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Barrow villagers used to grow their own vegetables, but they went to a local farmer to buy corn; this was ground into flour by the miller at Roose Corn Mill. People would then carry bags of flour on their backs, or in horse drawn carts to their homes; if they were too poor to own an oven they were allowed to use a breadmaking oven, which was often built in the wash-house of a cottage. This kind of oven was like a large cupboard with iron doors, lined with bricks and going far back into the wall. Faggots of wood were lighted inside the oven and the doors closed until the oven was well heated. Then the ashes were swept out and baking tins with joints of beef, mutton, potatoes, bread, "wigs*, and herb puddings were left to bake. But what happened if the harvest failed as it did in 1799, 1800 and 1816?

Did the resourceful inhabitants of Barrow Village make turnip bread?


"Take off the skin from your turnips and boil them till soft; bruise them well

and press out the juice; add an equal weight of wheat flour and knead them up

with a sufficient quantity of salt and bake them".

** (William Fleming's diary)

There were orchards in the area, where fruit of almost every kind, including figs, grew and ripened.

* buns or teacakes flavoured with caraway seed

** William Fleming of Pennington was a socialite, raconteur and local historian; his diaries provide an excellent record of social history

The slaughter of animals took place every autumn at Martinmas. To preserve the meat, one of the following methods was used:

  1. the carcases were hung in the smoke of a peat fire,
  2. they were pickled in brine,
  3. they were covered in lard.

Our word larder originates from this custom. Butter and cheeses were made to eat and sell.