Ahead of this month’s Furniture & Interior furnishings auction on 4th August we take a look at a unusual private, single owner collection of rustic farming implements and tools.
Starting with lot 791: The large 19th Century Somerset apple-pulp shovel together with a 19th Century malt shovel.
This pulp shovel is a perfect example of the history behind the age old tradition of cider making. Deep in the heart of the Somerset countryside a farm worker would have used this very spade to prepare the apple pulp from the iron cider press before it was then stored. It would take up to a year to ferment before it could then be consumed.
Whereas the malt shovel would have been used to turn grain in a malting’s. These would often have a brass join between the handle and pan which would allow the pan to be replaced, as they often got too worn to use! There are many pubs all over the country that share the name Malt Shovel due to its rich history in brewing… It all sounds like thirsty work to me!
Next up is lot 792: The early Scottish peat spade together with a 19th Century fruit wood fly spade and a 19th Century drain diggers sloughing spade.
The peat spade is identifiable as Scottish due to the broadboard, which is also common amongst English peat spades. Whilst the Irish version tended to be narrower. The iron fixings made it easier to make cuts into the peat.
The sloughing spade however, was used by drain diggers to lay clay pipes in thick mud/marsh areas. The wooden construction meant the mud was less likely to stick, and judging by the condition of this particular example, i’d say it did it’s job perfectly.
Lastly we have Lot 794: A 19th Century poachers eel gleave or pilcher (Left) an unusual wheelwright's barking iron (2nd) a 19th Century Somerset curd breaker (3rd) and a 19th Century narrow drain diggers spade (Right)
… everything you need for a good weekend!
One piece certain to catch peoples eye is the poachers eel gleave.
The long wooden handle would have given the eel hunter a much better reach in order to catch his wriggling prey, that would then likely provide supper for the whole family. This piece is a fine example of 19th Century blacksmith’s craftsmanship with its decorative wrought iron spearhead.
Or if that doesn’t reel you in there’s always the wheelwright’s barking iron.
Whilst wheelwright’s obtained their wood by different methods some would venture into the forest and chose the wood themselves, especially if working on a large estate. This was a specialist role and would require knowledge of all different wood types as well as assessing the quality of the soil in which the tree has grown.
The bark from the trees would have been stripped using this very tool and then sold to the local tanner for leather making, whilst the wood itself was being turned into cart wheels. They are also often found in a shorter knife form.