FARMING DOWN HOPEMAN WAY
by Geordie Towns aged 81. (2005)
Hopeman village has the sea to the north and farmland to the south, which consisted of two farms and numerous strips of letted land.
The farm of Backlands lies to the west of Hopeman and was owned by James McKimmie who also became the tenant of “Weddershill” during 1930. Weddershill was in the village of Hopeman and part of Hopeman Estate. It also lay adjacent to Backlands.
I took over the tenancy of Weddershill in 1950 a few months before I married my wife Cathy and we farmed there for 42 years. In the beginning we had 60 acres of arable ground in six enclosures with a house and farm steading on the north side of Forsyth Street, however through the 1950-60s I added another 40 acres of letted land which took the boundary equal to School Road. To the East of this the land was in with Pickielaw.
Weddershill Farm House and Steading.
On the farm I grew oats, barley, turnips and potatoes. We also grew sugar beet which were loaded on to railway wagons at Hopeman station for transportation to the sugar beet factory at Cupar, Fife where it was processed into sugar
The farms were worked with two horsemen and two young lads that fed the cattle and did all the odd jobs like gathering weeds in the spring, hoeing turnips and potatoes in summer then stocking oats and barley sheaves and forking to the carts for the leading to the stacks in the corn yard for the winter feed.
This would get the farmer a few pounds to pay his way and pay his workers.
Five horses worked the two farms. Two pair for ploughing and cultivating, the odd horse did the carting of the turnips.
Farms were worked on a crop rotation to keep the soil in good condition and this was part of the tenancy agreement with the estate. Backlands was worked on a five-year rotation, 2 grasses, 2 grain crops, l turnip and potato whilst Weddershill was worked on a six year rotation 3 grain crops, 2 grasses, l turnip and potato shift. This rotation was called the ‘Sair Six’, the 3 grasses, 2 grain and 1 turnip and potato was called the ‘Easy Six’.
We also kept cows, ewes and lambs, breeding pigs and young pigs, and laying hens. Cathy sold eggs and vegetables from the house to local villagers during the 1950s to 1960s
1960s – Geordie hand sowing seeds
It was very awkward having to cross the road with tractor and cattle, as the road was getting busier with buses and cars.
There were four tenants on the letted lands of Hopeman – David Reid, George Reid, John Stronach and William McKenzie.
On taking over the tenancy of Weddershill in 1950 each cart had to have the farm name painted on the cart and one of the carts was named Weatherhill – possible spelling mistake or perhaps the previous name for the farm.
Compiled by George (Geordie) Towns for Hopeman 200 year anniversary — 2005