Market Lavington Museum

A bushel and a peck


“I love you, a bushel and a peck, A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck” are words sung by Doris Day in Guys and Dolls.

Bushels and pecks were pre-decimal units of dry volume, although the American ones are different from those that were used in the UK. Even nowadays, we might know that eight pints equal a gallon as those units still feature sometimes for milk or for watering can capacity. A peck was two gallons and four pecks, or eight gallons, made a bushel.

We have already had a quick look at Joshua Hampton’s farm records from 1869 and 1870, as copied out for the museum by his great granddaughter, Christina Seabourne. He farmed up on Salisbury Plain at Pond Farm and Meeches Farm until he gave up after the bad years of 1879 and 1881. So this 1905 postcard of Pond Farm is after Joshua’s time there, but before the area was taken over permanently by the military.

He recorded what seed was sown and how much was used per acre, in bushels and pecks. Some of his seed was broadcast (flung by hand) and some was drilled into the ground with a seed drill. Here are some of his entries.