Monday 3 October 2022

Photographic History of Eton Wick and Eton - Agriculture and Farm Houses - Steam Threshing


The top photograph on the opposite page shows a steam traction engine driving a threshing machine in front of Saddocks Farm Cottages in the 1930s. The main threshing contractors employed by Eton Wick farms were Wards of Egham and Poulters of Burnham. The contract staff often slept rough in the farm barns. Until the advent of combine harvesters, corn was cut and tied in sheaves by binders. 

To protect them from the wet until they could be collected, the sheaves were stacked in 'stooks'. Stooks comprised of eight or so sheaves stood on their butts, the rounded side to the weather. 

Reg. H Tarrant

Reg. H Tarrant of Crown Farm is engaged on this activity in the above picture, taken probably in the 1950s. The sheaves were then collected and built into ricks, often on the actual corn field, sometimes back in the farm, until the corn could be threshed and the straw baled.

Skilfully built and thatched ricks were a common site in South Field along the Eton Wick Road and on the farms. The photograph below shows Reg. J A Tarrant of Saddocks Farm as a toddler c1930 in Saddocks rick yard; probably these ricks were thatched by Reg's elder brother Cyril. (The two Reg's were first cousins, sons of George and Arthur, respectively). 

Reg. J.A. Tarrant

This article was first published in A Pictorial History of Eton Wick & Eton.

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