chapter  2
13 Pages

Farm work

After the harvest was over, gleaning would commence; its fruits - the bassings, gleanings or leasings - in the case of barley would be fed to pig or chickens if the family owned them. Corn gleaning, the gathering of ears of corn left by the reaper, was baken very seriously because if a family worked hard enough, they would be able to gather sufficient corn to supply them with bread during the winter months. The corn would be sent to the miller, who would grind it, keeping some as his payment; then the flour would be brought back and baking would commence. Gleaning was very much the work of the women and children, though others, it seems, would join in too: the Agricultural Employment Commissioners were told by a Lincolnshire doctor in 1867: ‘One of the greatest sources of evil is gleaning. Young and old are congregated together in one field, and the greatest immorality results.’46