This photo was taken in the field known as "Barley Furlong" Middleton Cheney, on the road towards Brackley
Left to right:
Robert HUMPHRIES : [--?--] HARVEY : Mrs Patsy YOUNG (née Annie Eleanor ARIS) : Emily Jane ARIS : Granny ARIS (village midwife) : Frederick J ARIS? : Francis RATHBONE farmer? : Fred PENN : ?? : William ARIS? : Charles ARIS : not sure about the little one at the front.
Village women were taken on for a variety of temporary or seasonal farm tasks such as weeding, stone-picking, hay making & harvesting as well as hand-picking various crops. Reliable gangs were hard to come by & farmers tended to get together & agree on a fixed rate per day so that there was little temptation for gangs to break up & seek work elsewhere.
The work was labour intensive & back breaking, not a consideration given to those women desperate to work & heavily pregnant - but many mouths to feed dictated the situation - to the benefit of employers.
Reported in the Banbury Guardian July 1878 .....
"An incredible occurrence was reported when a woman who had been hay making on Thenford Hill & was returning home, gave birth to a child under the hedge. After this ordeal she walked home & was delivered of a second child."