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gerontius grumpus
45352.  Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:19 pm Reply with quote

Cattle drovers who drove their castlle from Scotland into northern England and southward as far as London are well known.
The southern half of england was mainly supplied with beef from Wales until the railways made rapid transport of perishable foods practicable.

The Welsh cattle bound for London would mainly have been driven through the Forest of Dean and crossed the Severn at Gloucester.
There is still a house in Birdlip which was once a drovers' inn.
There are several roads through the cotswolds with the name 'Welsh Way,' they bypass towns like Cirencester because the uncouth drovers were not welcomed in respectable towns (they were probably afraid that they would mess up their Range rovers and Barbour jackets).

One point about the Scottish drovers. I researched the origin of Scotch Corner on the A1, believing it to be connected with one of the battles or invasions of the middle ages.
It turned out to be so named because it was a place where there were holding pens for cattle on their way southward.

gerontius grumpus
45523.  Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:40 pm Reply with quote

Anyone got any interesting information on drovers?

QI Individual
45525.  Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:20 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Anyone got any interesting information on drovers?

People apparently have a particular fascination for their arms?

45536.  Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:25 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Anyone got any interesting information on drovers?

Some, yes. Cattle drovers going to London from Wales also took geese; they had to coat the feet of the geese in pitch to stop them from wearing away with all the walking. Sound implausable? Well I don't think I can back it up but they weren't going to be doing any flying were they and those feet are not meant for walking.

45537.  Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:33 pm Reply with quote

Well, whadayaknow!

I found one reference on the web but its worth posting it here in full I think.

From: IconoclasticOHOH Sent: 19/11/2005 02:11

In England, 200 years ago, turkeys were walked to market in
herds. They wore booties to protect their feet.

I doubt that.

200 years ago they would have been rare in England and even geese -far more likely to have been driven to market by the professional drovers in those days, were a delicacy rarely enjoyed by most.

The feet by the way, would have been smothered (or smithered -hence the term Smithfield for a livestock market) in tar -pine pitch and then the geese stood in sand pits. This would have given them a start until their feet toughend on the march. A drive wouldn't have been very far by todays standards. Of course, at 3 or 4 miles a day that is a matter of opinion.

As is the custom today, farmers sold their livestock in smithfields and there the drovers would have shod the various beasts. Likely this was never more than tar and sand. The drovers would be responsible for the march to the slaughterhouses.

Obviously, buying in remote farming communities and driving to large towns would turn the most profit and be the most risk.

The drover would have had to feed, water and house the livestock over night the entire journey and defend them against thieves and foxes. Driver roads or droves would be roundabout routes preferably over greensward rather than open highways which were maintained by agents that charged tolls (hence the terms: toll roads, road agents (for highway robbers) highway robbery and drovers.)

The agencies that were responsible for the upkeep of the toll roads (or the king's high ways) were responsible for the placement of mileage markers so that travellers could gauge the services rendered. These milestones have gone out of use today but there is a society in the UK that has taken it upon themselves to find and reinstate these things.

Often the road would have been straightend out and widened as transportation needs changed and new technologies managed to allow corners to be cut -as for example with the ability to make loger bridges. The old road would just have been neglected in rural areas.

Enthusiasts try and work out where the older roads would have run and try to locate the old milestones and restore them -usually by clearing soil and rubbish and removing undergrowth so that they can be seen by those "in the know." Few Milestones would be found on "A" class routes these days. In fact most would now be on roads relegated from "B" to "C" roads.

Some may have been taken as garden ornaments and even used as decor in all sorts of odd places.

But getting back to the original topic: turkeys.
How much does George Bush weigh?


45590.  Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:33 am Reply with quote

The feet by the way, would have been smothered (or smithered -hence the term Smithfield for a livestock market)

This sounds a little twee to me. I'd have thought that the term Smithfield came from the actual area in london where the market began.

Here it says:

It is thought that the name Smithfield came from a corruption of ‘smeth field’ Saxon for "Smoothfield". The City of London gained market rights under a charter granted by Edward III in 1327.


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