On the Road:
A large grazing area in east Sussex marked by oak trees, some of which are pollarded. Routes from the west, south and north converge in this area, just west of Edenbridge Kent. TQ401464 The men were known to have dogs, and to have whips of leather or whale-bone to keep the cattle in check. They were expert in the art of whistling their instructions, from a mouthful of chewing tobacco, and were renowned for the dubious art of spitting. In the early period of droving, when the main roads were used, the cattle would travel some ten abreast, but when the secondary routes were used the herd would often travel in single file.There is conflicting evidence as to the type of dogs employed. The corgi dog is a "heeler"; one who nips the heels of cattle. Used for coursing cattle on common land in Wales, from medieval times, it is doubtful whether they were used for long distance droving, since they did not posses a herding instinct. There seems to be no documentary evidence as to which type of dog was most favoured, if dogs were used regularly at all. In the 1800's, the Scottish drovers certainly used large dogs as depicted in the pictures and drawings of the time.
"The drovers brought with them their dogs, as guardians or herders or hunters of game or lurchers. The drovers' dogs were often huge and fierce, with the vast bobtailed sheepdogs from Sussex and Dorset having particularly fearsome reputations" In the 1860's, J Walsh in his book "Stonehenge" described these dogs as "of great size and strength". Apart from local over-night grazing, there were areas popular for fattening cattle over extended periods. These were in low-lying areas, or in valley bottoms. The lands around Peterborough and the fen-lands stretching into Norfolk were originally used for cattle grazing before they were turned over to arable crops. The drove roads are extensive even on current maps. Areas in Sussex and Kent were used to fatten the cattle before being sold at the fairs, or taken to London's Smithfield. Welsh cattle were known to graze on Romney Marsh and on the marshes of Essex and Kent. In June 1528 Sir Edward Guildford wrote to Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII's chief minister; "Rommeney Marsh, where corn and cattle were plentiful, has fallen into decay,................use them for grazing trusting to the Welsh cattle". Some grazing occurred on chalk
'Standlands' grazing west of Petworth, Sussex. SU9322 downland for which the drovers paid a farthing per head of cattle, but the more lush grazing would cost a halfpenny per head. In the chalk land areas of Hampshire, "water meadows" were an agricultural innovation, where grassland was flooded during the winter months, producing Summer and Autumn grazing for cattle, after the sheep flocks had left. In the latter parts of the period, the Welsh were known to have owned the rights to some regular grazing areas.
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