Some of us may recall the stories about the Rector John Worlidge. He lived between 1630 and 1693. He was an erudite man – as are many rectors, imams, shamans, wise men, seers and scholars. One of his essays was on fertiliser.
Place the skin, horns and hooves of cattle into a pit. Add some tanned leather. Sprinkle with salt, lime and the bones of the beast. Mix the concoction with an equal potion of earth. Water occasionally.
This recipe gives excellent compost.
He also used rags from deceased paupers in London. Women, old people and children were employed to tear the rags into small pieces. The rags were ploughed into the soil. Instant fertiliser!
We would be frowned upon in today’s world for using women, old people children to work on poxed rags from the dead of London. How many extremely bright children, all those years ago, were forced to work in conditions like those described above?
One of the foremost early planks of the eleven plus was the desire for grammar schools to offer opportunities to the poor.