Farming Steward's Account Books

Scope and Content

The farming steward's account books record receipts and disbursements for the Home Farm, which the steward managed directly on behalf of the owners of Dunham Massey and which supplied the Hall with a wide range of agricultural produce. The accounts begin in March 1774, when Joseph Yearsley was appointed farming steward. The accounts are divided into quarters, the account for each quarter occupying three or four pages.

Cash receipts are listed on the first page. These include transfers of cash from the agent (Isaac Worthington until 1809, and Hugo Worthington thereafter), and cash received for sales of livestock, animal products (skins, tallow, wool), grain and other agricultural produce, lime, timber etc. Below are recorded the totals of receipts and disbursements with the balance struck.

Disbursements begin on the second page with monthly bills (wages of labourers, gardeners, carpenters and wheelwrights, and payments for the services of blacksmiths), and quarterly bills (including the saddler's account, apothecary's account, payments to the poor).

The third page contains accounts for livestock purchases and grain purchases. Cash payments for 'cattle' or 'livestock' are itemized first. Information provided includes: the date of the transaction; the name of the vendor; the quantity and type of livestock purchased (cows, sheep, pigs, horses, categorised as beef cattle, barren heifers, wethers, ewes, store swine, cows in calf, breeding sows etc.); occasionally the market where the livestock was purchased; the price per head (if more than one animal); and the total amount paid. Then purchases of 'grain' are recorded. Information provided includes: the date of the transaction; the name of the vendor; the quantity and type of grain purchased (wheat, beans, oats, barley, "shulling" [i.e. shelling, husks]; the price per unit of weight; and the total amount paid.

Other payments are recorded on the fourth page. These include payments for hardware and agricultural implements; payments to casual labourers (for carting, mowing, threshing, ploughing, thatching, ditching etc.); payments for coal and building materials. Details are given on the nature of the materials or services bought, and the amount paid.

Acquisition Information

All items were received from Dunham Massey Hall on 12 September 1978; provenance: Instrument Room off the Library.