Digging deeper – ploughs

No. of Objects: 32

An image of some of the ploughs held at the Museum of English Rural Life.

Discover our plough collection

Explore what a plough is and what it does, as well as the science, technical details and rich personal stories linked to their use and manufacture.

Ploughs have been used by humans for millennia to cultivate soil before sowing seeds or planting. The Museum of English Rural Life holds a carefully selected collection of 39 mostly horse-drawn ploughs that represent the variety and development of this most important agricultural implement.

What can I see


Steam Ploughing

Digging Deeper - Ploughs

Did you know

...city families used to pick hops on holiday?

Hop picking holidays allowed city families to earn money. Pickers were paid with tokens, which were used in local shops or exchanged for wages.

Did you know

...Elizabethan mattresses were used for both childbirth and corpses?

Mattresses, plaited from sedges, were made to support a mother during childbirth or a corpse after death. After use it would have been burned.

Did you know

...farmers used to sow seeds by fiddle?

Sowing by hand can be slow and inaccurate. Seed drills were developed in the 1800s to sow seeds quickly in a straight line at regular intervals.

Did you know

...Lady Eve Balfour (1898-1990) was one of the earliest organic farmers and co-founded the Soil Association?

Women continue to play a key role in this movement, with organic farms employing significantly more women than chemical farming.

Did you know

...Suttons Seeds invented the seed packet?

The local Reading firm, founded in 1806, popularised paper packets of seeds for gardeners.

Item from the Suttons Sees Ltd. archive collection

Did you know

...villages often used to run their own fire services?

The National Fire Service was only created in 1941.

Did you know