Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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xxx                                 ARTHUR YOUNG                                 283
his men, and permitted no licensed house to exist in Glynde. Not that he objected to beer ; on the contrary he considered it the true beverage for farm labourers ; but he preferred that they should brew it at home. It was John Ellman who gave the South Down sheep its fame and brought it to perfection.
The most interesting account of South Down sheep is to be found in Arthur Young's General Viezv of the Agriculture of the County of Sussex, which is one of those books that, beginning their lives as practical, instructive and somewhat dry manuals, mellow, as the years go by, into human documents. Taken sentence by sentence Young has no charm, but his book has in the mass quite a little of it, particularly if one loves Sussex. He studied the country carefully, with special emphasis upon the domain of the Earl of Egremont, an agricultural reformer of much influence, whom we have met as a collector of pictures and the friend of painters. For the Earl not only brought Turner into Sussex with his brushes and palette, but introduced- a plough from Suffolk and devised a new light waggon. The other hero of Young's book is necessarily John Ellman, whose flock at Glynde he subjected to close exam­ination. Thomas Ellman, of Shoreham, John's cousin, he also approved as a breeder of sheep, but it is John that stood nighest the Earl of Egremont on Young's ladder of approba­tion. John Ellman's sheep "were considered the first of their day, equally for their meat and their wool. I will not quote from Young to any great extent, lest vegetarian readers exclaim ; but the following passage from his analysis of the South Down type must be transplanted here for its pleasant carnal vigour: "The shoulders are wide; they are round and straight in the barrel; broad upon the loin and hips ; shut well in the twist, which is a projection of flesh in the inner part of the thigh that gives a fulness when viewed behind, and makes a South Down leg. of mutton remarkably round and short, more so than in most other breeds."
John Ellman by no means satisfied all his fellow breeders
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