The Shepherd's Hut

A fully equipped hut as used by the shepherd during the lambing season. The hut would be towed onto the Downs for the shepherd to live in, surrounded by all the tools and equipment he required.

The Centre's shepherd's hut was built at Tasker's Waterloo Foundry in Andover between 1910 and 1920. When it arrived Carol Sacha, then the museum's curatorial adviser, wrote an article which well describes its use:

"Huts such as this were lived in by shepherds during the lambing season when they had to keep a constant watch on the ewes and could not go home each night. The hut might be towed several miles from the farm to the sheep.

"Though the hut looks spartan, it must have been welcoming after long cold nights and spring weather. In a copy at the museum of the 1894 Country Gentleman's Catalogue there is an advertisement for a similar machine costing £3.10.

"Incidentally, a shepherd's wages, according to J. Alfred Eggar in 1870, were 35 shillings a week and £5 at Michaelmas. He also received a cottage and a garden rent free, half a ton of coal, 50 bavins (which are bundles of fire-wood), £1 a year for the keep of a dog, and six pence for every lamb reared. Shepherds were highly valued men."

[Photograph of the shepherd's hut]

Rescuing the Past
by Henry Jackson, the museum's founder

The trials and tribulations of collecting items of equipment - I think one of the most difficult was the Shepherd's Hut. We purchased it from Basingstoke where it was in use as a garden shed.

My wife, Madge, and I went to see how we were going to move it, we found both front wheels were seized solid. We made our next trip with a lorry jack, blocks and crowbars. We had to jack up the front and unbolt the iron stub axles, these we loaded on our trailer. At this time we owned a Land Rover.

We brought the wheels home. I then had to dig a hole and position the wheel and stub axle over it. I started a fire which heated the cast iron wheel which expanded allowing me to drive out the stub axles. After cleaning, greasing and fitting the wheels, we returned to Basingstoke to refit the wheels and axles.

We then needed a trailer which had to be large enough to carry the hut. I borrowed one from Wanborough and, in towing it up to cross the Hog's Back, I had to drop into second gear to reach the top. This had me worried as to whether we would be able to pull it when loaded. However, always an optimist, at this stage my brother-in-law and fellow trustee, John, agreed to help us load.

As it was going to be a dicey job we decided to do it on a Sunday morning. After quite a struggle we loaded the hut and proceeded towards Tilford. The whole venture was very chancey as the braking system on the Land Rover was not man enough to hold the load in an emergency.

We decided to come back via Crondall and then down Crondall Lane to Farnham with John ready with door open and a wooden chock. We descended in bottom gear before turning right and heading towards Coxbridge roundabout keeping a weather eye open for the police. As we passed the cemetery we saw a police car coming towards us. At this time we had a cart headboard on the Land Rover with the museum name on it.

We quite expected to be stopped but I think as it was Sunday, they didn't want to get involved. We proceeded towards Wrecclesham under the railway bridge and turned left as I thought the hill from the Bricklayers' Arms up past Green Lane cemetery would be an easier pull. As it happened we just managed to reach the top in bottom gear, four wheel drive, low ratio.

I dread to think what would have happened if we had to stop on the hill because the Land Rover wouldn't have held the load. We then travelled on along Shortheath Road and turned right to descend Gravel Hill with John with chock and door open. All this time Madge was sitting in the middle seat. Then we went down the Old Frensham Road to reach the museum. We were all very relieved to get home.

Another example of a shepherd's hut, this time made of wood, and an iron wheel similar to those found on the museum's example
[Drawing of a shepherd's hut][An iron wheel]
Perhaps a little surprisingly, shepherd's huts are still being manufactured, though generally not for use by shepherds. David Cherrington of Andover in Hampshire produces them and his website at www.shepherd-hut.co.uk and so does John Shervell whose web address is www.traditionalshepherdshuts.co.uk. Both are well worth a visit.
There is also the Shepherd's Hut Restoration Co. who specialise in restoring and rebuilding huts using salvaged original material. They can be found at www.shepherdshuts.co.uk.

The Village Hall

This typical wooden village hall building came to the museum from Lindford, near Bordon where it had been in use since the 1960s. It was attached to the Methodist church, but was used by many other local organisations.

Originally it was a portable army hut, possibly dating from the first world war, and was brought to the museum in sections by our voluntary workforce. Along with the building came all the contents, from prayer books to a table football game.

[Drawing of the Lindford Village Hall]

The Granary

[Drawing of the granary]
This 18th. century granary was originally located in Borelli Yard in Farnham, but redevelopment of the site necessitated its removal. It was dismantled by local archaeologists and given to the museum where it has been rebuilt in its original form.

Granaries were used to store grain. The building stands on nine staddle stones which prevented rats and other vermin from entering. Within are the pieces of equipment that would have been used in the handling of cereal crops.

On the outside wall, at either side of the door, the finish is mathematical tiling from the 1700s, also known as "poor man's bricks". They are, in fact, specially shaped clay tiles hung on battens across the wooden building frame.

The Cricket Pavilion

This beautiful all wooden 1883 cricket pavilion, which stood on the Holloway Hill recreation ground at Godalming, was scheduled for demolition when it was to be replaced with a new lottery funded building.
Fortunately it was offered to the museum and we were able to ensure the survival of this unusual building. Volunteers were largely responsible for the work you see today.

The building is covered in split wooden poles, like the chapel, in a style which is thought to be fairly localised to this area. The roof, now covered in cedar shingles, was originally thatched when first built and the whole ground floor, save the changing rooms at either end, would have been open to the verandah.

[Drawing of the pavilion from Godalming]

The building now houses a collection of local cricketing and other sport memorabilia, our groundskeeping displays and our temporary exhibitions.

Rural Life Centre : Old Kiln Museum : Accredited Museum
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund
Reeds Road, Tilford, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 2DL.
01252 795571 (Fax. 01252 795571)

The Old Kiln Museum Trust is a registered charity
Copyright Old Kiln Museum Trust 2007

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