Early 19th Century Cottager’s Garden

The early nineteenth century garden of a typical farm labourer, based on the writings of William Cobbett. An early example of self-reliance.

The son of a yeoman farmer, William Cobbett wrote ‘The Cottage Economy’ in 1822. A treatise on self-sufficiency, aimed at helping the poor to help themselves. Cobbett regarded skills such as cultivating a garden, raising livestock and making beer and bread, as the foundation of a secure household and the best education for children.


It is questionable whether many poor people had access to ‘The Cottage Economy’ and its well-intentioned advice. However it has remained an inspiration for those aiming at self-sufficiency and sustainability.

This garden was originally designed to reflect Cobbett’s principles, with its vegetable garden, bread oven, livestock areas and hop bines.

Unfortunately though, the chickens are long-gone and this garden has suffered structurally over the past few years. It now (2012) awaits the time and resources necessary to bring it back to its former state, but still retains its charm and tranquillity.






Original Garden Design: Caroline Holmes

Some, or all of the above text may have originally been published by HDRA/Garden Organic (www.gardenorganic.org.uk) and is reproduced here, with their kind permission.