Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 40 pages of information about Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850.

WAGES IN 17TH AND 19TH CENTURIES.

Running my eye accidentally through the household book of Sir Roger Twysden, from 1659 to 1670, it occurred to me to make a comparison between the relative prices of meat and wages, as there given, in order to ascertain the position of our peasantry in these parts, at the close of the 17th century.  I send you a few extracts, by which it will be seen that, in Kent, at least, our agricultural labourers appear to have been in far better condition than those of the rest of England, who, in Mr. Macaulay’s brilliant work, are represented as living “almost entirely on rye, barley, and oats,” owing to the exorbitantly high price of meat, as compared with the ordinary scale of wages.

As to meat, I find the following entries:—­

“1659.  Beef
2s. and 1s. 8d. per stone.
a loin of mutton                    1s. 6d.
1662.  Beef                         2s. per stone.
a shin of beef                     1s. 10d.
a loin of veal                      3s. 4d.
a calve’s head                      1s. 2d.
a quarter of mutton         4s. 4d. and 5s.
a side of mutton                        9s.
1664. 8 quarters of mutton                   32s.
1 quarter of do.                        4s.
6 stone of beef                    10s. 4d.
1666. 6 stone of beef                    10s. 4d.
a fat weather                      12s. 8d.
32 fat weathers                        19l.
1667. 10 stone of beef and 2 lb. of suet     18s.
22 stone of beef                        2l.
23 stone of beef                    2l. 3s.
a chine and a quarter of veal           8s.
1670.  A chine and a quarter of mutton         5s.
a quarter of lamb                   2s. 6d.”

Through this period we have:—­

   “Cheese per load, i.e. 56 lb., at 14s., 11s., 10s., 4d.,
    9s. 6d.”

The wages of labourers through the same period are entered:—­

   “Sawyer 2s. 6d. per hundred.
    a farm carpenter 1s. 6d. per day.
      or, ‘I finding him,’ 1s. per day.
    common labourers, generally 1s. per \
      day; sometimes, but less frequently, > in 1849, 2s.
      9d. per day /
    threshing wheat, 16d. per quarter in 1849, 3s.
    mowing, from 1s. to 1s. 8d. per acre in 1849, 3s. 6d.
    mowing oats, 1s. 3d. per acre in 1849, 2s. 6d.
    mowing clover, 1s. 6d. per acre in 1849, 2s. 6d.
    hayers, 2s. and 2s. 6d. per week in 1849, 6s.
    reaping, 2s. per acre in 1849, 10s. to 14s.
    sheep shearing, 1s. per score in 1849, 2s. 6d.
    hedging 2-1/2d. per rod in 1849, 4d.
    hoeing, 6d. per acre in 1849, 4s.
    women 8d. per day in 1849, 1s., and 1s. 4d.
    boys, 4d. per day in 1849, 6d. and 3d.
    making faggots, 18d. and 20d. per hundred; in 1849, 3s.”

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Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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