Farming in Colton
Farming in Colton
Colton lies on top of a bed of Kauper Marl which is a rich clay soil. That means it is highly fertile for growing crops. Marl was used as a top dressing and many generations have exploited this fact.
Colton all through its history has been a farming community. There are still signs of farming activities spanning hundreds of years in and around the village. Some of the hedgerows follow the edges of ancient fields. Until very recently ridges and furrows were visible in some of the fields in the village. Many of the field names refer to what may have gone on within those fields such as Eye Meadow Gap (water meadow) , Coney (rabbit) Greave, Little Mill Ditch etc.
(Picture courtesy of Joan Anslow from Local history Source Book on Colton.)
Quite a few of the Colton Tithe Books from the 18th. Century onwards still exist and an examination of these shows the sorts of crops and livestock that were paid to the Rector as tithes.The Parish tithe barn stood next to the oldest Rectory and was converted to a coach house in 1875.
An indication of the sorts of crops that were being grown can be ascertained from a number of records that have survived but in particular in the 19th. Century Tithe map and accompanying records. This was made for the village in 1847. It would appear from all of these sources that the fields around Colton have been used in the main for arable farming and sheep farming. The fields have supported the growth of wheat, rye and oats as well as clover as fodder for animals.
Grazing of sheep went on in and around Colton also as a major activity as in so many parts of the country.
Nowadays the fields are in use for crops such as potatoes for the chip industry and rape for the cooking oil industry. There is very little animal farming.