July on the Farm (2023)

Banbury Livestock Market in 1906

Richard Fonge writes:

This month sees the start of harvest, with the winter barley likely to be ready first in the field off Park Lane. The oilseed rape crop follows and then the wheat, and spring sown crops.

Most grain is sold to a merchant, unless it’s been grown for home use where the Farmer has stock. Selling is now done mostly over the phone with a Merchant and a price per tonne agreed dependant on quality and month of collection or it goes into a Farmers’ co-operative for storage and is then marketed from there.

Up until the mid sixties there were four grain merchants in Banbury, where you could take a sample of barley, wheat etc, and agree a price. Lampreys had a mill by the canal, which is now the Arts centre and Clark’s who were taken over by Lampreys in the ‘60s had a mill as you went to the railway station. Watts and Goodenough were the others. In those days there was also a corn exchange at the Banbury Livestock market, where you could take your grain sample on market days .Midland Marts.

The original livestock market was in the town centre as it was in most towns, but in 1925 Mr Mcdougal set up the market in Grimsbury off Bridge St, and by the 50s it had become the biggest market in this country, if not in Europe and was to remain so until it closed 25 years ago in 1998. Also during these times there were five agricultural engineers in the town. A market town that changed so much after the M40 was built and the market closed. At the same time agriculture made great advances in modernisation, through science and technology.

An interesting footnote is that Mr Mcdougal became the father in law of The Right Hon Richard Crossman M.P., a fellow of New College Oxford and a prominent Cabinet Minister in the Labour government of the 60s, but perhaps most noted for his diaries revealing the inner workings of Government.

Many of you have heard of Stuchbury. Where is it? Stuchbury is one of the lost villages of Northamptonshire and was once a parish in its own right, but now in the Greatworth  Parish. Today it has three farms and two cottages. Two farms Stuchbury Hall and Stuchbury Lodge are accessed from the Sulgrave Helmdon Rd and the old Parish boundary runs along to Peter’s bridge on the south side of the road and then south to the Welsh lane. Stuchbury Manor is now part of the Marston Estate and is accessed from the Welsh lane or B5425.

See here for more about this lost village.

We have many good footpaths in our area but please remember that the concrete road leading eastwards from Rectory Farm, is not one of them. We walk and ride it with bikes and horses by the kind permission of the farming tenant.

Richard Fonge.




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