Farms and Farming
Farming has played a central role in the life of Forncett since medieval times and is still a key feature of village life today. However much has changed between farming life in the 19th century and that of the present day. For centuries farming methods were fairly rudimentary with many horses employed on the land. Kelly's 1829 Directory identifies the main crops being grown in Forncett as wheat, oats, barley and beans. There is no mention of the sugar beet or oil seed rape that are now a common sight in local fields. The process of mechanisation which started in the 18th century has completely changed farming methods and radically influenced the numbers of people employed on the land. Our studies of the 1939 Register for Forncett show that before World War 2 the terms "Agricultural Labourer" and "Horseman on Farm" were still common terms of employment, whereas today far fewer people are directly employed in agriculture.
Many of our most prominent buildings are, or were, farmhouses and have histories closely linked to particular Forncett families. The following pages describe the farms and farming community of Forncett, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries.