Directions left by a Gentleman to his Sonns: for the Improvement of barren and heathy Land, in England and Wales.

London, Printed by E. T. and R. H. for R. Royston … 1670

Small 4to., pp. [12], 34; a few headlines just shaved, but a very good copy in modern boards.


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Directions left by a Gentleman to his Sonns: for the Improvement of barren and heathy Land, in England and Wales.

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Sole edition of one of the first books in English devoted to soil conservation. The dedication is signed Gabriel Reeve and dated from Hackney, 14 April 1670.

The advice he imparts is based on 30 years of experience in Brabant and Flanders. First devonshire the land [an unfamiliar verb meaning to pare off and burn the turf and weeds], then add lime, plough, harrow, and plant, for example, flax seed, weed, water, dry, swingle [flail] and beat the flax, and for labour of less than £10 you have a crop worth £40. Calculations follow for profits for the second to fifth year. As an afterthought there are instructions for planting walnuts.

Wing R 671.

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