Born: 1674 at Basilson, Berkshire
Died: 1741 at Hungerford, Berkshire
Jethro Tull (1674-1741), born in Basildon in 1674, was a major pioneer in the modernisation of agriculture. The son of a Berkshire farmer, he trained for a legal career, but financial problems compelled him to opt instead for farming. Determined to improve agricultural methods and increase yields, Tull experimented at Howberry farm, Crowmarsh, near Wallingford with a seed-drill which could sew three rows of seeds simultaneously. Later, he devised a horse-drawn hoe to clear away weeds. In 1731, Tull published his ideas about farming and plant nutrition in The New Horse Houghing Husbandry: or, an Essay on the Principles of Tillage and Vegetation'. Despite initial resistance to Tull's revolutionary ideas, they were eventually adopted by large landowners, and in time formed the basis of modern agriculture. Tull died at Prosperous Farm, near Hungerford on 21 February 1741.