farmers : On the social scale, the Victorian
farmer was between the landowner, for the majority of farmers were tenants,
and the labourer.
A Devon farmer, c.1900, poses for the camera.
The Victorian farmer presided over farming as it was going through a period
of great change. Wooden implements gave way to ones made from iron, and
mechanisation reduced the number of labourers the farmer need employ.
Victorian farmers ranged from those enjoying life styles similar to their
landlords to those earning a meagre living. The former operated more as
a manager, whilst the latter would more often than not work side by side
with his staff. The Victorian farmer was central to rural society. He
paid rents to the landlord, paid tithes, employed many landless labourers
and provided much custom for local tradesman and shopkeepers.