We asked you five questions about farming in Edwardian Britain. Here come the answers!
- What is “wattling” or “wattle work”?
It’s the weaving of wooden rods through timber uprights to create a partition. It’s an ancient building technique that was used in mediaeval times for housing, the wattle being plastered with mud to create walls (“wattle-and-daub” huts).
- What was neat’s foot oil generally used for?
Caring for leather. “Neat” is an archaic word for cattle; their lower limbs have poor circulation, and the oil prevents them from freezing at low temperatures. Neat’s foot oil is still a commonly used component of leather care products.
- The Devon Longwool is a polled breed of sheep. What does “polled” mean?
Hornless, as a result of selective breeding. The Devon Longwool is found widely across the West Country, and its strong wool is a popular choice for rugs and carpets.
- Coastal farmers of this era often supplemented their diet – and their income – by fishing. Stargazy pie, traditionally made from pilchards and six other fish, is one of the most famous dishes of the time, but was not an everyday meal. On which date was it traditionally eaten?
23 December. Legend has it that the fishing fleet of Mousehole in Cornwall was kept in harbour for days on end in December, bringing the village to the verge of famine. On 23 December Tom Bawcock managed to take his boat out and bring back enough fish to save them all.
- What “health product” created at this time was Dr Gustav Jäger most famous for?
Woollen clothing. Jäger believed that only clothing made from animal fibres allowed the skin to “breathe” naturally, and developed a whole system of woollen underwear and outer garments based on his hypothesis. The idea caught on so successfully – helped by its adoption by the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements and by famous explorers including Shackleton – that the Jaeger brand is still going strong today.
How did you get on? Why not let us know?