18th and 19th century agricultural developments in St Neots

 

During the 18th century the majority of the people in St Neots, Eynesbury, Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon were employed in the primary industry of agriculture. Agricultural labour was the most common job.

 

Landowners wanted to profit from new developments like iron ploughs, steam-powered equipment, seed drills, cross-breeding, mass produced clay drainage pipes and new fertilisers. This cost money so only the wealthier farmers could afford it. They also were keen on enclosing land to make larger fields and parklands closer to their houses.

 

By the middle of the 19th century there were a number of associated agricultural trades like millers, blacksmiths, basket makers, curriers (prepared horses), saddlers, horse dealers, pig dealers, hagglers, hucksters, slaughterers, butchers, skinners, tanners, sausage makers, corn merchants, straw plait dealers, tallow chandlers, bakers, maltsters and brewers.

 

The main industrial process in St Neots was milling corn. The mills were powered by water wheels (e.g. Paxton Mill and the River Mill in Eaton Socon) or by wind (e.g. Duloe windmill).

 

After a fire burnt down the steam-powered corn mill in New Street in 1846 John Medlock built a new mill in Nutters Lane (Bedford Street) He sold it to Joshua Malden. It then belonged to Thomas Smith and in 1865 to William Paine, the St Neots brewer. 200 was spent on improvements, which included a sawmill.

 

(Sources: Young, R. (1996), 'St Neots Past', Phillimore; Tebbutt, C.F. (1978), St Neots History of a Huntingdonshire Town, Unwin Brothers)

 

How many people were directly or indirectly engaged in work related to farming?

 

 

Tradesmen and women in St Neots & Eynesbury 1854

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basket-makers

1

 

Blacksmiths

2

Coach builders

1

 

Lace dealers

2

Comb-makers

1

 

Millers

2

Curriers

1

 

Rope-makers

2

Dyers and scourers

1

 

Sadlers

2

Glovers

1

 

Tallow chandlers

2

Higglers

1

 

Upholsterers

2

Horse dealers

1

 

Carriers

3

Hucksters

1

 

Printers

3

Iron founders

1

 

Stonemasons

3

Letter carriers

1

 

Watch and clockmakers

3

Machine men

1

 

Brick-makers

4

Marine store dealers

1

 

Coopers

4

Master watermen

1

 

Milliners and dressmakers

4

Millwrights

1

 

Wheelwrights

4

Parchment makers

1

 

Brewers

5

Pig dealers

1

 

Maltsters

5

Razor-grinders

1

 

Bricklayers

6

Sausage-makers

1

 

Painters, plumbers and glaziers

6

Staymakers

1

 

Butchers

10

Straw plait dealers

1

 

Bakers

13

Tobacco pipe makers

1

 

Carpenters

15

Turners

1

 

Tailors

15

Whitesmiths

1

 

Boot-makers

16

 

 

 

Inn-keepers

26

 

 

 

Beer retailiers

28

Source: History and Gazetteer of Huntingdonshire (1854)

 

 

NB These are people who paid to be included in the Gazetteer.

 

Some people advertised did more than one job. Many of these employed apprentices and labourers. There's no mention of landowners and farmers.