« ZurückWeiter »
they are reared, and from that moment begin to ings of the others below it, with as much accutend towards decay; so that the person who racy as the bricks in a well built wall. The upbuilds this kind of fence immediately receives permost course of feal is cut a little longer than the full benefit thereof: whereas hedges, being those that are immediately below it, and placed at first weak and tender, stand in need of attention with the grassy side uppermost, so as to project and care, and do not become a fence for several a little on each side; which not only helps to years after they are planted; and, as they conti- throw the water a little off the dike, but also to nue to increase in strength, and gradually acquire prevent sheep or cattle from attempting to jump a higher and higher degree of perfection, it is over it so readily as they otherwise might do. At long before they begin to fall towards decay; so the foot of the dike, on each side, is dug a small that they are, in general, infinitely more durable ditch, about one foot and a half or two feet deep; than dikes, although they are longer in becoming leaving a ledget of a few inches broad on each of use to the person who plants them. Which side, that the dike may not be undermined by of these two kinds of fences may, upon the whole, the crumbling down of the loose earth into the be most eligible, must, in general, be determined ditch. These ditches not only help to give the by the circumstances and views of the possessor dike an additional height, and keep its foundaof the ground to be enclosed. If he is a tenant tion dry; but are also of use to prevent cattle who has a short lease, without a prospect of get- from coming close to it and rubbing upon it, or ting it renewed; or, if he has immediate occa- tearing it down with their horns, which they are sion for a complete fence; it will be, in general, very apt to do if this precaution be omitted. most prudent in him to make choice of dikes, if The earth that is taken out of the ditches may the materials for rearing these are at hand; but, be thrown outwards, into the place that was ocif there is any probability that his posterity may cupied by the feal that has been taken to build reap any advantage from these enclosures, it will the dike; and, if the field is in grass, a few seeds be almost always more for his advantage to make may be sowed upon it, and it will soon be cochoice of hedges. A dike built of freestone and vered as well as the rest of the field. By having lime will be almost as durable as a hedge; al- the joints bound in every direction, the fabric is though, in general, it will neither be so cheap rendered much firmer than it could be by any nor agreeable. But dry stone dikes, unless irregular manner of working, while it is at the built of the finest quarried stone, are of such å same time more easily reared. If the ground is perishable nature, as to be hardly ever worth the soft, and the feal rise well, I get a fence of this expense of rcaring; and never, excepting where kind done for one halfpenny per yard ; but, if it the field that you would wish to enclose has is not good to work, a little more must be allowplenty of stones upon its surface, which you are ed. As to the time that a fence of this kind may under a necessity of carrying away before the stand without needing any repair, the oldest has field can be improved. In this situation a man now stood ten years, and seems to be nearly as inay, in some measure, be excused, if he should firm as when first built. I have seen some walls be tempted to put them into dikes; because the of poor cottages which have been built somewhat carriage of these stones may be said to cost him after this manuer, that have been good after lothing: and he may, perhaps, be at some loss standing forty or fifty years : but their durability how to dispose of them in any other manner. depends greatly upon the nature of the feal of But, in all other circumstances, it is very bad eco- which they are formed. The best is that which nomy to rear fences of this kind, as feal (sod) dikes is taken from poor ground of a spongy quality, can always be built at one fourth of the expense which is generally covered with a strong sward that these would cost, and will answer all pur- of coarse benty grass. And, in situations where poses equally well, and, if carefully built, will this can be had, I would recommend this as the be kept in repair for any number of years at as cheapest and best temporary fence that could be small an expense as they could be. The want of reared. The greatest inconvenience that attends durability generally complained of in these dikes this species of fence is, the danger it runs of is owing to their bad construction. The greatest being torn down by the horns, or wasted away part of them are made of a considerable thick- by the rubbing of cattle upon it; which they ness, with a ditch on each side; the heart of the will sometimes do notwithstanding the ditches. dike being made up with the earth that is taken This may be effectually prevented by planting from these ditches; and only a thin wall, on a row of sweet briar (or eglantine) plants between each side, is built of solid feal from top to bot- the first and second course of feal when the dike tom; the consequence of which is, that as the is built, which will not fail to grow with luxuriloose earth that is thrown into the middle of the ance, and in a short time defend the dike from dike subsides much more than the seal on each every attack of this kind. But if sheep are to be side, the top of the dike sinks down; and, of kept in the enclosures, this plant ought not, on course, the two side walls are pressed too much any account, to be employed; for, as that animal upon the inside, so as to bilge (or swell) out naturally flies to the fences for shelter in stormy about the middle, and quickly crumble down to weather, the prickles of the straggling branches dust. To avoid this inconvenience, I have always of the briar will catch hold of the wool, and tear chosen to build my dikes of this sort thinner it off in great quantities, to the great detriment of than usual : they being only three feet and alf the flock and loss of the proprietor. In these thick at the bottom; one foot, or a very little cases, if the possessor of the ground is not afraid more, at top; and five feet high: taking care to of the bad consequences that may be dreaded have them built in such a manner, as that every from the spreading of whins (furze), it would be sod (or feal), from top to bottom binds the join- much better to scatter a few of the seeds of this plant along the ledget at the foot of the dike, the hoe, as long as you can conveniently get acwhich would quickly become a preservative for cess into it, leave it afterwards to nature. If this it, and be otherwise of use as a green food for is done, and your soil be not extremely bad, the his sheep during the winter season. But, before belt in a very few years will be entirely filled he ventures to sow this plant, let him remember, with a close bush of trees, so intermixed with the that where it is once established it will hardly bending branches of the eglantine, and bound fail to spread through the adjoining fields, and together by the trailing shoots of the bramble and can hardly be ever afterwards thoroughly rooted wood-bine, that no animal above the size of a cat out. I have often imagined, that this kind of could penetrate; especially when it is of such a fence might be greatly improved both in beauty depth as I have recommended.-But as all kinds and strength, by planting a row of ivy plants be- of trees and shrubs, if planted very close upon neath the first course of feal in building the one another, become naked at the root when they dike; which would, in a short time, climb up arrive at any considerable size, care should be the sides of the dike and cover the whole with a taken to prevent it from ever coming to that close and beautiful net-work of woody fibres, state, by cutting it down whenever it becomes covered with leaves of the most beautiful ver- in danger of being open at the root. And as it dure; which would tend to preserve the dike would be improper ever to leave the field enfrom being eaten away by frost, and other vicissi- tirely defenceless, it is a great advantage to have tudes of weather. And when it is arrived at the the belt as broad as it conveniently nay be, so top, it would there send out a number of strong that the one-half of it may be a sufficient fence; woody branches, forming a sort of hedge, that by which means, we shall have it in our power to would afford some shelter to the fields, and break cut down the inside and the outside of the best the force of the wind considerably. I have seen alternately, so as still to keep the thicket young, a garden wall that had been built of stone and and never to want at any time a sufficient fence; clay, ornamented and strengthened in this way. and the brush wood that this afforded at each I have had the experience of ivy growing well cutting would, in almost every situation, yield apon a dry stone dike; and have likewise seen such a revenue as would do much more than init growing up the walls, and covering whole cot- demnify the proprietor for the rent of the ground tages built of feal; which have by this means that was occupied by this fence. And, if the been preserved entire, long after the walls that field was in such a situation as required shelter, had been naked have fallen to decay. But, not some trees might be allowed to grow to their full having had plants of this kind at hand, I have size about the middle without any inconvenience, not had an opportunity of trying it in the manner if the belt were of a sufficient breadth. proposed ; although, I think, there is the greatest “There is one other species of fencing (contireason to hope for success. Whins have been nues Dr. Anderson), as useful as any of those aloften employed as a fence when sowed upon the ready mentioned, which is in general much less top of a bank. They are attended with the con- understood, and more difficult to execute properly, venience of coming very quickly to perfection, viz. the method of securing the banks of rivers and of growing upon a soil on which few other from being washed away by the violence of the plants could be made to thrive : but, in the way stream, and of preventing the damages that may that they are commonly employed, they are nei- otherwise be occasioned by the swelling of the ther a strong nor a lasting fence. See Hedge. waters. It frequently happens that, when a river The fences hitherto mentioned are only intended runs in a bed of rich vegetable mould, the least to preserve fields from the intrusion of cattle; accident that may chance to divert the stream but, on some occasions, it is necessary to have towards any particular part of the bank, causes it a fence that would even resist the efforts of men to sweep away large tracts of fine ground, to the to break through it: as around bleaching fields, very great detriment of the proprietor, as well as orchards, &c. the want of which often subjects the public; as this fine mould is usually carried the proprietor of such fields to very disagreeable to the sea, and the place that the water leaves, accidents. To effectuate this, it is necessary to to occupy the new bed that it thus forms for begin by trenching up or ploughing a large belt itself, is generally of a much worse quality, conall around the field you mean to enclose, of forty sisting chiefly of stones, sand, and gravel. In some or fifty feet or more in breadth, if you find it con- cases, where the whole force of the current is quite venient; the outer edge of which should be en- close to the bank, and the materials necessary closed by a good dike, or a ditch and hedge. for fencing it are not to be found, it may perhaps This belt should be kept in culture one year, and be impossible or very difficult totally to prevent well manured, if your situation will admit of it; this evil; but for the most part it admits of a and laid up before winter in such a manner that cure that can be obtained at a pretty moderate no water may be allowed to lodge upon it; expense. These ravages are always greatest and planted in winter all over with plants of eg- where the bank rises perpendicularly to a pretty lagtine so thick as not to be above two feet from considerable height above the ordinary surface one another; and between these put a good of the water, and never at those places where the number of young birch plants not above two banks shelve down gradually towards the water's years old, interspersed with hazels, oak, ash, edge; for when the river is swelled to a great rawn (wild service), and other trees that will height hy rains, and runs with a force and rathrive upon your soil : together with thorns, pidity greater than usual, it strikes violently hollies, brambles, and wood-bine (honey suckle); against these perpendicular banks that directiv and having then fenced it from cattle, and kept oppose its course, which, being composed of down the weeds that may rise upon its surface by farth quite bare and uncovered, are easily soft
ened by the water, and quickly washed away; so below the water full of matt-rooted aquatic plants; that the upper part of the bank, being thus under- which will in a great measure, if not entirely, mined, falls by its own weight into the river, and defend it from any future encroachments. This is carried off in prodigious quantities : whereas at bank ought to continue to shelve downwards those parts of the bank that shelve gradually even where it is below water, and those aquatics downwards to the water's edge, when the river that will grow in the greatest depth of water should rises to any considerable height, it gently glides be planted on the innermost brink, and the others along its surface; which, being defended by the behind them. The water spiderwort will grow matted roots of the grass with which it is covered, in four feet deep of water, and the roots of the scarcely sustains any damage at all; and is common yellow-flowered water iris form such a nearly the same after the water has retired within strong and compact covering upon the surface of its banks as before the inundation. These facts, the soil on which it grows, as would defend it which no one who has bestowed the least atten- from being affected by the water almost as well tion to this subject can fail to have observed, as a rock. It is likewise an advantage attending clearly point out, that the first and most neces- this plant, that it grows upon a firm bottom, and sary step towards a cure, is to level down the chiefly delights in running water. If the stratum edge of the bank that is next to the water, so as of soft earth is not so deep as to reach to the surto make it slope gradually down towards the face of the water, and lies upon a stratum of rock river. If the bank is very high, and you have or hard gravel, there will be no occasion for no other particular use for the earth that must throwing in stones of any kind. But, as it is be taken from it, the easiest method of disposing difficult to unite the vegetable mould to any of of it, will be to throw it into the river ; but, in these strata, there will always be some danger of whatever manner you may dispose of the earth, its separating from these in violent inundations ; the slope of the bank must be continued until the and, if the water once get an entry, it will not fail inner edge of it is as low as the surface of the to grow larger and larger by every future inundawater at the driest time of the year, and be made tion. To prevent this inconvenience, it will be to ascend gradually upwards from the water with necessary, after you have sloped the earth away an easy slope, till it comes to the level of the till you reach the gravel or rock, to cover the ground, or at least rises to such a height as the place where the edge of the earth joins the infewater never exceeds. This operation ought to rior stratum with a good many small stones, if be performed as early in summer as possible, and they can be found; sowing between them the should be either immediately covered with turf, seeds of any kind of plants that you think are pared from the surface of some field that has a most likely to thrive, which have strong matted very strong sward upon it, taking care to lay roots with as small and flexible tops as possible. these in such a manner as to be in as little dan- From the impossibility of ever making earth adger as possible of being washed away by any ac- here firmly to stone of any kind, it must always cidental flood that might happen before they had be an improper practice to face the banks of rigrown together; or, if turf of this kind cannot be vers to a certain height with stones which is easily had, it should be sowed very thick with coped at top with earth.' the seeds of some small matt-rooted grass (such Mr. Arthur Young, in his Annals of Agriculas the poa repens, or creeping meadow grass), ture, vol. XIII. has supplied us with the fol
that should be kept in readiness for this purpose. lowing method of fencing, from the pen of W. If the stream has not been extremely rapid at the Erskine, Esq. "The importance of good fences foot of the bank, some of the earth that was thrown is universally acknowledged by every lover of into the water will be allowed to subside to the husbandry, although there are various opinions bottorn, and will there form a bank of loose soft about the kinds of them, every one being natuearth, which will be of great use afterwards in rally prejudiced in favor of those he has been most preventing the face of the bank under water from accustomed to see, or by the opinion of others being washed away; but, in order to secure this whose judgment he relies on. An intelligent bulwark effectually for the future, the surface of correspondent, in the second volume of the Bath this soft earth ought to be instantly stuck full of Papers on Agriculture, is so warm an advocate the roots of bog reeds, flags, water spider-wort, for quickset hedges, as to make him totally conrushes, and other matt-rooted aquatic plants; demn the dead walls which are to be seen on the which, if allowed to remain till they have once road between Bath and Cirencester, and in many struck root, will afterwards form a barrier that other parts of England. I hope he will not nothing will ever be able to destroy. But if the take it amiss, if I cannot absolutely assent to his stream be too rapid to admit of this, and the assertion, that quickset hedges are more useful bank of soft earth is much deeper than the sur- and profitable.' That they are more ornamental face of the water, it will be of use to fill up the cannot be denied, and they are generally albreast of the bank with loose stones carelessly lowed to afford more shelter, but the length of thrown in, till they rise near the surface of the time, the constant attention, and continual exwater; which would most effectually secure it pense of defending them until they bear even a against any future encroachments, if the bank is resemblance of a fence, induces many people, in sloped away above. If stones cannot be easily those places where the materials are easily progot for this purpose, the only resource is to dig cured, to prefer the dry stone walls; for though the bank so low, that, at the undermost edge, it the first cost is considerable, yet as the farmer may be always below the surface of the water; reaps the immediate benefit of the fence (which and to carry it out in this way for a considerable is undoubtedly the most secure one), they are distance, and thus stick the whole surface that is thought on the whole to be the least expensive; besides, the cattle in exposed situations, and es. Next to implements and machinery, and pecially in these northern parts, are so impatient suitable building3,' says an able writer on this of confinemerft at the commencement of the long, subject in the supplement to the Encyclopædia cold, wet nights, that no hedges I have ever yet Britannica, fences are in most situations inseen in any part of this island are sufficient to dispensable to the profitable management of keep them in. These inconveniences probably arable land. They are not only necessary to suggested to the late Sir George Suttie (eminent protect the crops from the live stock of the farm, in East Lothian for his love of, and skill in, agri- but often contribute, in no small degree by the culture), an idea of a fence, that at once joined shelter they afford, to augment and improve the the warmth and ornament of the hedge with the produce itself. On all arable farms, on which almost perpetual fence of the wall. If I mistake cattle and sheep are pastured, the ease, security, not, you have, in some of your useful works, and comfort, which good fences give, both to the recommended hedges to be planted against the owner and the animals themselves, are too evicommon dry stone walls : Sir George Suttie dent to require particular notice. And as there rather improved on this thought; he planted his are few tracts so rich as to admit of crops being hedges after the common method here, in the face carried off the land for a succession of years, of the ditch; but instead of putting a paling, or without the intervention of green crops consumed post and rail on the top of the bank, he placed where they grow, fences, of some description or a wall of two feet and a half high. His local other, can very rarely be dispensed with, even in situation induced him to build with lime, and, the most fertile and highly improved districts.' in places where that commodity is tolerably But there is no branch of husbandry so gereasonable, it is the best method, as the satis- nerally mismanaged as this. No district, of any faction it affords by requiring no repairs, and considerable extent, perhaps, can be named, in the duration more than repays the expense; which one does not see the greater part of what but, where the price of lime is high, they are called fences, not only comparatively useless, may be built without any cement, and an- but wasteful to the possessor of the lands which swer the purpose very well, if the work is pro- they occupy, and injurious both to himself and perly executed.' Mr. Erskine, after informing his neighbours, by the weeds which they shelter. Mr. Young that he has now experienced the This is particularly the case with thorn hedges, benefit of these fences for some years, and that which are too often planted in soils where they he can with great confidence recommend them can never, by any management, be expected to as superior to all others, concludes with the fol- become a sufficient fence; and which, even when lowing account of the method of erecting them: planted on suitable soils, are in many cases so "When a new fence is proposed to be made, the . much neglected when young, as ever afterwards surface of the ground of the breadth of the ditch, to be a nuisance, instead of an ornamental, perand likewise for two feet more, should be pared manent, and impenetrable barrier, as, with proper off, to prevent, as much as possible, the weeds training, they might have formed in a few years.' and grass from hurting the growth of the young By way of general hints, he adds, the exthoms. The ditch should be five feet broad, posure of the la::d should be considered, in order two feet and a half deep, and one foot broad at that the fences may give the shelter that is most the bottom; leave one foot for an edging or required :~the form of the field should be such scarcement, then dig the earth one spit of a as to render it most accessible from the farm spade for about one foot, and put about three buildings, and that it may be cultivated at the inches of good earth below the thorn, which least expense, the lands or ridges not being too should be laid nearly horizontal, but the point short, nor running out into angles at the points rather inclining upwards, in order to let the rain where the fence takes a different direction :-and drip to the roots; then add a foot of good earth the soil of the enclosure should be as nearly alike above it; leave three or four inches of a scarce- throughout as possible, that the whole field may ment before another thorn is planted : it must be always under the same kind of crop. It must, not be directly over the lower one, but about nine in general, be a matter of consequence to have inches or a foot to one side of it; then throw a water in every enclosure ; but this is too obvious foot of good earth on the thorn, and trainple it to escape attention. well down, and level the top of the bank for about “The most common fences, of: a permanent three feet and a half for the base of the wall to character, are stone walls and whitethorn hedges. rest on. The base of the wall should be about Stone walls have the recommendatior of being an nine or ten inches (but not exceed one foot froin immediate fence; but the disadvantage of going the thorn). The wall to be about two feet thick gradually to decay, and of requiring to be entirely at the bottom, and one foot at the top; the cope rebuilt, in some cases every twenty years, unless to be a single stone laid fiat, then covered with they are constructed with lime mortar, which is two sods of turf; the grass of the undermost to in many districts much too expensive to be embe next the wall, and the other sod must have ployed in erecting common fences. Whitethorn the grass side uppermost; the sods should be hedges, on the contrary, though they require of some thickness to retain moisture, so that they several years to become a fence of themselves, Thay adhere together, and not be easily displaced may be preserved at very little expense afterwards by the wind; the height of the wall to be two in full vigor for several generations. It is scarcely feet and a half, exclusive of the sods, which to necessary to add, that upon wet soils, where gether should be from four to six inches, by hedges are employed as fences, it is of importance which means the wall would be nearly three feet that the ditches be drawn in such a direction as altogether.' See HEDGES and PALING,
they may receive the water from the covered perhaps must elapse before he can derive much drains that may be required in the fields con- benefit from it. This mistake on the part of tiguous. According as the line of the fence is proprietors is probably the principal cause of the more or less convenient in this respect, the ex- badness of hedge-fences; for if they are neglected pense of draining may be considerably diminished when the plants are young, if cattle are allowed or increased
to make gaps, water permitted to stagnate in the "The expense of enclosing, and, of course, the ditch, or weeds to grow unmolested on the face direction and construction of the fences,' con- of the bank, no labor or attention afterwards will cludes this writer, ought to be undertaken in ever make an equal and strong fence. As it is almost every case by the proprietor, not merely well known how difficult, or rather impossible, for the sake of relieving the tenant from a burden it is to enforce this care by any compulsory cowhich may be incompatible with his circum- venants, the best plan for both parties is that stances and professional duties, but also from a which is adopted in some districts, where hedges principle of economy on the part of the landlord. are reared at the mutual expense of landlord and Whatever may be the tenant's knowledge and tenant, the thorns, while they require it, being capital, it is not to be expected that his views protected by rails, or otherwise, so as to give the should extend much beyond his own accommo- tenant all the advantages of a complete fence in dation during his temporary occupation; whereas the mean time. In this case he cannot justly the permanent interest of the landlord requires, complain that he pays a share of the expense, not so much a minute attention to economy in and this payment furnishes the strongest motive the first instance, as that the amelioration shall be for preserving the young thorns from damage, as complete and as durable as possible. The and for training them with such care, as to betenant's outlay on fences must inevitably be re- come a complete fence in the shortest possible turned by a diminution of the yearly rent, and period. probably with a large profit for the first advance Rammed earth, or en pise walls, are very comof the money ; while, at the same time, that mon in France, both as fences and walls for money may be expended in an improvement buildings. They have been described at great which is neither so complete nor so lasting as it length in the communications to the Board of might have been rendered, had it been done at Agriculture, and in other works, and tried in the expense, and under the direction of the pro- various parts of this country with tolerable sucprietor. But another error of the same kind is cess, though they are by no means suited either probably still more common, and by far more to our moist climate or degree of civilisation. pernicious to landholders. The fences are to be in constructing them the earth is previously kept in repair by the tenant; which, in so far as: pounded, in order to crumble any stones therein ; regards stone walls, is' a stipulation no way ob- clay is added thereto in a small quantity, about jectionable. But it often happens that a land- one-eighth part. It is all beaten and mixed up lord, even though he runs a hedge-fence at his together by repeated blows with a mallet about own expense, leaves it to be trained up by the ten inches broad, and ten or fifteen inches long, tenant without his interference; and the conse- and two inches thick. The earth being thus prequence is, that, in perhaps nine cases out of ten, pared, and slightly wetted, the foundation of the it never becomes a sufficient fence at all; that wall is dug; this is laid with stone, and when it the original cost is lost for ever; and that the is about one foot high above the surface of the land which it occupies is not only unproductive, ground, planks are arranged on each side, and but actually a nuisance. Besides, it is evidently the space between filled with the earth intended improper to require of a tenant to rear up a good for the wall. It is strongly beaten; and this fence, commonly by a greater outlay than was method is continued successively, till the wall required for forming it, when the half of his lease is completed.
F E N C IN G.
Fencing, in military exercises, is the art, or strength, and in young people the bones of the science, of making a proper use of the sword, chest and thorax necessarily become more eneither for attacking an enemy or defending one's larged, by means of which a consumptive tenself. On this elegant and manly exercise Sir dency may be often prevented. It has been John Sinclair observes, “There is no exercise, remarked, also, that those who practise the art with a view to health, better entitled to the atten- are remarkable for long life and the good health tion of those who are placed among the higher they enjoy. These considerations, combined with orders of society, than that of fencing. The the graceful movements which it establishes, and positions of the body, in fencing, have for object, the elegant means of self-defence which it furerectness, firmness, and balance; and, in prac- nishes, certainly render the art an object of contising that art, the chest, neck, and shoulders, are siderable importance.' placed in positions the most beneficial to health. Fencing,' says Locke on Education, is so The various motions of the arms and limbs, necessary a qualification in the breeding of a whilst the body maintains its erect position, en- gentleman, and has so many advantages in reable the muscles in general to acquire vigorous gard to health and personal appearance, that