Discussion:
Farm Bailiff's Status
(too old to reply)
Astral Voyager
2008-02-06 19:59:15 UTC
Permalink
I have come across a fringe ancestor that in 1861 and 1871 was listed as a
farmer of 50 - 55 acres employing a couple of people. His father was also a
farmer.

In 1881 the occupation column now reads: Farm Bailiff to Robert B Clarke Esq
(Farmer of 330 acres of land employing 12 Labs & 4 boys)

Would the move to Farm Bailiff from farmer have been a step up, down or
sideways?

I assume the 330 acres refered to belongs to RB Clarke and not my man. So
likely he has relinquished the land and is possibly now working for his
original landlord - assuming he didn't own his land outright. So maybe a
double edged sword?

1881 Census: RG11; Piece: 1854; Folio: 45; Page: 8 refers.

AV.
Anne Chambers
2008-02-06 21:06:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Astral Voyager
I have come across a fringe ancestor that in 1861 and 1871 was listed as a
farmer of 50 - 55 acres employing a couple of people. His father was also a
farmer.
In 1881 the occupation column now reads: Farm Bailiff to Robert B Clarke Esq
(Farmer of 330 acres of land employing 12 Labs & 4 boys)
Would the move to Farm Bailiff from farmer have been a step up, down or
sideways?
I assume the 330 acres refered to belongs to RB Clarke and not my man. So
likely he has relinquished the land and is possibly now working for his
original landlord - assuming he didn't own his land outright. So maybe a
double edged sword?
1881 Census: RG11; Piece: 1854; Folio: 45; Page: 8 refers.
AV.
A step down in status - I have a gggrandmother who remarried after her
first husband died. The second husband (also a farmer) proceeded to
gamble the family farm away and moved through the censuses as farmer on
smaller and smaller acreages employing fewer & fewer men, until finally
he was a farm bailiff and no longer an employer but an employee.
--
Anne Chambers,
South Australia
anne dot chambers at bigpond dot com
Astral Voyager
2008-02-06 21:53:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Astral Voyager
Would the move to Farm Bailiff from farmer have been a step up, down or
sideways?
A step down in status...
Thanks for that. I wasn't sure if he had become more 'management' than
'worker'. I suppose the change from employer to employee must always be a
retrograde step status wise. I hadn't looked at it like that until you used
the phrase in your example.

He was a farmer again by 1891 - now located in Norfolk.

AV.
Don Moody
2008-02-07 09:49:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Astral Voyager
Post by Astral Voyager
Would the move to Farm Bailiff from farmer have been a step up,
down or sideways?
A step down in status...
Thanks for that. I wasn't sure if he had become more 'management'
than 'worker'. I suppose the change from employer to employee must
always be a retrograde step status wise. I hadn't looked at it like
that until you used the phrase in your example.
He was a farmer again by 1891 - now located in Norfolk.
You are missing the point. 'Farmer' does NOT necessarily mean
'landowner.' There are such things as tenant farmers, and a whole body
of law about what can and cannot be done to end tenancies. That law
arose out of funfair treatment by some landowners of their tenants.
So what happens if a 'dog and stick' tenant farmer on a few acres
finds the farm being subsumed into a rearrangement of landholdings to
enable bigger-scale and more efficient farming?

There's basically two options for the tenant if proper notice and
procedure are followed. He can move himself and his family off the
land. To what? He almost certainly won't have any townie trade skills
so he's an unskilled labourer at best. Or he can stay on the land as
an employee of the new bigger farm. The landlord then has a problem.
He has a lot of ex-tenants and labourers to control as a single unit.
The landlord will not want to be his own 'foreman' doing the hands-on
daily running of the workforce. So he'll pick the tenant he regards as
the most honest/brightest/possessor of supervisory skills/hard man
when necessary to do tyhat job, and call him the bailiff indicating
that his job includes enforcing the new rules of employment and
keeping order generally.

Landowners with rather a lot of water included in their estates would
have a water bailiff as well as a farm bailiff. Managing water
requires a different set of skills than managing earth.

The terminology, as with anything traditional, gets a bit different as
one moves from one region to another. You could come across things
like 'agent' and 'factor'. Nowadays you would find 'farm manager', and
there are even degrees with that name provided by agricultural
colleges.

Perhaps I ought to say that I have a half-brother who was a water
bailiff, a son who did his first qualification at an agricultural
college, and a daughter who is a big wheel in sorting out competing
demands on land use and management. I have no personal experience of
such disgustingly energetic pastimes.

Don
Astral Voyager
2008-02-07 12:07:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Moody
Post by Astral Voyager
He was a farmer again by 1891 - now located in Norfolk.
You are missing the point. 'Farmer' does NOT necessarily
mean 'landowner.'
I didn't miss that point. If you read the original post you will see that if
I made any assumption it was that he never owned his own land and that it
was possible he became bailiff to his former landlord. The basis of the
query was if becoming a bailiff was a 'step up' and something he would have
been likely to do voluntarily or a 'step down' and so likely forced upon him
by circumstance.

If I were to generally make the assumption you claim then I would also have
to consider that my farming ancestors, of which there are many, were almost
all incompetent. Nearly all had no land to show for themselves at the end of
their days. Which would mean they all failed or they never owned the land to
start with - I prefer to think the latter until proved otherwise. Only one
that I know of actually owned the land he farmed and sold it when he
retired.

AV.
Don Moody
2008-02-07 15:24:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Astral Voyager
Post by Don Moody
Post by Astral Voyager
He was a farmer again by 1891 - now located in Norfolk.
You are missing the point. 'Farmer' does NOT necessarily
mean 'landowner.'
I didn't miss that point. If you read the original post you will see
that if I made any assumption it was that he never owned his own
land and that it was possible he became bailiff to his former
landlord. The basis of the query was if becoming a bailiff was a
'step up' and something he would have been likely to do voluntarily
or a 'step down' and so likely forced upon him by circumstance.
If I were to generally make the assumption you claim then I would
also have to consider that my farming ancestors, of which there are
many, were almost all incompetent. Nearly all had no land to show
for themselves at the end of their days. Which would mean they all
failed or they never owned the land to start with - I prefer to
think the latter until proved otherwise. Only one that I know of
actually owned the land he farmed and sold it when he retired.
The 'ideal' was and still is to both own and farm the land. My point
was that it is not NECESSARY to do both in order to call yourself a
'farmer'. It was rather an issue at Seale-Hayne College, where my son
went, to ascertain whether any of the girls (a) were daughters of
land-owing farmers, and (b) had no brothers to inherit the farm. Such
girls were highly prized, and married within days of Finals.

The blokes consisted of sons of land-owning fathers, sons of tenant
farmers who would themselves have to go for 'farm management', and
blokes like my son who went into 'agricultural services'. Neither of
the last two groups were land owners.

As for status, it's largely in the eye of the beholder. Who has the
greater status out of a dog-and-stick, self-employed, tenant 'farmer'
on 30 acres of sub-viable Dartmoor hillside or a 'farm manager' on
2000 acres of Lincolnshire arable? The bolshy sod who likes his
independence and doesn't mind being poor is happy with his few acres
of Dartmoor ( a deer farmer in this case, but it doesn't matter). Most
people I know would prefer to be an employee in Lincolnshire with all
the goodies and benefits to go with the job.Fortunately for me, the
terrain on the south slopes of Dartmoor is wholly unsuited to large
fields ploughed for arable. We have many dog and stick operators round
here and they produce 'hand-crafted' meat from small herds and flocks.
Pricier than your supermarket standard all-over-the-country
mass-produced but a hell of a lot tastier.

It does lead to some interesting byways. The deer farmer found that
stags' penises didn't sell very well in England and presumably in
olden days they'd have been fed to pigs. He built up quite a trade
with China. It took a long time to get a freezer full of penises but
one fax to China sold the lot, and generated a plea for more. Much
more. Neither he nor I wanted to ask what the wily orientals did with
the things!

It's just one illustration of the ingenuity which somebody who tenants
a small piece of land has to have in order to survive long-term. It's
a characteristic of the small 'farmer'. But nevertheless it cannot be
denied that in the UK the historical drift is to employment on the
land, with ownership separate, or employment in town. What isn't going
to happen in the UK, and never has happed, is my experience in South
America or my son's in Australia.
In South America a single cattle ranch was 2500 square miles, and took
three days to ride across. In Australia in his gap year my son was
driven out by a farmer to plough a field. When he got there he found a
tractor bigger than a house. He was given a brief lesson and told to
plough the whole field. All 28,000 acres of it. When it was done the
farmer told him it was the first time, ever, that land had been
ploughed. 'Farming' on those scales simply isn't the same thing as
tenant farming a few acres on south Dartmoor, but all the people
concerned described themselves as 'farmers',.

The message is that 'farmer' is one of the most unreliable terms as to
meaning and social status as can be found in genealogy.

Din
Astral Voyager
2008-02-07 15:39:32 UTC
Permalink
Only one that I know of actually owned the land he farmed and sold it when
he retired.
Talking of which... I came across this photo of the family outside Primrose
Farm. Any offers on the likely date? Look to be in their Sunday best.

http://tinyurl.com/2w5kpn

or

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2w5kpn


AV.
Marcus Streets
2008-02-07 16:17:45 UTC
Permalink
Astral Voyager wrote:
| "Astral Voyager" <***@any.time> wrote
|
|>Only one that I know of actually owned the land he farmed and sold it
when
|>he retired.
|
| Talking of which... I came across this photo of the family outside
Primrose
| Farm. Any offers on the likely date? Look to be in their Sunday best.
|
| http://tinyurl.com/2w5kpn
|
| or
|
| http://preview.tinyurl.com/2w5kpn
|
|
| AV.
|
|
Looks 1910s to me.

The bicycle looks to have pneumatic tyres and hub gears, which means it
cannot be much earlier.

Though fashions do not change fast especially in the countryside.
Could easily be 1930s

Marcus
Andrew Sellon
2008-02-07 14:38:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Astral Voyager
I made any assumption it was that he never owned his own land and that it
was possible he became bailiff to his former landlord. The basis of the
query was if becoming a bailiff was a 'step up' and something he would have
been likely to do voluntarily or a 'step down' and so likely forced upon him
by circumstance.
If I were to generally make the assumption you claim then I would also have
to consider that my farming ancestors, of which there are many, were almost
all incompetent. Nearly all had no land to show for themselves at the end of
their days. Which would mean they all failed or they never owned the land to
start with - I prefer to think the latter until proved otherwise. Only one
that I know of actually owned the land he farmed and sold it when he
retired.
To enter the list, in the jousting sense.

I believe the term 'bailiff' has slightly different meanings according
to which part of the country it is being used in. It is sometimes
difficult to differentiate between the terms 'bailiff', 'manager' and
'foreman'; I believe in Scotland there are a number of other terms,
'reeve' springs to mind as one of them.

They are all employed men, taking instruction from the farmer, be he a
tenant farmer or an owner occupier farming in his right, or possibly the
agent of an estate owner if that particular farm is 'in hand'.

Historically the vast majority of farmers who were directly responible
for tilling the soil were tenant farmers holding their farms, of
whatever size, under a tenancy agreement from the land owner, very often
the farm being one in a large 'landed estate'.

At different times the social nuances might shift slightly, but there
was never any shame in being a tenant farmer. In fact the tenant of a
large acreage farm would in all probability be esteemed locally more
highly than the farmer who owned and farmed a small farm of a very few
acres. As in all walks of life one's status in a rural community, (and
until 150 or so years ago the majority of the population lived in one),
remained pretty constant. As always there were exceptions which might
have been caused by ill luck, accident, incompetence or that old
favourite, drink.. On the other hand some bright and energetic sparks
'bettered' themselves considerably.

Yours Aye Andrew Sellon
e***@varneys.org.uk
2008-02-14 12:50:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Sellon
Post by Astral Voyager
I made any assumption it was that he never owned his own land and
that it was possible he became bailiff to his former landlord. The
basis of the query was if becoming a bailiff was a 'step up' and
something he would have been likely to do voluntarily or a 'step
down' and so likely forced upon him by circumstance.
I believe the term 'bailiff' has slightly different meanings according
to which part of the country it is being used in. It is sometimes
difficult to differentiate between the terms 'bailiff', 'manager' and
'foreman'; I believe in Scotland there are a number of other terms,
factor for instance
Post by Andrew Sellon
They are all employed men, taking instruction from the farmer, be he a
tenant farmer or an owner occupier farming in his right, or possibly
the agent of an estate owner if that particular farm is 'in hand'.
However, there are distinct social variants.
A farm bailiff working for a resident farmer would be a sort of foreman, with limited
powers and status
A farm bailiff working for, say, a farmer's widow who had never participated much in
the running of the small to medium farm might have a lot of power, including day to
day running, hiring and firing usually, and most agricultural decisions - but subject to
the whims of the lady and also the fact that she might die and be replaced by a
know-it-all son.
A farm bailiff running the large Home Farm for a gentleman resident locally but not
in the farm, would have a lot of autonomy, inc agricultural decisions, hiring and
firing, but could be restricted on what he spent on improvements and possibly on the
introduction of improved farm methods (local status fairly high, though forelock
touching necessary)
A farm bailiff in sole occupation of a large farm which was part of a landowner's
estate would usually have all the agricultural decisions, all hiring and firing, and
normally would be able to use some of the profits for improvements, repairs etc, as
long as the returns financially were satisfactory. (high status locally and over a
wider area, since in practical terms he was the boss and armed with some of his
employer's influence too.)

In the case quoted, moving from tenancy of 55 acres to running a 300 acre farm
sounds like a step up.

Jeff
2008-02-07 14:38:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Moody
You are missing the point. 'Farmer' does NOT necessarily mean
'landowner.'
You are knocking down a straw man.

AV's reference to a "former landlord" makes it clear no such assumption
was made.
Astral Voyager
2008-02-07 15:06:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff
Post by Don Moody
You are missing the point. 'Farmer' does NOT necessarily mean
'landowner.'
You are knocking down a straw man.
AV's reference to a "former landlord" makes it clear no such assumption
was made.
On re-reading my own OP (Oh the vanity!) It was possibly my use of the
phrase "So likely he has relinquished the land" that caused confusion. I
meant by that that he had given up farming rather than he had sold or
otherwise disposed of any land.

Don's post was however interesting (something I don't often say).

AV.

As said - He was farming again in the 1901 census but died that year.
Hugh Watkins
2008-02-07 14:40:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Moody
Post by Astral Voyager
Post by Astral Voyager
Would the move to Farm Bailiff from farmer have been a step up,
down or sideways?
A step down in status...
Thanks for that. I wasn't sure if he had become more 'management'
than 'worker'. I suppose the change from employer to employee must
always be a retrograde step status wise. I hadn't looked at it like
that until you used the phrase in your example.
He was a farmer again by 1891 - now located in Norfolk.
You are missing the point. 'Farmer' does NOT necessarily mean
'landowner.' There are such things as tenant farmers, and a whole body
of law about what can and cannot be done to end tenancies. That law
arose out of funfair treatment by some landowners of their tenants.
So what happens if a 'dog and stick' tenant farmer on a few acres
finds the farm being subsumed into a rearrangement of landholdings to
enable bigger-scale and more efficient farming?
There's basically two options for the tenant if proper notice and
procedure are followed. He can move himself and his family off the
land. To what? He almost certainly won't have any townie trade skills
so he's an unskilled labourer at best. Or he can stay on the land as
an employee of the new bigger farm. The landlord then has a problem.
He has a lot of ex-tenants and labourers to control as a single unit.
The landlord will not want to be his own 'foreman' doing the hands-on
daily running of the workforce. So he'll pick the tenant he regards as
the most honest/brightest/possessor of supervisory skills/hard man
when necessary to do tyhat job, and call him the bailiff indicating
that his job includes enforcing the new rules of employment and
keeping order generally.
Landowners with rather a lot of water included in their estates would
have a water bailiff as well as a farm bailiff. Managing water
requires a different set of skills than managing earth.
The terminology, as with anything traditional, gets a bit different as
one moves from one region to another. You could come across things
like 'agent' and 'factor'. Nowadays you would find 'farm manager', and
there are even degrees with that name provided by agricultural
colleges.
Perhaps I ought to say that I have a half-brother who was a water
bailiff, a son who did his first qualification at an agricultural
college, and a daughter who is a big wheel in sorting out competing
demands on land use and management. I have no personal experience of
such disgustingly energetic pastimes.
the water bailiff may have turned up with the loss of common fishing
rights as the landowners cashed in on the nineteenth century craze for
angling

in USK about the river Usk this was certainly true about the salmon
fishing with a long court case

Hugh W
--
For genealogy and help with family and local history in Bristol and
district http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Brycgstow/

http://snaps4.blogspot.com/ photographs and walks

GENEALOGE http://hughw36.blogspot.com/ MAIN BLOG
Geoff
2008-02-07 15:09:55 UTC
Permalink
To take umbrage at what Don said seems to me to be a bit OTT. I did not and
will not now read any of the earlier postings in this chain nor do I read
many in other chains which seem to soon spread far beyond the original
subjects. I found Don's posting informative, it does not seem the least
patronising, it's nice to see him back and he certainly gets more of my
marks than the dreaded Spencer!!

Geoff
Hugh Watkins
2008-02-07 00:46:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Astral Voyager
I have come across a fringe ancestor that in 1861 and 1871 was listed as a
farmer of 50 - 55 acres employing a couple of people. His father was also a
farmer.
In 1881 the occupation column now reads: Farm Bailiff to Robert B Clarke Esq
(Farmer of 330 acres of land employing 12 Labs & 4 boys)
Would the move to Farm Bailiff from farmer have been a step up, down or
sideways?
I assume the 330 acres refered to belongs to RB Clarke and not my man. So
likely he has relinquished the land and is possibly now working for his
original landlord - assuming he didn't own his land outright. So maybe a
double edged sword?
1881 Census: RG11; Piece: 1854; Folio: 45; Page: 8 refers.
is R B Clarke or his wife a relative?

a Watkins farm bailiff in my tree was employed by his widowed mother
before finaly inheriting Little Trostry near Usk MON

Hugh W
Astral Voyager
2008-02-07 15:10:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hugh Watkins
is R B Clarke or his wife a relative?
While there are Clarke's in that line of the family I don't believe this
particular one was in any way related. The ones in that line that likely
owned land were the Bloomfields.

I tried briefly last night, without success, to locate R B Clarke in the
same census. I may have another go tonight.

AV.
Tony
2008-02-07 19:55:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Astral Voyager
Post by Hugh Watkins
is R B Clarke or his wife a relative?
While there are Clarke's in that line of the family I don't believe this
particular one was in any way related. The ones in that line that likely
owned land were the Bloomfields.
I tried briefly last night, without success, to locate R B Clarke in the
same census. I may have another go tonight.
Possibly:

Dwelling: South Hill Rd
Census Place: Chislehurst, Kent, England
Source: FHL Film 1341203 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 0857 Folio 43 Page 34
Marr Age Sex Birthplace
Robert Bowcher CLARKE M 78 M Barbadoes, West Indies
Rel: Head
Occ: Knight CB Retired judge

or his son at same address

Robert Bowcher CLARKE U 39 M Hillington, Middlesex, England
Rel: Son
Occ: Captain Worcester Malitia
--
Tony
<***@hotair.demon.co.uk>
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