During the Second World War, the Ministry of Agriculture had to ensure that all holdings of three acres or more were being sufficiently efficient and productive. The need to monitor agricultural productivity meant that parish lists, compiled in June 1940, of farmers and their addresses survive in Class MAF65 at The National Archives. These are arranged by county and then parish. Surveys were carried out between 1941 and 1943, leading to the creation of a series of documents for each farm that are now in Class MAF32. The records are arranged by parish and the three sets of forms that resulted are bundled separately. There is also a collection of maps in Class MAF73, which show the farms that were included.
The first form, B496/E.1, gives the address, the Ordnance Survey map reference, the owner, the occupier, the form of tenure and details of whether the farmer was full or part time. It also gives the farmer’s other occupation if applicable. In addition, it records details of any other landholdings, the situation, access, type of soil, land use and the number of cottages associated with farm. The condition of the buildings, fences, drains and ditches are also described. Form C51/554 lists the crops grown and C188.8.131.52 gives information about labourers, automotive power, rent and length of occupancy. Sadly, some of these forms were sparingly completed.
The National Archives also hold parish level statistics relating to the numbers of farmers and farms, the acreages of crops and pasture and the number of livestock. These are in Class MAF68. They date from 1866 but were not compulsory until 1917.
We have copies of records for a few Buckland Brewer farms and hope to copy the remainder next time one of our researchers is able to get to the National Archives.