Shepherd's hut

Last updated
Shepherd's hut in Loch Ewe The 'Shepherd's Hut' - - 927310.jpg
Shepherd's hut in Loch Ewe
Derelict hut in the parkland at Hanbury Hall Hanbury Hall Park - shepherd's hut.jpg
Derelict hut in the parkland at Hanbury Hall
Shepherd's hut near Gunstone Shepherd's Hut - - 522361.jpg
Shepherd's hut near Gunstone

The shepherd's hut (or shepherd's wagon) was, since the 15th century [1] and into the 20th century, used by shepherds during sheep raising and lambing, primarily in the United Kingdom and France. [2] Shepherd's huts often had iron wheels and corrugated iron tops. Sometimes the sides were also made of corrugated iron.


Use of shepherd's huts by farmers reached a peak in the late 19th century and dwindled in the 20th century with the advent of mechanised farm machinery and electric power reaching even remote farms. Their use persisted in some northern counties in the United Kingdom, particularly Westmoreland and Northumberland, where the terrain of the uplands supports little else but sheep farming.

There have been numerous different materials used to construct shepherd's huts and after World War I, when metal was in short supply the chassis were often built with wood and the sides built with interlocking planks of larch or spruce. Sometimes the roof covering would be constructed from felt and tar and insulated with lambswool. Cast iron wheels were frequently recycled from other farm machinery. There are now very few examples of the later 20th century shepherd's huts in the county of Westmorland which became Cumbria in 1974.

The shepherd's hut was a kitchen, dining room, bedroom, sitting room and storeroom all rolled into one. The designs vary but all were constructed to provide the shepherd with practical and durable accommodation. The old huts had a stove in one corner for warmth and cooking, and a window on each side so the shepherd could see the flock. A hinged stable door, which was always positioned away from the prevailing wind, enabled him to hear the flock, and strong axles with cast iron wheels were used to withstand the constant movement from field to field. [3]

Shepherds huts are still in use today, but primarily as glamping accommodation, or as an alternative to a summer house, shed or workshop.

See also


  1. D'Angelo, Isabella. "The Pennsic House is Period!". Isabella's Project Blog.
  2. Lassure, Christian. "The shepherd's caravan as shown in illuminated manuscripts of the late Middle Ages".
  3. "History of the Shepherd's Hut".

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Recreational vehicle</span> Type of vehicle

A recreational vehicle, often abbreviated as RV, is a motor vehicle or trailer that includes living quarters designed for accommodation. Types of RVs include motorhomes, campervans, coaches, caravans, fifth-wheel trailers, and popup campers. Truck campers are not considered RV's in the majority of states and do not require titles or licensing. They are generally considered cargo in the bed of the truck.

Caravan (trailer) Type of vehicle

A caravan, travel trailer, camper, tourer or camper trailer is a trailer towed behind a road vehicle to provide a place to sleep which is more comfortable and protected than a tent. It provides the means for people to have their own home on a journey or a vacation, without relying on a motel or hotel, and enables them to stay in places where none is available. However, in some countries campers are restricted to designated sites for which fees are payable.

Wagon Four wheeled vehicle (mostly pulled by draught animals)

A wagon or waggon is a heavy four-wheeled vehicle pulled by draught animals or on occasion by humans, used for transporting goods, commodities, agricultural materials, supplies and sometimes people.

Nissen hut Prefabricated steel hut

A Nissen hut is a prefabricated steel structure for military use, especially as barracks, made from a half-cylindrical skin of corrugated iron. Designed during the First World War by the American-born, Canadian-British engineer and inventor Major Peter Norman Nissen, it was used also extensively during the Second World War and adapted to the similar Quonset hut in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mobile home</span> Prefabricated structure attached to a chassis

A mobile home is a prefabricated structure, built in a factory on a permanently attached chassis before being transported to site. Used as permanent homes, or for holiday or temporary accommodation, they are often left permanently or semi-permanently in one place, but can be moved, and may be required to move from time to time for legal reasons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hut</span> Dwelling

A hut is a small dwelling, which may be constructed of various local materials. Huts are a type of vernacular architecture because they are built of readily available materials such as wood, snow, ice, stone, grass, palm leaves, branches, hides, fabric, or mud using techniques passed down through the generations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Romanichal</span> Romani subgroup

Romanichal Travellers are a Romani subgroup within the United Kingdom and other parts of the English-speaking world. There are an estimated 200,000 Romani in the United Kingdom; almost all live in England. Most Romanichal speak Angloromani, a mixed language that blends Romani vocabulary with English syntax.

Horse-drawn vehicle Vehicle pulled by horse; mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses

A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels and were used to carry passengers and/or a load. They were once common worldwide, but they have mostly been replaced by automobiles and other forms of self-propelled transport.

Vardo (Romani wagon) Traditional horse-drawn wagon of British Romani people

A vardo is a traditional horse-drawn wagon used by British Romanichal Travellers as their home. A vardo must have four wheels, with two being used for steering. The vehicle is typically highly decorated, intricately carved, brightly painted, and even gilded. The Romanichal Traveller tradition of the vardo is seen as a high cultural point of both artistic design and a masterpiece of woodcrafter's art. The heyday of the caravan lasted for roughly 70 years, from the mid-1800s through the first two decades of the twentieth century. Not used for year-round living today, they are shown at the cultural gatherings held throughout the year, the best known of which is Appleby Horse Fair.

Mary Carbery (1867-1949) was an English author.

A hopper hut was a form of temporary accommodation provided for hop-pickers on English farms in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Kent Life

Kent Life is an English open-air museum located at Sandling, next to Allington Locks, on the east bank of the River Medway.

Shepherd Person who tends, feeds, or guards flocks of sheep

A shepherd or sheepherder is a person who tends, herds, feeds, or guards flocks of sheep. Shepherd derives from Old English sceaphierde. Shepherding is one of the world's oldest occupations, it exists in all parts of the globe, and it is an important part of pastoralist animal husbandry.

Outline of animal-powered transport Overview of and topical guide to animal-powered transport

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to animal-powered transport:

Toowoomba railway station Historic site in Queensland, Australia

Toowoomba railway station is a heritage-listed railway station on the Western line at Russell Street, Toowoomba, Toowoomba Region, Queensland, Australia. It serves the city of Toowoomba, which is the junction for the Western, Main and Southern lines. The station has one platform with a passing loop, opening in 1867. It was designed by FDG Stanley and built in 1873 by R. Godsall. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.

Jondaryan Woolshed Historic site in Queensland, Australia

Jondaryan Woolshed is a heritage-listed shearing shed at Evanslea Road, Jondaryan, Queensland, Australia. It was built in 1859-60 to replace an earlier, smaller woolshed on the former Jondaryan pastoral station, which was at one stage the largest freehold station in Queensland. The woolshed was the scene of significant labour conflict in the late 1880s and early 1890s, as the station became a test case for the new Queensland Shearers Union in the lead-up to the 1891 Australian shearers' strike.

Acland No. 2 Colliery Historic site in Queensland, Australia

Acland No. 2 Colliery is a heritage-listed former mine at 2 Francis Street, Acland, Toowoomba Region, Queensland, Australia. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 29 June 2007.

Slab Hut Farm Historic site in Queensland, Australia

Slab Hut Farm is a heritage-listed farm at 847 Mt Nebo Road, Enoggera Reservoir, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was built from 1890s to 1890s. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.

Living van

A living van is a portable caravan, used by the itinerant crew of a traction engine.

Bella Vista (homestead) Historic site in New South Wales, Australia

Bella Vista is a heritage-listed residence at Elizabeth Macarthur Drive, Bella Vista, The Hills Shire, New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1830 to 1960. It is also known as Kings Langley, Stock Farm, Seven Hills Farm and Bella Vista Farm. The property is owned by The Hills Shire Council and was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.