Land use for orchards in the late 18th century
There is little or no statistical information about farming in Jersey in the 18th century, but experts have been able to calculate from maps of the time how much land was in agricultural use, and particularly how much was planted with apple orchards for cider production.
Writing for the 1952 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise G H Dury, who was already an established authority on agriculture in Jersey in the early 18th century, explained that the detailed Map of Jersey published in 1795 by order of the Duke of Richmond could be used to make precise calculations about land use. The work involved the laborious process of transferring individual fields, which were sketched on to the 1795 map to a modern Ordnance Survey map.
Dury and his team found that a remarkably high percentage of the total land area (80.5%) was already covered by enclosed fields. Unenclosed land was around the coast, on the northern cliff tops and low-lying sandy land in the west, south and east. A very high proportion of St Brelade remained undnclosed and the further east one moved in the island, the higher percentage of enclosed land was found.
Orchards accounted for 15.5% of the total land area of the island, and 19.1% of enclosed land. St Saviour was by far the most productive parish, with the whole of its land area enclosed and 36% covered in orchards.
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