Market Lavington Museum

A hand harrow

Arable farmers preparing fields for the sowing of seeds would normally drag their tools behind a tractor nowadays or, formerly, behind a horse or pair of horses. Soil that has been ploughed needs to be levelled out and broken down into a tilth suitable for sowing seeds, much in the way that a vegetable gardener might rake after digging.

The greensand areas in the northern parts of the parish of Market Lavington were well suited to market gardening and were worked in this way in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Growing on this scale required tools sized between those of the farmer and those of the domestic gardener.

In the trades room at Market Lavington Museum, we have some tools formerly used in Mr Sid Cooper’s market garden up on The Sands. This harrow is dated 1895. It has a handle 160cm long. The tool’s width is 88cm and it should have 16 iron tines, but one is missing.