The Improvement improved, BY A SECOND EDITION OF The great Improvement of Lands BY CLOVER: OR, The Wonderful Advantage by, and right management of CLOVER.

BY ANDREW YARRANTON of Ashley, in the County of Worcester.

LONDON: Printed by J. C. for Francis Rea, Bookseller in Worcester. 1663.


Honest Countryman,

ONe sight of this ensuing Pla [...] discourse of Clo­ver, will convince thee I intend not to interrupt thy honest Labours with a few empty words to no purpose. Had I the art to garnish my discourse with Rhe­torical flourishes of wit, I should hold it as unsutable to the temper of my ho [...]est plain Cou [...]y [...], as it is to my present design, which is to give you my best di­rections how you may make the best of your Lands. To perswade men by arguments to improve their Estates, is to suppose [Page]them fools or mad-men: those that are in their wits, (that is, are wise) need not arguments; those that are otherwise, must be otherwise dealt with. I suppose you are all so far convinced that the right manage­ment of your Husbandry is your concern­ment, that my directions will be accepta­ble, if I shew you how it may be done. And though in this little book I confine myself to one sort of Husbandry (which is as useful and profitable as any other) yet here it will not be unseasonable if I caution you to beware of these four great obstructions to good Husbandry in the ge­neral, especially since they are injurious to this Husbandry amongst the rest.

1. The first is Ignorance, either of the nature of our Land, or what improvement it is capable of; the fittest Seed for it, and season of Plowing, Sowing, laying down, and breaking up Land; drawing Meadows and waterish Ground, destroy­ing Weeds and Vermine, raising Manure, planting Woods, with many other such [Page]parts of Husbandry; wherein it's true e­very Husband hath some knowledge, but many have little more then their Fa­thers left them: and how wilfully ignorant are many men of that advantagious art of improving land by floating it with water! though this improvement is so great, and many mens lands lie most visibly conve­nient for it, yet the owners of them (though many of them are men ingenious in other matters) do not discern it.

I write not this to upbraid any: for I believe we have as good husbandry in England, as is in most parts; and our knowled [...]e therein is much improved of late: but I know there would be much more advantage to our selves, and to the Publick, by our estates and good hus­bandry, if we did better observe those ad­vantages that lie before us, and better in­form our selves how to make the best use of them. I wonder that any man that knoweth what true Husbandry meaneth, should think that Son to be sit for Hus­bandry, [Page]whom he taketh to be scarcè capa­ble of any other imployment: Husbandry is not so easie a matter as some men ima­gine. The unjust censures that mens ignorance hath brought upon the improve­ment of Lands by Clover, I will not men­tion, because I finde of late men have bet­ter [...]it the way of managing it to its credit.

2. The second obstruction to good Hus­bandry and improvement of Lands, is a too stiff adhering to old Customs. I have many times wondred at the wilfulness of the Irish and Welch-men, who have many old Customs in their plowing, sowing, drawing with Withes, &c. It can scarce be believed that men should be guilty of such folly as you may see amongst them: Neither can you imagine how difficult it is to bring them off these old dotages: and though our English husbandmen are wiser, better husbands, and have cast off may of those old Customs; yet we are in many things as culpable as they, in re­taining [Page]those Usages and methods in Hus­bandry which never any man pretended any good reason for, but were introduced when men were most ignorant, as a meer shift for that time onely; and were handed from one to another, till they had got the venerable name of Antiquity; especially with those men who (as King Henry the eighth saith) will not leave an old Mumpsimus for a new Sumpsimus. Our Fathers worshiped in this mountain, and our Husbandry was thus managed before we were born, are arguments against which there is no disputing.

I am not willing to uncover our Fathers nakedness, else I could give you too many instances, wherein we have little reason to imitate them. How careful were they (in the case before mentioned) with all possible speed, by private gutters and ditches, and other means, to convey away all rivulets, landslouds, or other helps for floating their Lands, as though they [Page]could not be too soon rid of them; when­ [...]s they might have made an unspeakable advantage by them, in floating their lands! and how hard is it, and hath it been, to disswade men from following their exam­ple, or to step one foot out of the com­mon road! Why should we trouble our selves (say they) to Float, or Clover our Land? our Fathers lived well without these new inventions, and so may we. Thus some men keep the old road, till the whole Country is convinced there is a neerer and better way; and then it's ten to one they as much abhor the old as they did the new. But my ad­vice to thee (Country-man) is, in thy Husbandry, quarrel with nothing meer­ly because it is new; esteem nothing meerly because it is old: let thy Reason judge; and when there is like reason for both, preser the old; but let not an old Custome prevail against the Truth and Reason.

3. The third Obstruction to good [Page]Husbandry and improvement of Land, is a timerous unseasonable withholding our stock, when it may be laid out to great advantage: this we call pen­ny-wise, and pound-foolish, or loosing a good Sheep for a half-penny worth of Tar. And this is ei­ther in our common Husbandry, when we will not be at a little cost, though we are almost sure of a great advantage; and to save a little money, loose much more. It is but a lazie contentment, to be con­tent with what the Land will yeild us, without our cost and pains. 2. Some men are affraid of adventures (as they call it) though the case is never so plain, until o­thers have broke the Ice for them; and so either loose that opportunity they might have improved, or are discouraged by some petty miscarriages or inconveni­ences which seem only to attend their un­dertaking.

He that is affraid of venturing 12 lb of Clover-seed upon an Acre of Ground, [Page](that is fit for it) the price of seed being so low, and the advantage so great and cer­tain, let him lay down his Land without it, and at the three years end compare his own with his Neighbours profit who made that adventure.

4. The fourth Obstruction to good Husbandry and improvement of Land, is mens undertaking more then they can well manage: how often do men that could not live upon a great Farm, thrive upon a less! the reason of this may be, either through the incapacity of the Husband­man, or want of stock. As he shall never improve his Lands to the best, nor be ex­emplary in good Husbandry, that wants a stock to bear him out in his underta­kings; so he that hath a great Farm, and a stock sutable to it, but wants skill and discretion to manage it, I advise him to make the first improvement upon his Understanding: but if that cannot be, let him get an honest and skilful Hus­bandman to do that which himself can­not [Page]do; or let him set his great Farm, and take a less; and he may be sure of this, at least, his money will hold out the longer.

I could give you many instances, and shew you more particularly in each of these four Observations, how they hinder all improvements in the ge­neral, especially the improvements of Clover; but it would be too large for my Epistle.

Countryman, thou hast here the best directions (I think) the Country can afford thee; though it may be thou mayest meet with some judicious person that can better instruct thee: if thou doest, take his advice, and much good may it do thee. But lest the extraor­dinary profit of Clover should make thee too serious in the pursuit of it, I present thee for thy recreation with a sew Verses an honest Countryman of ours gave me, who it's like had tasted somewhat of the profit of it.

I have here endeavoured (by discove­ring) to remove those four Obstructions to good Husbandry and improvements: the last mentioned is, want of money; which, if thou observe the directions of this book, will (by Gods blessing upon thy la­bours) be speedily removed.

Andrew Yarranton.

Folium in Trifolium ENCOMIASTICON.

WHen Poets call for aid, do they invoke
The oyl of Barley, Hopps, or Indian smoke?
Must Bacchus fill their veins? these drown & smo­ther,
And dull their wits: give me the oyl of clover:
One drop of which contains such vertue in it,
It makes a perfect Poet in a minute.
I crave no aid; give me the Gooses quill
That's fed with Clover, and I'll try my skill.
With what delight and pleasure have I seen
The barren pastures cloathed all in green!
Where neither Grass nor Corn would grow before,
It hath of Honey suckles planted store.
A barren Farm (with speed) you'll fruitful call,
If thus you quilt one quarter of the ball.
The green Leaf is an object for your eyes;
The Flower for your taste, where honey lies:
The savour on't exceeds the sweetest Roses;
It brings these fragrant pastures to our Noses.
The sound of Gain, to please our hearing tendeth;
But feeling best its object apprehendeth.
It fills each Sense with Joy, our Purse with Mony;
Our Land (like Canaan) flows with mike and hony:
It brings us store of Butter and of Cheese,
It feeds our Sheep, our Turkeys and our Geese;
It feeds our Horses, Oxen, and our Kine,
(And that with speed) our Pigs do feed like Swine.
Fat Beef and Bacon now shall be our fare;
And with Westphalia-gammons we'll compare.
The Milk-maid hath her wish, her Pails it fills
Just at the Dayry door, such store it yeilds.
Our Tenant-squeezing-landlords thirst's appeas'd,
Our g [...]mbling Tenant's racking Rent is oas'd;
The Land, that once we thought not worth our sow­ing,
For three years time stands to't with six times mow­ing.
From wet and weeping land it wipes the tears,
It makes the Wheat and Rie fall to't by th'ears.
But Wheat-land must not now contend with Rie­land;
Our water'd Meadows date not vie with dry-land;
Nor can our richest Vales (whose deeper soyle
Yeil [...]s Ceres her full sacrifice with toyle)
Vie henceforth with the Rie land in their wealth,
More then they justly could before for health
For though we yeeld that Wheat's the better grain,
That's better Land, that yields the greater gain:
And sure I am, here is a reason why
Our Meadows are below the land that's dry.
Of Weeders Weed-hooks now we have no need;
It saves our three years plowing, and our seed.
Our Land, when Clover leaves it, yeilds such store,
As though it had not yeild us ought before;
The root whereof doth so manure our Land,
It fills our Binders arms, our Reapers hand:
Such vertue these three leaves do leave behinde them,
That yeeld such mighty Sheaves we cannot binde them.
The charge of Hop-yards doth quite blast the gain,
From other blasts if any thing remain;
And commonly to him, whose hopes defend
On Hopps, they prove but bitter in the end,
But Three-leav'd-grass soon yeelds a threefold profit:
Three Volumes may be writ in pr [...]ise of it.
B [...]t to conclude; thy purse will ne'er run over
Till thou hast got the art of sowing Clover,

THE Contents of the BOOK.

  • 1. THe reason why some that have used Clover, have not found profit by it.
  • 2. Clover doth not impove­rish, but improve the Land.
  • 3. What are the fittest Lands to sow Clover upon.
  • 4. The profit that is to be raised by this Husbandry.
  • 5. When, how much, and how to sow Clover-seed.
  • [Page]6. Directions for mowing, making, and using the Hay.
  • 7. What Cattle are fittest to grase it with.
  • 8. The Authors readiness to give any man further satisfacti­on, and to prove the truth of what he affirmeth by visible Ex­periments.
  • 9. Where the Seed that is good and new may be had.

The great Improvement of Land by Clover.

IN my former Discourse of Clover, I gave you a short accompt of the per­sons that have writ on this subject, and when this husbandry was first set on foot in England; the repetition of which, for brevity sake I shall omit, and onely give you an accompt of some of their observations and e [...]periments, as I finde them pertinent to the method I intend in this little book. And this I do, because I finde some will not take the pains, others cannot spare the time, which the reading of those books doth require: but whoso­ever pleaseth to read those former writings about Clover, and compare their experi­ence with ours of late, will see much of the [Page 2]reason, why that husbandry seemed to be wholly disused for a time. For though those Gentlemen writ very well, conside­ring it was in the infancy of Clover in Eng­land; yet they came far short of that know­ledge, which men (less ingenious) have of late attained to by practice and experi­ence; so that the first directions from those men were not what now may be given.

Those improvements of Land, which are now much used, and applauded amongst us, were once as much decryed (as ever Clover hath been) before we well under­stood them. And what improvement (e­ven to admiration) have some men made of their Estates, by such ways and means as seemed improbable to such men, who in a short time have followed their examples, when they have seen th [...] successes; where­as, if by any accident [...] miscarriage in the management of it they have seen the first authours in any measure fallen short of that profit propounded to themselves, they would presently have cried out against the whole, and abhorred the thoughts of any further tryal, in stead of inquiring wherein the miscarriage lay, and endeavouring to prevent it in the next essay: such is the [Page 3]unreasonable impatience of some men, not considering that knowledge in all arts, espe­cially in Husbandry, is attained by in­dustry, observation, often practice, and patience. Though we now know much more of the nature of Clover, then we did a few years since, and the whole Country is very much convinced of the extraordinary profit, and usefulness of it; yet a few years practice more, will give us much more light into it.

I remember about two years ago, it was objected by some (of which I hear nothing now in these parts) that some, that did sow this Seed, have left off the sowing of it, not finding that profit in it, which is talked of. It is true; and it is as true, that many men after they have some time used and im­ployed themselves in trades that are very advantagious, and by which others have got great Estates, yet finding no profit to be got by them (as they conceive) have disused the said Trades, and betaken them­selves to other imployments; when indeed the fault was not in the Trade, but in the person or management of it.

About 13 years since, Sir Richard Weston by observation, and discouse with Mer­chants [Page 4]and others in his travels in Flanders and Brabant, and other parts, found that there was very great profit raised out of poor and barren Lands, by sowing it with Clover: whereupon he set on foot that Husbandry herein his own Country, and in a little time it so spread it self, that there was some of it (more or less) sowed in most Counties in England: and as it began, so it continued in some repute for a time, but shortly after some began to be discou­raged, and at last it was in a great measure laid asid: & indeed it was almost impossible it should be otherwise, for it was then un­der these (amongst other) disadvantages.

1. First, it was then a new, and for­raign sort of Husbandry, and therefore suspected; and suspition ever aggravates e­very little inconvenience to the damage, and taketh no notice of what is for the cre­dit of that which is suspected.

2. The Seed was dea [...], worth two shil­lings the pound, so that then it was chargeable trying experiments to finde out the nature of it: and if any man failed, he was exasperated by his loss to speak the worst of it.

3. In all trials there must be many [Page 5]miscarriages, all men (almost) here in England being ignorant how to manage it: and hence it is: First, instead of 12 li. they sow but 5 or 6 li. upon an Acre, so that it was a wonder if any came up, that the natural Grass and Weeds did not choak it all.

Secondly, some sowed upon extream wet, and gawled Land, which retaineth the wet; and others upon extream binding clay Land, which will not bear it, and wherein it could never get any good root­ing.

Thirdly, some buried it all in the sowing and harrowing; and some, lest they should bury it, did not sufficiently cover it; and of this the Birds had more then their share.

Fourthly, some sowed it upon such Land as had not strength enough to bear any thing; for men had a conceit, that it would grow upon any Land, though never so poor; and in this also many times it must fail them: for though it would bring ad­vantage upon such Land, as would scarce yeeld our rent in grass, or pay our charge and rent in tillage; yet we must not expect that profit upon poor Land, which may be [Page 6]raised upon better, until it's brought into a better capacity by good Husbandry: and there is some Land, which will bear no­thing in the condition it is in.

Fifthly, some destroyed it immediately after it came up out of the ground, while it was tender, by the grazing and treading of Cattle. I might mention many more, as mixing the Seed with Sand, sowing upon Land wherein the natural Grass was not sufficienty destroyed by tillage, or upon Land that was not well prepared before, I mean, not mellow and made fine, for it de­lights much in a soft bed.

Sixthly, and some, through ignorance of the danger, put their Oxen and Kine hasti­ly into it, whereby they have sustained loss. Many such disparagements through our ignorance and unskilfulness hath it met with to it's detriment.

Seventhly, especially, the Seed was very bad; where one pound was good (I think I may say) three was either old, mixt, cor­rupted at Sea, or afterwards at Land by bad keeping it; and many men, to save something in the price, bought such Seed as was worth nothing. I am apt to think, that one of the greatest discredits this Hus­bandry [Page 7]hath met with, hath been from the Seed: it were too long to tell you, what en­vious base arts were used in Flanders and other parts (as Kiln-drying, &c.) to pre­vent our having good Seed, lest we should get the perfect art of Clover, as well as they: so that much of the Seed being bad, never came up; and being dear, the loss was great, and the disappointment no less, and in this case, the Country had no remedy, not knowing good Seed from bad, but must take such they could get, or none; which made many (after a few trials) disuse it, rather then run the hazard of such chargeable adventures. Now to pre­vent these or any other obstructions for the future, the following directions are in­tended; and Seed, that is certainly good and new, will be sold at the places hereaf­ter mentioned.

But in regard it hath been objected, that Clover doth improverish the Land (though experience hath fully answered this ob­jection with us) I crave your patience, while I give answer to it; for the sake of such, who have not had Clover amongst them long enough, to make a sufficient tri­al of it, so as to know the truth whether it do or not.

Clover doth not improverish, but improve the Land it groweth on.

IT is objected, Clover doth improverish the Land.

1. And first, suppose it do, it is beyond all doubt it doth, while it groweth, yeeld such advantage, as doth much more then recompence the damage.

2. Corn doth improverish the Land, yet this shall not discourage me from sow­ing it.

3. If Clover do abate somewhat of the heart of the Land, yet it utterly destroyeth all Weeds, Fern and Broom, which I think is no small disadvantage, and brings the ground into a fresh capacity of tillage; which cannot be done by laying down your Land without Clover, except it lie longer then it need to do; and for the first and se­cond year it yeelds you very little, and ma­ny grounds, if they be not layn down in good heart, yeeld almost nothing for the three first years, all which time Clover yeelds a very great advantage, and by that time [Page 9]is almost ready for a second breaking up, if you desire it.

4. Fourthly, but herein hath been a ve­ry great mistake, and this Husbandry hath unjustly passed under this censure: It doth not impoverish, but improve the Land; for if you graze it altogether as some do, the ground maintains so many more Cattle then what it did before, that puts the que­stion out of doubt: if you mow it once a year, and graze the rest; so many Cattle as it will require to keep it down, will suf­ficiently manure your Land: if you mow twice a year, it helps you to keep so many the more Cattle in the house, whose dung if it were laid upon the same Land would add more heart and vertue to it, they your two crops of Clover took from it. In my former Book I mentioned some other rea­sons, and I am now more fully convinced, that the leaves, which will unavoydably fall from it, do very much inrich the Land; you may many times see the ground black over with them; and it is very observable, how the ground in the absence of these leaves is covered over with some lower branches of the Clover, which spread them­selves, and rot upon the ground, whilst [Page 10]the top or upper branches flourish; and the Clover is much inriched by this conna­tural food, viz. a corruption of a super­fluous part of the plant: for I perceive the Land doth receive wonderful advan­tage by these leaves and branches; and as the leaves and branches, so the root doth very much contribute towards the inrich­ing of the Land; and the truth is, since our Country by experience hath been convin­ced, that the Land by Clover is much bet­tered, they have for the most part ascribed it to the long and large root which this plant leaves in the Land. But it is Experi­ence, that must resolve us in this case, (and indeed so it hath) though there is reason e­nough against this objection; he that hath sowed Clover, and had the profit of it three or four years, and then hath sowed Corn, till be come to lay down his Land with Clover again, is most like to give the truest answer to this question. I confess, I had a great desire to be resolved in this point, and to that end, I have made all the trials I could for this 5 years, and have observed others Clover Husbandry, and Co [...]n after it, and have put some upon the tryal of it, by sowing Corn just after it: and truly, though [Page 11]at first I was of the objectors opinion, yet by my experience and observation I am convinced of the contrary; and I cannot upon inquiry finde any one judicious per­son (that hath for any competent time used this Husbandry) but he is fully satisfied, that Clover leaves the Land better then it found it. It were too long to tell you, what many men, with whom I have discoursed, have told me, who were once discouraged by this objection, but are now upon trial ful­ly satisfied. If you peruse any writings a­bout Clover, you will finde, that in the first trials of it in England, those Gentlemen that then wrote, found, that it did im­prove the Land. Mr. Walter Blith tells us that Clover hath this property, after 3 or 4 years it doth so frame the earth, that it is much the fitter for Corn, in his Impro­ver improved, pag. 104. Sir Richard Weston saith, the Land being ploughed after Clover, it will yeeld 3 or 4 years together rich crops of Wheat, and after that a crop of Oats; with which you may lay it down again with Clo­ver. These are his own words. I could give you many more answers and experiments that may fully satisfie any that yet doubt, but that I perceive there is no need with [Page 12]us; and therefore I leave you to expe­rience, which hath convinced many, that otherwise would not be satis­fied.

And though I think no reasonable man can object, yet if any should imagine that it would abate our tillage of Corn, it were easie to make it out that it will much increase it: for a third part of that ground you are forced to lay down for grass to maintain your Cattle, wherewith to Till your Land, will maintain them; so that you may Till much more of your Land, then before you could. I can make it appear, six Acres of Land in Clover will keep as ma­ny Cattle, as thirty Acres of natural grass; and besides, your Land need not now lie out of tillage, so long as it was wont to do; but once in four or five years you may break it up, and it shall be as sit for tillage, as though it had lain 20 years with natural grass. The case indeed is so plain, that I need not trouble you with an answer to this conceit.

What are the fittest Lands to sow Clover upon.

IN my former Book, you have an ac­count of the fittest Lands for this Hus­bandry; and as they are the Lands most fit, so it is Land that may be best spared, especially at the time when it is to be Clo­vered, viz. when you are to lay it down for grass, for the two first years it yeelds very little profit. I finde upon my observation in general, all garvelly dry Land is good for this purpose; especially, if it be limed well before, and be Land that is not very poor, nor extreamly out of heart; but if it be in good heart, and be worth nine or ten shillings the Acre, the profit of it will be the greater and more certain. It is a con­ceit directly against reason and experience, that the barrenest and poorest Lands are fittest for Clover: for though it will grow upon very poor Land that hath been limed, and will raise very great profit, yea, and poor Land without lime, with a little good Husbandry by Clover, will yeeld good [Page 14]advantage; yet we must not think the poorer the Land is, the fitter it is for Glover: though Clover is the best improvement of barren Land, yet poor and barren Land is not best for Clover. But as for the parti­cular Lands that are fit for this Husbandry, I say,

1. First, it is beyond all doubt, that the best and fittest Land is that which hath been in tillage about six or eight years, that hath been well limed, and is dry and gravelly, and not apt to bear its natural grass the first and second year.

2. A second sort is a broomy and fearny dry Land, that hath been well limed, and hath been in tillage six or eight years.

3. A third sort is mixt Land, that is na­turally dry, that hath been limed, and that lieth dry in the Winter.

4. A fourth sort is Rie-land, which is drie and sandy, which also hath been limed.

I take these four sorts of Land to be fittest for Clover; and though I mention them all as limed, yet in those parts where no lime can be had at reasonable rates, and they have any of these four [Page 15]sorts of Land, Clover will yeeld them a ve­ry great advantage: for these Lands are in their own nature very fit for Clover, and it groweth very well upon it, where there hath been no lime; yet, I advise you to use lime where it is to be had.

I have endeavoured to finde out the reason, why Clover doth so extreamly thrive upon limed Land, rather then upon the same Land when it hath not been limed; which experience doth fully convince us, is true, and for which many reasons are assigned. That it is so, none de­ny: and why it is so, I have given you some account in my other book.

There are two other sorts of Land that bear Clover.

1. Land that is of a mixt nature, and that hath somewhat more of clay in it, then the third sort of Land before mentioned; whose clods are apt to fall in pieces, in a wet time, and is not subject to cling­ing.

2. Secondly, Clay-land that is not sub­ject to retain the wet, and that lieth upon a shut, so that the rain and other water runneth speedily off it; which Land is much the better, if it face to the South. [Page 16]We may be so much the more confident of success upon these two sorts of Land, if they have been well limed, and we have a drie seeding time: and you must be sure to make this Land as fine, light and mellow, as you can; and when you have got Clover upon it, it will by its root and broad leaf make and keep your Land much more lighter and mellow or moustree; which will be a great advantage, when you come to sow corn again.

I have observed upon this sort of mixed and Clay-land excellent good Clover, and I know some that have a very great advan­tage upon it; yet I think the unseasona­bleness or extreamness of the weather hath a greater influence upon Clover to its detriment (in this Land) then they have in the other sorts of Land, upon my own knowledge. I say, this Land will bear it, and that with very much advantage; yet I advise the unexperienced rather to make their first trial upon one of the four sorts of Land before mentioned. I have heard of some, who falling upon this sort of Land in their essays, and either though their un­skilfulness, or some other miscarriage, it hath failed them; they have then made it [Page 17]their business to cry out against Clovering of Land in the general, or at least to per­swade men that that sort of Land will not bear it.

I do believe that there are many secrets about the Nature of Clover yet to be dis­covered, and about the fittest Lands for it; and I do not doubt but in a short time we shall attain to much more kowledge about the management of Clay Lands, so as to raise good Clover upon them: I have heard from good Authors, that in some Clay Lands (where it is not extream binding Clay) they have much success, and have made good progress in the dis­covery. I could heartily wish some inge­nious person would so far befriend the publick, as to give more full directions about Clay Land, then I can upon my own knowledge; not having the opportunity of so many trials upon that Land, as upon other Lands first mentioned.

The profit of Clover.

AS for the profit that may, and usually is made by Clover, I am at a great stand, whether I had not better wholly omit i [...], and say nothing of it: for if I tell you what I have read and heard from o­thers, I shall forfeit my credit with some, and what I affirme will be taken to be im­possible: if I tell you what I have seen, and the whole Country will subscribe to the truth of, yet it will be taken to be very impossible with many, especially those which have not seen it: and if report the advantages to be less, it is a detraction; and though I should then speak the truth, yet it is not all the truth. I am resolved to speak within compass; and if I erre, it shall be on the safer hand, and herein I shall be the sooner pardoned.

The first sort of Land it is dry, gravelly, and limed; supposing it to be in heart, it yeilds to Graze or Mow, at least Three pounds each Acre per annum.

The second sort was broomy or fear­ny Land limed: this Land in Clover is (at [Page 19]least) worth Four mark each Acre per annum.

The third and fourth sorts of Land is mixt Land, naturally dry, and Rye Land; which Clovered, is (at least) worth Forty shillings per Acre.

Many persons have offered to give me a particular account of the money they have raised out of several pieces of Clever, which amounts to more then I have men­tioned: and I know the benefit in some parts will be very great, where Grass is much wanting; especially, in the midst of Summer, when all other Grass is burned up. So far as I can understand the nature of this Plant, it seems to be designed on purpose for those Countries where natu­ral Grass is wanting, and for a supply where the Sun hath burnt up their grass in the midst of Summer: for as the Land in those parts is fittest for Clover; (bearing little natural grass) so Clover is fittest for those Lands; which indeed, is the best improvement can be made of them. There is a GentlemanSir John Win­ford late high Sheriff. my neighbour, that hath a­bout sixty Acres (and I know of several parcels) sowed with [Page 20] Clover-seed, being very barren gravelly Land; which Land if laid down to bear natural Grass, is not worth above four shillings six pence the Acre at most, here with us; and I know there hath been made of it at least forty five shillings per annum, upon each Acre by Clover. As also, Mr. Thomas Hill a Grazier, can give you an ac­count of the profit of it, whom you may see in most of the Fairs in Worcester-shire, Stafford-shire, or Shrop-shire. I sowed a­bout sixteen Acres with Barley, and after my Barley I had about Michaelmas a great After-math, into which I turned by way of Tack about forty Hoggs, at six pence per the week; and for that time I had about four pound ten shillings for Tack of Swine, which I thought was pretty well for an After-math; and take my Land to be much bettered by the dung of so many Piggs. Had I let this Land lie to bear na­tural Grass, it would not have brought me five pounds in the two first years; and as to bear Corn, it would not any longer to any advantage, being worn out with liming and long tillage. This I mentioned in my Book last year, to which I could adde this years experience: but to give you the [Page 21]particulars of it were too long: in a word, it was answerable to my expectations, and such as you will scarce believe, except you saw it, or had had some experience of this Husbandry your self. If the After-math in the first quarter after the Barley is cut yeild such advantage, you may guess what the next years profit may be. I would not have spent so many words about the ad­vantage of Clover, but that it's more then possible my Book may fall into the hands of some that either have not seen it grow­ing, or have not had that opportunity of knowing the profit of it, as all men have here about us, if they will take any notice of their neighbours Lands.

When, how much, and how to sow Clever.

FOr the time of sowing it, in my for­mer Book I told you that the best sea­son is from the 10th. of March, to the lat­ter end of April; but I hold it best in March, because the seed may have time to root before the drought catch it. Since [Page 22]I wrote my last Book I have made several trials, I have sowed some in every week in August and September, and I do intend to trie a good quantity, to sow it in the middle or rather in the beginning of Au­gust, for I perceive that doth exceeding well which is then sowed: and I begin to think that after a little time, the Country will be much inclined to that season as the best. If any person please to make trial, I advise him to order his ground according to this direction, and I dare almost war­rant it shall thrive. So soon as your Bar­ley or your Pease is taken off your Land, plough it with a narrow round furrow, that so all the pelfe and weeds may be bu­ried; then harrow your Land, and lay it as plain and as fine as may be, and pick off the stones; then sow the seed (with­out any corn in it or before it) according to the following directions. Keep your Land well inclosed, that it may not be trod upon by any cattel till about the middle of April; then Graze it if you will, or keep it a little longer and Mow it. I sowed last year about eight Acres without any Grain, or any thing else upon the ground with it, and it thrives very well; but it [Page 23]was sowed in April, and I conceive if it had been sowed in August it had been much better; and amongst others, one reason why I conceive sowing in August is best, is, because I find one great enemy to Clo­ver is natural Grass: Now if the seed be sowed in August, it will have taken root and be able to bear out the winter; and when the spring cometh it will be so high and forwardly, that it will be able to co­ver all the ground, and shade and keep down that grass which else would be in­jurious to it.

For the quantity of seed I need say but little, for all men are now convinced of the error in sowing six or eight pound upon an Acre; and I cannot hear of any that sow less then twelve pound, some sow fourteen pound, and some sixteen pound: I have my self sowed sixteen pound upon an Acre: but for your directions herein, I shall onely give you the very words of my last Book. The quantity of seed that I do prescribe to sow one Acre, is twelve or thirteen pound: it's true, formerly they did not sow above six pound of seed upon an Acre, but I finde by practice, that no less then twelve pound must be sowed: [Page 24]for when but six pound was used to be sowed, then the natural grass did present­ly abound, and the branches did grow into great stalks, whereby the Clover grass did soon decay, and the grass was course; but now by sowing twelve pound upon an Acre, you do prevent the natural grass, which is a great enemy to the Clover; as al­so, sowing thick doth make the grass the finer, and by consequence sweeter, and it doth also by its thickness and shade, kill all Broom and Fearn, and other weeds; which a good husbandman knows are great ad­vantages to the Land, in order to the next breaking up for Corn: therefore, I de­sire that all would sow twelve pound on each Acre.

As for the manner of sowing it, I do not by any means approve of the mixing it with Sand, or any thing else; I shall not trouble you with reasons against it, because it is now wholly laid aside: the Country is sensible of the great hazard and incon­venience of it: my direction therefore is, if you sow in August, let your ground be ploughed as aforesaid, and made as e­ven, fine and plain, as one plowing and har­rowing will well make it; then sow your [Page 25]Seed thus: put about so much as will sow one Land into a bowl, or some such thing, holding it in your left hand, or un­der your left arm; and with your right hand sow it as you do Corn, taking it be­tween your two forefingers and thumb; and according to your best skill divide your Seed, so as that every place may have its share: wherein you must observe that the wind be not too high, and so to or­der your Seed, that the wind do not drive it together in heaps. If you sow it after Barley, prepare your Land, and make it sowed and well harrowed, sow your Clover Seed either the same day, or two or three days after; then line your Harrows with a Bush, so that they may not go above two inches in the ground; and if good part of the Bush hangs behind the Harrows, it will be much the better. I have sometimes sowed when the Barley hath been two inches above the ground, and onely rolled the Barley, and herein I have had good success; but I approve not this way, except in case of necessity: for if drie weather come immediately upon it, it will not be sufficiently covered. I finde [Page 26]by experience, that it is much better to sow Clover with Barley, when you lay down your Land, rather then with Oats; and if I mistake not, the Clover will be much the better: it will not be labour lost, if you take notice of the birds, lest they devour the Seed so soon as it is sowed.

Directions for mowing, making and u­sing the Hay.

THe best time to mow Clover-grass, is about the beginning of June, for the first cutting of it; and in August for the se­cond cutting. In making▪ your Hay, do not shake your swathes as you do other Hay, onely turn it with as much tenderness as may be until it is fit to cock, for the leaves of it are too apt to fall, which must be prevented; for such is the vertue of them, your labour will not be lost: and if it should happen to be an extream wet time, so that you cannot make your Clover Hay as it should; if you mix it in the Rick with a little Barley or Oaten-straw, it will [Page 27]tend much to the preservation of your Hay, and in the winter will be excellent fodder: If it so happen that you have a piece of ground that you can float with water in summer, about two or three days after you have taken off your Clover-Hay, let your water run quick over your Land, and you will have speedily a wonderful burthen of Clover-Grass upon the ground. A little rain upon our Clover-Hay while it is withering, doth it no hurt, but maketh it more tough; but too much drought and heat when we out our Clover maketh our Hay too brittle, short, and apt to crumble; and I finde also the roots are much damnified by cutting Clover in a hot time. Some think it is better rick Clo­ver-Hay then house it; but that I leave to your convenience.

What Cattle are fittest to graze it with.

CLover-Grass is food for all sorts of Cattle, but you must have a special care when you first put Oxen or Kine into [Page 28]it: I have heard of some Oxen and Kine that have been put in well, and have been dead in four or five hours: but a little care doth prevent the danger. When you put them in, for the first day let them be in a­bout a quarter of an hour, the second day half an hour, the third day an hour, the fourth day an hour and a half, the fifth day about two houres, and the sixth day three hours, and the seventh day you may let them stay in without danger: you must also have a care that your Kine or Oxen drink not of two hours after they come out of the Clover: for this Grass is so sweet a feeding for them, that drinking immediately after it, they are in danger of swelling. It is excellent feeding for Oxen and Kine; and it is observed, that Kine do give more and better Milk in Clover-Grass then they do in any other; and the Butter and Cheese is much better then that which is raised upon ordinary Grass.

Horses you may put into it at any time without any danger, and it doth feed, and cure them of many diseases. Sheep may be put in without danger, and indeed it is a very expeditious way of fatting Sheep. Clover-Grass will be ready for [Page 29]them in the beginning of March, and you will finde them fat in ten weeks: some men have made good profit by this way of feeding them.

Swine you may put in at any time with­out danger, who feed and grow wonder­fully in it. To those persons who want meat for their Swine, this food will be ve­ry acceptable: and as it is a certain, cheap and speedy way of feeding Swine; so it is observed, that Swine do very much im­prove the Land, their dung being an ex­cellent manure. As for the Hay of Clover in the winter, we see that our Cattle will forsake our meadow-Hay for it, and it is with us accounted as good for a horse as ordinary Hay and Provender. I do not approve of grazing Clover in the winter, for I know it doth it much hurt; and cutting it in a very dry time is injurious to it.

To conclude this point of feeding. Reader, let me tell thee, if thou hast a good parcel of Land that is fit for Clover, and hast money to stock it as it ought to be, a better opportunity of increasing thy estate thy heart cannot desire. I know ma­ny men that have made great advantage by [Page 30] Clover, yet have not made that profit by it, which they might have done, for want of a sufficient stock to put upon it; and some men that upon very good Farms could not keep so many Cattle as their tillage did require (not having meadow-grounds) that can now keep with Clover many more, though they have much more of their ground in tillage, then they had be­fore.

I might tell you how it feeds Geese and Turkeys; but if any of it grow neer your houses, you will soon be sensible of it: and I am sure it will save much of that Corn, which is given to that sort of Poultry.

The Authors readiness to give any man further satisfaction.

IN my last, I told you that if any Gentle­man or other person desire to be fur­ther satisfied in any thing relating to this Husbandry, I should be ready to contri­bute my best assistance in order thereunto; if they please to come to my house at [Page 31] Ashley, in the Country of Worcester, there I shall be ready to shew them what experi­ments I have made, and to give them such visible arguments of the truth of what I have printed, that may convince the most incredulous. This my offer I shall God willing make good: and in my absence, Mr. Robert Vicaris my next Neighbour will be ready to perform what I have here promised.

I would have given you an account in this book of many more experiments and observations, but that it would too much enlarge this second Edition; and in that I designed this also, chiefly for Worcester-shire, Stafford-shire, Shrop-shire, and some parts of Hereford-shire; such quotations are the less necessary: for great part of the Lands in these Counties are so fit for this Husbandry, that the management of it is the less difficult; and men generally begin to be expert in it: yet such hath been the importunity of some, for my first Book (of which I have none left) that forceth me with this enlargement to reprint it, before I have performed what in it I promised, viz. A second part of the discourse of Clo­ver, and of other Lands that are fit for it; [Page 32]the delay of which I hope will be recom­penced by those trials that are now on foot upon such Lands: for if there were none of those four sorts of Land before mentioned in England, I should yet make no doubt of raising a very great profit by Clover upon many sorts of Clay, or clayish Land; and this I hope in a short time to make appear, though this Land requires somewhat more of art and patience, and may in our first essayes give us more dis­couragements then those Lands that are every way fitted for this husbandry. But my present business is to give my Country­men a remedy for his Gravelly, Dry, Sandy, or Rie Land which is worn out with tillage and liming: I know it is a common disease in these parts where lime is cheap, and the common cure is as bad as the disease it self. But Clover you will finde to be a certain, speedy, profitable cure for such Lands, for it yeelds you a great advan­tage in the interim, that is, for three or four years, and in the fifth year after is as fit for Corn as though it had lain in Grass twen­ty years. And as Clover is fittest for Land that is thus become useless, and almost un­capable of any other Husbandry with pro­fit, [Page 33]so this Land is fittest for Clover; and that which renders it unprofitable to us, viz. that it is unapt to natural Grass the two first years, doth render it most profi­table to us in Clover. And as lime by its speedy working downward, doth soon get through the uppermost part of the earth (which longer retaineth our other soyle) so the Clover doth shut its root straight downward and deep in the earth, where­by it partaketh of that vertue, which o­therwise would be lost, being got without the reach of other roots: and this may be one reason, why Land that hath been limed beareth much more Clover, then the same Land, when it hath not had lime upon it: besides, the lime doth much mellow and open our Land, whereby the Clover hath the better advantage of taking root.

I intended here to add a few Letters a­bout this Husbandry; but because they are long, I print only this ensu­ring from an ingenious Gentleman.


SInce we have had such convincing ex­perience, and have tasted the profit of Clover-Grass; we now wonder, that so great an improvement was no sooner discovered, and justly impute it to our many miscarriages in our first manage­ment of it. It was no small incourage­ment to us, when we heard and saw you had better success then we at first had; especially when we saw you so ready to communicate your experience for the publick good: to comply therefore with your desires and my own inclination to promote improvements, I have sent you some remarques of mine about this Husbandry of Clover-Grass, amongst ma­ny more, (and perhaps more considera­ble) which might be added.

I have observed the outlandish Seed to bring somewhat the broader leaf, and of a deeper green; but I know not whe­ther it be constantly so, nor whether it be better, if it be.

I can assure you from experience, that to steep the Seed (which to other grain is thought helpful) is hurtful; for [Page 35]much of the Seed will swell and break, and that in short time. Drie grounds and light are conceived most proper for this Seed; for they are soon and easily made mellow, otherwise the Clover would not take root to any purpose: but it's past doubt with me, that if strong Land and marley ground could be made fine enough (as they use to speak) that is, small, it would bring the best and most durable Clover; for we see it naturally growing on such Land: and for the preparing such Land for this end, I shall adventure to offer some­thing before I conclude. Trial would also be made in boggie grounds, for such Land once drained is exceeding light; so that if excess of moisture rot not the Clover, it must needs grow very swiftly: besides, this succulent and swift growing Grass may possibly prove a secret kind of draining to the Land: and I do the rather incourage to this trial, because I have this year in a kind of curiosity sowed Turnips on such Land with good increase, and (which may be thought strange) not any of them [Page 36]rotted, though there was no drain to the ground.

The usual time of sowing is with Bar­ley or Oats; which if late sowed, in­dangers the Seed by drought: I there­fore for trial sowed several A­cres early with pease, which grows well.

The usual way of covering it when sown, is with a bush of thorns, which yet will bury some, and leave more a­bove ground to the birds: to prevent both inconveniences, I having first sowed the Seed, caused lime newly slack­ed to be thinly sowed upon it, and the Clover grows well; and probably the lime is a further advantage then the first preservation.

To fill the ground full of Seed is now agreed the best way, though perhaps the bottome of the reason is scarce yet thought on: that the keeping the earth moist by its shade doth much good is certain, and that the keeping out other Grass doth more good, is as certain; but how it keeps out other Grass is the question, to which I cannot think it a sufficient answer, to say it doth it by [Page 37]covering the surface of the earth, but believe the cause is a little more remote from common view, viz. that the greater number of Roots there are shot down into the earth, the more do they both dispose the earth by a subtle kind of ferment or motion for their pro­per nourishment, and also the more strongly draw away that nourishment when prepared, whereby other Grass is prevented. We see things of long and spreading roots do much mellow Land below the surface, especially, if they be many together; for a few may be over­mastered by the hardness of the parts of the earth. Coppice-woods thrive well, and the thicker the more thriving, in such grounds where single bushes would not thrive at all; which also takes away the objection of such as may suppose the ground will scarce nourish so many. Perhaps you may judge these kind of reasons too fanciful; but I purpose to indulge my own conceipt so far, as to sow twenty pound weight upon an Acre, this next year.

Sowing it in rowes, and hoing it once or twice in a summer, would make it prosper [Page 38]incredibly; but that the ordinary Husbandman will never undergo the trouble of, till some more expedi­tious instrument then the common Hoe, is found out, which to an ingenious man would be a work of no great diffi­culty.

The Spring is the common season of sowing, which because it ordinarily suc­ceeds, must not be found fault with: but though that be a good time, I do not think it's the best; for the Autumn (be­sides that it is seldome or never accom­panied with drought) gives the greatest advantage of mellowing the Land, by ploughing it immediately after the grain is off: especially, if such preceding crop were Gray-pease, Buck-wheat, some broad-leafed Plant; for such do generally most conduce to mellow and meliorate Land: And this is the way I would offer for bringing stiff Lands in order for Clover: And I wish; some in­genious man would sow some (if but a little for trial sake) with his winter Corn, for I dare assure him, if no extream frost do suddenly catch it, he shall finde it the best time. And here I think it proper [Page 39]to propose the sowing of such Lands with Clover, as lie in common Fields; and such a great part of our Lands in England are, by reason whereof Hay and pasture-grounds are wanting in many places; and for remedy, they are fain to sow a great part of their Land with horse-meat, and that at a great charge; which the Team devouring next Winter, and the Family most or all the bread-Corn, the poor Farmer can hardly pay his rent, and is always kept necessitous. I think truly that for such Lands Clover is the greatest, if not only improvement: for by sowing Clover either with or without his winter Corn, the year after the fallow, he shall that year not onely have excellent fodder far beyond what ordinarily comes with Barley or Oates; but also the Clover will have gotten so good rooting, that the next winters grazing shall not destroy so much, as it doth usally that which is sown in spring; so that without further charge, he shall have a second years profit to be imploy­ed either for Hay or grazing, as his oc­casions best serve. It's easie here to foresee the objection against this course, [Page 40] viz. that so soon as the Corn is out of the field, the Clover is exposed to all the neighbourhood; and it's as easily an­swered, that though that be true, yet 1. You have the Summers profit, 2. Your Land by such grazing shall be hugely im­proved, even to recompence you suffici­ently for loss of your Clover, so that a­gainst your next tillage after the next fal­low you shall need little or no Soyl.

Having thus considered the best ways and [...]ime for sowing Clover, it will be now fit to look to the use of it: Cut­ting and giving in racks green is a known good way, and raiseth much soyle; to make it well into Hay, requires a long and dry season, yet not vehement hot, for that scorcheth the leaves, causing them to fall off, as much rain washeth out much of its sweetness; but by a gentle rain (or rather dew) they are preserved for the same reason, also it should not be unnecessarily tossed. A knowing Husbandman told me it was the best way to rake it into large rowes rather then make it into Cocks, and so let it lye in a sort open, and in the middle of the day open it a little more, [Page 41]and after all is done, it will be better put it into a Rick then into a Barn, and into an open then a close Barn. Note also, that the sooner it's spent the better, and not keep it as sometimes other Hay is kept till two years old; for the stalks of it being hollow and spungy, it cannot lie so close and other Hay, (nor is it convenient it should, except it be very well made) whereby the finer parts do exhale and fly away.

To the continuance of Clover, grazing is an enemy; but especially, in the hot­test and coldest seasons, and most of all the first year: doubtless in other pa­stures grazing killeth much, but the ground naturally sends forth more, so that we see not the defect: we see un­seasonable and immoderate cutting or biting (for as to the effect it's all one) of the strongest plants destroys them, not onely such as are young and tender (though these soonest) but even such as are in their greatest vigor: if any man then would preserve his Clover wholly from biting, (and as much from tread­ing as he could) I am confident he should finde it indure much beyond his [Page 42]expectation. And here let me acquaint you, that I once heard of a way to perpe­tuate Clover, which though it be not ve­ry likely for that purpose, yet being otherwaies useful, I here give it you. The Clover; declining, let one Crop grow to a good ripeness; which being cut and made into Hay, let it be set up in a Rick in the same ground: the following winter Fother Cattel with it all the ground over, and the Seed com­ing thence (as the Relator supposed) will new stock the ground as at first. Now this I say, that though from hence no such increase is to be expected, as from the first orderly sowing upon mel­low Land, yet the Seed so scattered up­on the Land will grow, though it will be small, and so make the pasture thicker and better then otherwise it would have been: for I once scattered some seed upon the green turfe, and it grew, but was small: besides, the Fothering will much inrich the Land.

As for the common objection, that it impoverisheth the Land, I say, first, the objection lies far stronger against til­lage, which is a far greater and more of­ten [Page 43]repeated charge. But next, I take the truth of the matter to lie here, that such as Clover very poor Land (as is most in custome) do finde their Land to come but poorly with grass, after the Clover spent; and I know not why in reason they should expect it otherwise; for so it would have been, or worse, if the Clover had not been there. If now they will either restore it its own again, that is, lay on the soyl that hath been raised from the Clover, or break it up for til­lage, they shall finde no cause to com­plain that their Land is impove­rished.

Thus Sir, have I given you such obser­vations about this matter, as I thought might tend to advance the Husbandry; which I wish, as that which will be of publick advantage.

Yours J. B.

Where the Seed that is good and new may be had.

ANd whereas I found the Country in these parts frequently disappointed in their expectations, through the badness of the Seed; I did for the last year provide a considerable quantity, of such Seed as I knew to be right good, and new; of which parcel I cannot hear of one pound that failed of coming up, though the last year we had not such seasonable weather for it, as sometimes we have had, and may hereafter expect: and in regard of some other imployment which I have undertaken, effectual care is taken by other persons for the future, to furnish these Cities, Towns, and places hereafter mentioned, with such Seed as is warranted to be good: and if the Husbandman follow the directions I have given, he hath not the least cause to doubt of success (by Gods blessing upon his indeavours) but may assure himself of [Page 45]that or more advantage then here I have propounded.

As for the price of the Seed, the last year it was sold for seven pence the pound, but I hope this year it will be sold cheaper. I have no instructions to set any certain price upon it, because the persons that un­dertake it, are resolved to sell it at the lowest price that may be, and to that end have taken order for a great quantity, by which means they themselves having it at a cheaper rate, will be able to sell it so much the cheaper in the Country. As for the persons who are by these undertakers appointed to sell this Seed, publick notice will be given by Printed papers, who they are in each of the places following, and in some other places herein not mentio­ned.

  • At
    • Worcester, Mr. Nicholas Baker
    • Ashley, Mr. Robert Viccaris
    • Beaudley
    • Kederminster
    • Bromsgrove
    • Stourbridge
    • Kinvar
    • Ombersley
    • Dudley
    • Teauxbury
    • Tamworth
    • Liechfield
    • Newport
    • Shrewsbury
    • Bridgenorth
    • Ludlow
    • Tenbury
    • Rosse
    • Dean
    • Newent
    • Sutton-cofield
    • Warsall
    • Woolverhampton
    • Brimingham
    • Hailes-owen
    • Shifnall
    • Wellington
    • Wenlock
    • Clibbery

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