that fine old Jerseyman for many years (and being also distantly related, as all real Jersey folk are!), the writer knew him well. Delightfully old-world in his way of life, procrastination was certainly an attribute to be reckoned with where "Jean" Priaulx was concerned. Incidentally, Mr. Priaulx taught the writer much, very much, about old Jersey, and this is a golden opportunity of paying tribute to his memory.
In these circumstances the only course left was to concentrate for the time being on the collection of other articles. Quite a few were amassed in the course of time, from gifts and by attending farm sales when opportunity occurred. Store room was soon to be a problem, when the limited space which the writer had available on the farm became filled. It was then necessary to seek the indulgence of many another farmer for storage of such and such an article - "till such time as ...."
All the necessary parts for the "making" of a typical old cart were now to hand. Several wheelwrights, of the too few remaining, were contacted, chief among these being Mr. A. Vautier, of Beaumont, St. Peter, who expressed himself as willing to undertake the job if his health permitted. However, it was felt that, though he might be one of the few left who had intimate knowledge of the genuine old-type cart, he was so getting on in years it might be hazardous to entrust him with the work. Mr. A. A. Dimmick of Les Marettes, St. Ouën, a much younger man in the fifties, was too busy at that particular time but was quite willing to tackle the task later provided guidance was forthcoming. It may be mentioned here that an old uncle of the writer, Mr. Philip Edouard Le Feuvre, who in his early days had been a ship's carpenter and later, as a young farmer had made use of the "hèrnais à êclon", had volunteered advice previous to 1950 on the possible construction of a vehicle. A few more years having elapsed, this venerable gentleman .was now nearing ninety years of age . Attention was then focussed on Mr. J. C. Vautier of St. Peter, a nephew of the old gentleman previously mentioned, who finally undertook to build the museum piece, an old cart "body" having been secured, this being some time in the year 1953.
Just previously Mr. F. J. Ahier of La Chasserie had joined our committee of the agricultural section and was soon destined to offer generously, as a bolt from the blue, his complete "hèrnais à êclon" which was in a perfect state of preservation and had still been in use as a box-cart comparatively recently. This was great news indeed. The outcome of the writer' s endeavours was that the collection of parts for assembling an identical vehicle was possibly now only of use as "spares" to be one day exhibited apart. At least the next headache was spared since there was no need for further transporting of the parts, to the wheelwright, etc., etc. All the extra work was cancelled overnight, so to speak. Mr. Ahier merely stated that he had never seen the writer's original appeal in the Press and that apparently the subject had not been broached again in his presence, although one often used to speak of "Lé vièr Jèrri" and "Lé temps passé".
By now things were well under way. The writer was asked to prepare a report as to the suitability of erecting a building in the precincts of La Hougue Bie, with a view to housing whatever eventual collection we were able to muster. The sub-committee consisting of Messrs. F. J. Ahier, H. C. Le Messurier, A. J. du Feu, Ralph Mollet and the writer now came to life, or rather renewed its interest. Mr. John Le Marquand of St. Lawrence, ex-Connétable, etc., had been an enthusiastic supporter of our project but unfortunately had become seriously ill and subsequently died. He, with the writer, had been on the same committee of the agricultural section of the museum in St. Hélier for several years and one could have looked forward to invaluable help from him had he lived.
Frequent meetings were subsequently held and it was eventually decided to build. The laying of the foundation-stone took place, Mr. Frs. Le Boutillier, Connétable de St. Ouën, officiating as President of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society, Deputy Mrs. P. Green (née Le Couteur) also addressing the gathering as well as Messrs. H. J. Baal, the then President of La Société Jersiaise, and A. Le Sueur, Architect, the former two in "la langue Jersiaise".
By June 1956 the magnificent granite building with pan-tile roof in the grounds at La Hougue Bie had been completed - a worthy dépôt for this exhibition of familiar agricultural articles of other days. Much hard work still lay ahead. The transporting of the "rolling-stock" from various parts of the Island to La Hougue Bie now took place on a large scale. Fortunately the necessary "labour" was forthcoming for, apart from occasional paid help, the writer had the enthusiastic support of his three sons.
Much could be written concerning these "removals" to the new museum ; the number of journeys made, either laden or empty would be "too numerous to mention" but, in passing, one may instance the occasion when the writer's workman, Mr. E- G. Hacquoil, and one son, F. A. Le Maistre proceeded with the mare "Madame" to La Chasserie having left Vinchelez betimes for the purpose of harnessing and conveying the old hay-cart to its last resting-place. All attempts to harness the mare in the shafts being unsuccessful, laboriously the trio had to retrace their steps, arriving back home many hours later, tired and frustrated with the waste of time but wiser!
The slow process of towing the old threshing-machine from La Caroline, St. Peter with a half-dozen staff would be another incident almost worth describing-how there was continual danger that this "ancient" would pursue its protest, at thus being disturbed, to the extent of deliberately coming adrift by the wayside, and how one had to arrest progress near Le Carrefour, Trinity owing to smoke issuing from friction-suffering wheel axles, Mr. T. Cabot coming to the rescue in the nick of time with a much-needed grease-gun!
Varied indeed were the incidents connected with the final phases of the task. Suffice it to say that all the museum pieces had been safely garnered by the end of the month of June and there then only remained to clean up and treat or paint the various implements, etc., that being a task in itself entrusted to Mr. A. Crees who is a specialist in this work. The writer prepared the literature in respect of the various exhibits for the many labels to be printed, and we then joined forces for display purposes a few days previous to the opening ceremony which took place on the 31st July 1956. Our President, Lt. Bailiff E. P. Le Masurier addressed a large gathering of several hundred people consisting of members of La Société Jersiaise, L'Assembliée d'Jèrriais, and officials of the various parish agricultural societies. Messrs. Frs. Le Boutillier, President of the R.J.A. & H.S. and A. J. du Feu, Député de la Trinité, representing our Committee, also spoke in felicitous terms of our achievement - the former again in Jersey Norman French.
The writer now felt he had reason to believe the bulk of the work was over, but it later became evident that the task would not be considered complete before a written account in connection with this Musée d'Agriculture had been submitted for publication!
Finally, it is important to mention that M. Michel de Bouard of Caen, Conservateur of the Musée d'Ethnographie et d'Histoire de la Normandie has written saying they would wish to acquire if possible any duplicate which we might be able to send them from Jersey.
canne à traithe
L'ÊCLON, ou HÈRNAIS à ÊCLON (Jersey Hay Cart).
Symbolical of Jersey agriculture in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The "body" of this cart was also used as a box-cart, and for vraicking (sea-weed) purposes with the "cradle". This specimen was built circa 1875. See "Evening Post" of Oct. 12th, 1954 for details of cart. The writer hopes to prepare later a fully descriptive separate article for comparative purposes with its Norman counterpart. Presented by F. J. Ahier.
Parts of HÈRNAIS à ÊCLON :-
L'ÊCLON (Hay "Ladder "), Les BÈRCHOTTES ("Sides "), Les ÊCOUARDS (2 Upright Back Pillars), Lé TCHULOT (Rear Extension).
Collected from various farms, including Estate late J. Priaulx, and given by F. Le Maistre.
BÈR à VRAI (Box-cart "Cradle").
For the gathering of sea-weed. Still in use, particularly in the north-west of the island. Given by F. J. Ahier.
BANNIEAUX d'HÈRNAIS et HAUCHES (Box-cart "Sides" and "Risers ").
Still in fairly common use. Given by F. J. Ahier.
La VAINNE, les BANCS et l'TIMON (Farm Van, Seats and Pole).
A few only are still in use. Presented by F. J. Ahier.
HÈRNAIS à CIDRE, HÈRNAIS à FÛTS ou BAS HÈRNAIS (Cider Dray).
19th century. This one dates circa 1850. Acquired from N. J. Perrée, it had formerly belonged to the late H. Le M. Binet and had eventually been converted for use as a bull cart with "sides". It was still in use in the latter respect since the German Occupation. Once transported all the iron for the building of the Jesuits' Tower at St. Saviour, from the quay-side to site of Tower.
MACHINNE à BATTRE (Threshing Machine).
Made by W. Tasker, of Andover, Hants, it was the first ever brought to the Island, by Théophile Le Cappelain, circa 1860. It later saw service in Guernsey but was eventually brought back to Jersey. Acquired by the late John du Val, it was used by him for many years until the Occupation. In comparatively good condition, having had a new frame. Presented by John du Val.
VENTEUX (Winnowing Machine).
For winnowing grain. Circa 1830. Presented by J. P. Le Brocq, believed to have belonged to his great grandfather at La Chasse, St. Ouen.
GRAND' TCHÉTHUE à 4 ou 6 J'VAUX, et ÊSSELET (4 or 6-Horse Plough, with Fore-carriage).
Circa 1880-1890. Transferred from Museum in St. Hélier where it had been exhibited for some years.
GRAND' TCHÉTHUE à 4 ou 6 J'VAUX (6-Horse Plough).
Circa 1860. The wood in use for beam, etc. of ploughs was usually from the apple orchards which once extensively covered the Island. This specimen was presented by B. C. Le Masurier, he having purchased it from the late John Priaulx's sale.
GRAND' TCHÉTHUE à 6 ou 8 J'VAUX (6-Horse Plough).
Circa 1870. Bought at Henry Perrée's sale. Last used by N. J, Perrée, uncle, on Crabbé around 1925. Often 8 horses were used on this type and even sometimes as many as 10 or 12. A smaller plough, "Tchéthue à brîsi" or "Tchéthue à grain" with 4 horses preceded this for "skimming" or shallow ploughing ("brîsi ") The "skimmer" or; "brîseux" on this "Big Plough" is an addition of more recent date. Given by F. Le Maistre.
TCHÉTHUE à DÊFOUI des PÂNNAIS (Plough for ploughing up Parsnips).
Circa 1850 or earlier. This is probably the oldest Jersey plough extant. Parsnips were formerly extensively grown in Jersey, both for human and cattle consumption. Bought at late J. Priaulx's sale and given by F. Le Maistre
TCHÉTHUE à PLIANTER (Potato Planting Plough).
Circa 1880. This is one of the very earliest types. Given by Hedley Chevalier, last used by his grandfather Chs. Chevalier at Les Geonnais, St. Ouën.
TCHÉTHUE à PLIANTER, et ÊSSELET (Potato Planting Plough and Carriage).
Circa 1890. Bought at late J. Priaulx' s sale and given by F. Le Maistre.
TCHÉTHUES À DÊFOUI (Potato Digging Ploughs).
Circa 1850-60. One of these had been in St. Helier Museum for some years and the other was given by B. C, Le Masurier, he having purchased it at the late J. Priaulx's sale.
TCHÉTHUE à GRAIN (Wheat Plough).
Circa 1860. Also known as "Tchéthue à brîsi". Except for the share, etc., made of wood as all the old ploughs. As a wheat plough 2 horses were used but for "skimming" ahead of the "Big Plough" 4 horses, though not necessarily needed, were used, communal ploughing simply had to make use of man-power and horses which where both plentiful. Given by Ed. C. Le Boutillier.
GRIFFON (Old-type wooden Scarifier).
Circa 1860-70. In use up to first world war, particularly for scarifying old turf. It has a massive wooden frame. Bought at J. Renouf's sale and given by F. Le Maistre.
Un PONCHON (Puncheon, or Hogshead).
This particular one dates from about 1870. It contained 300 "pots" (150 gals.) of cider.
Eune DÉMIÉ-BARRIQUE (A Half-Cask).
Contained 60 "pots" (30 gals.)
Un BATHI, à cidre (A "Barrel").
Contained 30 "pots" (15 gals.). All three casks (Des FÛTS) given by J. P. Le Brocq.
Des SOUBATTEURS (Threshing Trestles).
18th and 19th centuries. These date circa 1870-80. One was given by John du Val and two others by H. J. Binet.
L'ÂNE (Threshing Trestle).
17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This specimen dates circa 1850 and is believed to be the only one of its kind now in existence. Also known as "Un Soubatteux" it is a much earlier type than the others. Given by C. P. Billot, jr.
FROUQUE à VRAI (Vraicking Fork).
Circa 1870. Present-day forks are much lighter than this specimen. Given by Nicolle J. Perrée, it belonged to his father François Alexandre Perrée. The latter must obviously have been a powerful man.
SCIE d'BUT, ou SCIE d'LONG (Ship-yard Saw).
Date 1860-70. Given by H. M. Gibaut.
RÂTÉ ou PIÈGNE à GLYI ("Rake" for combing threshed sheaves for thatching).
17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This article was fixed on a wall and the "soubat" or threshed sheaf was "combed" by passing it vertically through the tines. Given by F. Le Maistre.
PELLES à GRAIN (Wheat Shovels).
18th and 19th centuries. Given by H. J. Binet and F. Le Maistre.
RIDÉS ou CRIBL'YES à GRAIN (Wheat Sieves or Riddles).
18th and 19th centuries. Given by H. J. Binet.
FOURTCHETTES à FAIN (Hay Forks).
Wooden:- circa 1850, two acquired at late F. J. Ahier's sale and 2 given by J. P Le Brocq.
Iron prongs:- Later date, given by H. J. Binet. Wooden were in use from early times.
HALE-TROU, ou HALE-CHOURS (Implement for uprooting Jersey Cabbage stalks).
This one is rather heavier than the usual and was probably used for uprooting saplings. A few are still in use. Given by H. J. Binet.
FOURTCHETTE à GEON (Furze Fork).
Circa 1880. Given F. Le Maistre.
HÈRCHES à GRAIN (Wheat Harrows).
19th century, though used since. The old Jersey method of sowing wheat with these was to entwine a small quantity of straw around each tine so as to make wider drills ; the wheat was then sown, followed by harrowing without the straw. The older specimen was obtained from N. J. Perrée, the other being given by B. C. Le Masurier.
PELLE à FOU (Peel used for Baking on the Farm).
Some of these were still in use circa 1930. Given by W T. Le Boutillier.
Un RIDÉ-S'MEUX (Grain "Sower").
17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Some were still in use after first world war. Also known as "Un S'meux en Loup-mathîn" (Seal-skin Sower). We have several of these. One was given by G. de La P. Hacquoil ; another was transferred from the Museum in St. Hélier.
SELLE à TUTHET (Butter Maker).
18th and 19th centuries. Brought up from Museum in St. Hélier.
Un VAN ou VENTEUX (Winnowing Basket).
Circa 1880. In use from early times. One of these was brought up from St. Hélier Museum, and the other was given by C. P. Billot, jr.
Un FLIAIS (Flail).
19th century. From Museum in St. Hélier. The flail was in use from early times.
Des PALANCHES (Bucket Yokes).
19th century. From Museum in St. Hélier.
CANNE à TRAITHE (Jersey Milking Can).
19th century. From St. Hélier Museum.
ÔTIS dé TONNELYI (Set of Cider Cask Cooper's Tools).
19th century. From Museum in St. Hélier, and some given by F. Le Maistre.
FAUCILLONS d'AVOÛT (Harvest Sickles).
19th century. From Museum in St. Hélier.
FAUCILLONS à VRAI (Vraicking Sickles).
Circa 1870. From Museum in St. Hélier, and one given by F. Le Maistre.
FAUCILLON à COUVREUX (Thatcher's Sickle).
19th century. Brought up from Museum in St. Hélier.
PELLE à MAR (Pulp Shovel used in Cider-making).
19th century. Given by J. de Gruchy.
GAVELEUX (Scythe Cradle).
19th century. Given by J. P. Le Brocq.
BATHETTE, ou SELLE à BEURRE (Butter Churn).
Date 1880. Given by W. T. Le Boutillier.
Un JOUTCHET (Ox Yoke).
Date 1850-60. This is a single yoke. The double yoke was known as "Un FARDÉ". Brought up from St. Hélier Museum.
HOUETTE à HOUETTER, en bouais (Wooden Banking Hoe, for potatoes).
19th century. A few of these wooden ones may still be seen in use. Given by Stanley Hunt.
ANCLIEUNME (Anvil), et PÎNCHETTES dé FORGEUX (Blacksmith's Pincers).
Given by Stanley Hunt.
Lé TCHÎNTA (Old-time wooden Scales) et Les P'SÉES, ou B'SÉES (Jersey Stone Weights).
The beam or cross piece is known as "Lé tchînta" or "Lé balanchi" and the scales, "Les balanches", but the term "tchînta" also applies in a wider sense to the whole thing, 18th and 19th centuries, also early 20th. The Law adopting English weights and liquid measures came into operation on January 1, 1919, but many of these weights were used unofficially long after this date.
M'SUTHE dé TRAIS CABOTS - Patates, Pommes et Paithes (Measure for Potatoes, apples and pears).
19th century. Brought up from St Hélier Museum.
Un CABOTÉ, ou Eune M'SUTHE dé CABOT (Wheat Measure of 32 lbs.).
19th century and previous. In use up to first world war. We have several of these. This specimen given by F. Le Maistre.
M'SUTHES dé D'MIÉ-CABOT, à Froment (Grain Measures).
Brought from Museum in St Hélier.
SIEXTONNYI (Grain Measure of nearly 7 lbs)
19th century and previous. These were later used (of recent times) as potato measures by shopkeepers. From Museum in St Hélier.
D'MIÉ-SIEXTONNYI (Wheat Measure of over 3 lbs)
19th century and previous, From St Hélier Museum.
CASSES à PATATES (Potato "Boxes").
19th and 20th centuries. Many different types have been evolved before the present-day one came to the fore. Given by F. Le Maistre.
C'MINSOLE dé MOLLETON (Jersey Smock).
Made of soft, nappy, fine-twilled Flannel; also known in English as "Swan-skin" 19th century. This one is a replica specially made for this Museum from an original worn in his youth by, and still in the possession of, F. J. Hacquoil.
TÉMOIGNAGE de RECONNAISSANCE à Monsr. Jean L'Escaudey, par les Agriculteurs de Jersey, et plusieurs Marchands d' Angleterre et de France, en date de 1870. This is a framed Address to Mr. Jean L'Escaudey, by Jersey Farmers and several English and French Merchants - date 1870.
He rendered great services as a pioneer merchant-exporter of the Jersey "Royal" potato crop for many years. He was also presented with a gold watch and chain, still in the possession of the family, and 150 gold sovereigns, a very considerable sum of money in those days. Presented by D. P. Le Caudey, or L'Escaudey - grandson.
That, then, completes the list of articles inside the building. We shall no doubt be adding to the collection for some time to come but, since most of our valuable space is already committed, indiscriminate stocking must be guarded against. The "Tchèrquéthie" would not necessarily have housed all the articles contained in our re-construction of such. The name itself signifies "the place for carts" and can be compared to the Cotentin term "Tcherterie" ; cf. also the French "Charretterie". But the main purpose being to house as many articles as possible in any particular building on a farm, the "tchèrquéthie" would more or less have contained a heterogeneous collection apart from carts and ploughs; so, if we have overstepped the bounds somewhat, we are not so very seriously inconsistent. It is inevitable that we should use up all available space without, however, overcrowding. In this connection the writer can state he has found it far easier to accept articles than to refuse!
There are still many articles missing from our collection. Such, for instance, as "des Bachauds" (a type of paniers, one on each side of the horse), a "Selle bâtchiéthe" (a pack saddle), "un Fardé" (ox yoke, double), etc. - articles which would be most welcome in our "Musée" but it is very doubtful whether any specimens of these now exist.
Outside we have installed a fine Jersey circular trough, used for crushing apples to pulp previous to pressing for cider. This is a gift from Mde. C. Le Breton and is typical of the many still to be seen on some farms. A few are in use to this day.
The solid granite wheel is known as "La MEULE" and the complete trough as "Lé TOU" or "TOU d'PREINSEU". The sections of the "Tou" are called "Les GATTES" and the centre of the whole thing is "Lé NOUAI" The pivot or nucleus on which revolves the beam ("La HAIE") which leads to the "Meule" is known as "L'ÊTAMPÊTRE, or "Lé CAPESTE" At our "Musée" in St. Hélier may be seen a more complete "Tou" as also the "PREINSEU " or Press itself.
Also outside, at some distance from the building, are two fine granite troughs ("des AUGES en pièrre") used for the watering of cattle. These were given by J. P. Le Brocq and are typical of hundreds still in use.
At the left front corner, when facing the building, is "Lé MONTEUX", or "L'ABORDAS", which may be translated as "Mounting block", for mounting on horseback. Built in granite, this one is more or less a replica of one at La Fontaine Martin, St. Lawrence. Quite a number are still to be seen about the country, ranging from these well-constructed units to some very crude examples, sometimes consisting of only a few stones protruding from a wall. Granite slabs given by B. C. Le Masurier.
The Farm bell ("La CLIOCHE dé FÈRME") has been bracketed on the gable, above the "Monteux". These were usually ships' bells brought back by the many Jersey captains, on retiring from the sea. Some are still in use. This particular one was bought from Stanley Hunt.
Finally, it is hoped to lay in position in the near future a set of Staddle or granite Stack stones ("des PIÈRRES dé HAÛGARD") known separately as "les Pilièrs et l's Assiettes" These, which have now become rare, consisting of uprights a few feet in height and circular slabs which rested on the former, were placed in a circle with one or more in the centre and, after tree branches had been layed across them to form a base, the corn stack was built reasonably safe from vermin.
One or two more outside adjuncts, we hope, may be forthcoming in due course; for instance, a Sundial ("Un CADRAN") and some Wall rings ("Des MELLES") for tying up cattle.
It is only after having gazed at these various vehicles and implements, etc. and pondered awhile that one realises how surprisingly quickly the common-places of yesterday are becoming, or have already become, things of the past, and to the generation now growing up they will soon be as remote as the Middle Ages.
The agricultural history of Jersey has been sadly neglected and the remarkable changes of recent years have swept away much valuable evidence. As has been said at the commencement of this paper, it had become necessary to act speedily so that the little which remained would not be lost for ever. It is always most important that those interested in rural life (which is, after all, the only real life) should do all they can to ensure that an adequate knowledge of the past is recorded for posterity.
One remembers that only a little more than fifty years ago the boys and girls of a family would still have to tread the harrowed land for firming after the corn had been sown broadcast and would then have the task of scaring the crows, etc. from the newly-sown fields. Incidentally, though broadcasting may have disappeared in England since the beginning of this century, the practice still obtains in Jersey to some extent to this day.
As regards harvesting, after laboriously cutting the crop with the sickle or the scythe, the corn had to be bound into sheaves by hand. Indeed, it still has in many cases in Jersey. Then let us give a thought to the work of separating the grain from the ears with the sail. The latter provided an effective method, but slow, very slow. Even then the task was not complete till the grain had been carefully cleaned to remove the chaff; thus the utility of the winnowing machine.
Mechanization has indeed, to an almost unbelievable extent, lessened the work, but it can be truly said that much of the worker' s interest and pride of work has also vanished. Many an erstwhile task which was pursued with animation and real satisfaction has now been transformed into more or less automatic and soul-less labour.
F. Le Maistre
(publiée par La Société Jersiaise c. 1956)
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