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The buildings of high farming : Lincolnshire farm buildings, 1840-1910

Brook, Ann Shirley


Ann Shirley Brook


Michael E. Turner


This study examines the nature offann building provision in Lincolnshire 1840-1910, posing the questions who built what. where, when and why. Consideration of these questions is undertaken within a framework which interprets the county's nineteenth-century farm buildings as an expression of the culture of high fanning. An understanding of who was building and why is sought in an exploration of the social networks and information environment of Victorian Lincolnshire and in the pursuit of insights into the ideology which underpinned nineteenth-century agricultural improvement. The visitors' book for 1. 1. Mechi's experimental fann at Tiptree is used in an original manner for this investigation.

As a means of examining what form the buildings took, examples of steadings erected by various types of landowner, at different times and in locations representing the diversity of land types in the county, have been recorded. In addition to furthering our understanding of the nature of the buildings of high farming, the results of this fieldwork contribute to the record of this important, but ephemeral, aspect of the landscape of the county.

A major body of quantifiable evidence, 675 land improvement loan records, is examined A. D. M. Phillips has interrogated this material and current findings are compared with Phillips' conclusions. The aim is to investigate further the temporal and spatial distribution of fann building activity in Lincolnshire and to identify who was investing. An attempt is also made to use these data to explore motives for building. A new source of information; the borrowing for agricultural buildings, by clergy, under the provisions of the Mortgages Under Gilbert's Acts, is also considered.

Farm building activity on the Tumor estate is examined as a case study which explores how improvement loan capital was invested in one particular instance. Borrowing continued until the early 20thC, suggesting that investment in farm buildings was not limited to the buoyant years of the mid-nineteenth century but was ongoing in depression. However, after 1880, the amounts borrowed and the nature of the works undertaken, changed significantly.

In order to investigate building activity in depression, a further body of evidence is considered. This is the cartographic record represented by the first and second editions of the 25 inch, County Series, Ordnance Survey. A methodology was devised for assessing the nature and extent of farm building activity between the two surveys. The results are examined in the context of Jonathan Brown's analysis of the June Returns 1875-1900. By this means, the nature of farm building activity and its variations across the different land-type zones of Lincolnshire, in the Great Depression, are identified.

Whereas the emphasis in Chapters 2-5 of the thesis is on the creation of a record of significant Lincolnshire steadings, seeking to understand them in their social, ideological and economic context, the focus in Chapter 6 is more specifically on the agricultural context of the buildings.


Brook, A. S. (2005). The buildings of high farming : Lincolnshire farm buildings, 1840-1910. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords History
Public URL
Additional Information Department of History, The University of Hull
Award Date Dec 1, 2005


Thesis (51.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2005 Brook, Ann Shirley. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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