We Plough the Fields and Scatter

Words by:
Tessa Macklam Auctioneer & Valuer John Taylors, Louth
Featured in:
November 2010

I thought it would a good opportunity to celebrate the agricultural merits of the county and to share with you a few agricultural treasures that have appeared in the saleroom over the last few years. We have sold a wide and varied selection of items relating to our county’s agricultural history and it is fascinating to see what continues to turn up.
The county of Lincolnshire is noted for its agricultural heritage and rich soil and the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society (which celebrated its 140th anniversary last year) is known as organiser of the annual Lincolnshire Show. Between 1870 – 1957 shows moved around the county gradually increasing in size until a permanent site was found in 1959. A 1907 programme for the Royal Show held in Lincoln achieved a hammer price of £150 when it surfaced a few years ago with postcards of the Show’s arrival in Louth in 1909 always attracting interest; both the Cornmarket and Market Place were decorated with palm trees, large stones and impressive floral displays – even temporary monumental arches were erected to welcome the crowds to the town. A selection of leather Lincolnshire Agricultural Society judges badges from the early 1900s was one of the more unusual lots with many badges having been discarded shortly after each event this lot reached £70.

Paper ephemera including books and photographs are often passed down through families and a framed ploughing certificate dated 1906 and presented by the Lindum Plough Works of Lincoln was a real talking piece and realised £55. It is often interesting to receive unidentified rural scenes with threshing machines, old tractors and farmers at work – these always prompt much discussion at viewing and for many bring back childhood memories. Last year we were able to celebrate Lincolnshire longwools as two fantastic black and white photographs depicting flocks of these sheep were sold for £50 each. A selection of rosettes and flock books for the same breed were also an interesting entry which found a buyer at £55. In the silver section cups awarded such as Fat Stock trophies not only hold their intrinsic value but often detail many farming generations and have been eagerly sought by local families tracing their lineage.

The silver pocket watch (illustrated) was a particular favourite depicting a scene often entitled “Speed the Plough”. Not only does this capture the essence of the Lincolnshire countryside it was made by Louth watch maker B Musson and after considerable interest sold for £410. Other horse related items over the years have included brasses, hay racks, saddles, even ploughs and carts.

Advertising signs are a perennial favourite at auction and those that are agriculture related are equally sought after; “Dennis’s Pig Powders” is always a welcome addition to the sale with the last one realising £150. Agricultural implements often turn up in old sheds and barns and over the years yokes, dyking spades, tractor seats, butter and milk churns to name but a few have graced our courtyard and although the 21st century saleroom is not complete without computers and internet bidding we still retain the essence of the provincial market town auctioneers that was established over 150 years ago and we shall celebrate this once again this month.

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