Shepherd’s huts

Huts on display or for study by appointment

These huts allowed shepherds to live and work in the fields at lambing time. Utilitarian in design and often roughly finished, they are the antithesis of the domestic interior. There is renewed interest in them today. We like their association with age-old concerns such as the struggle against the elements, and bringing new life into the world. We are attracted by the detatchment and self-reliance they offer.

This list is compiled from information provided by Network members in February 2010. It is not restricted to huts in museums, and is by no means comprehensive. As huts are portable, and require maintenence, please check availability before making a visit.

photograph: Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse: Museum of Norfolk Life. Accession No. GRSMR : NN377. Hut used at Yaxham, about 5 miles from Gressenhall. The interior is fitted with a bunk bed beneath which is a caged apartment for keeping sick lambs. It has a built-in folding table with a cupboard above for medicines, together with a small cast iron stove. © Rural Museums Network

Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse: Museum of Norfolk Life. Accession No. GRSMR : NN377. Hut used at Yaxham, about 5 miles from Gressenhall. The interior is fitted with a bunk bed beneath which is a caged apartment for keeping sick lambs. It has a built-in folding table with a cupboard above for medicines, together with a small cast iron stove. © Rural Museums Network

Handbury Hall, Worcestershire (National Trust)
An example in the grounds of the Hall.

Long Shop Museum, Leiston
A 1923 built Garrett living van used with a road roller.

Mynachlogddu Common, Pembrokeshire
An example from west Wales (see photograph)

Rural Life Centre, Tilford
A hut by Taskers of Andover is on permanent display. The interior is fully furnished.

Three Counties Agricultural Society Collection
An original hut stored at their showground in Malvern.

University of Oxford’s Harcourt Arboretum, Nuneham Courtney                                                                                            This example has an interesting museological connection in that it once belonged to General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers, the eminent archaeologist. ‘The General’s caravan’ as it became known was reputedly used by him as a shelter at his excavations.

 

photograph: Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury. Accession No. TTNCM : 54/1987/1. A hut on display thought to have started life as a road worker’s living van, then used as a shepherd’s hut on the nearby Butleigh Estate. Image date 2009 © Somerset Heritage Service

Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury. Accession No. TTNCM : 54/1987/1. A hut on display thought to have started life as a road worker’s living van, then used as a shepherd’s hut on the nearby Butleigh Estate. Image date 2009 © Somerset Heritage Service

Shepherd's hut at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm. Image date May 2012 © Rural Museums Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shepherd's hut at Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket. A hut visible to the public from outside. The interior is currently under restoration. Image date May 2013 © Rural Museums Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interiors

Huts in museums often have reconstructed interiors based on accounts of how they were fitted out. More often than not the stove is by the door to make it easier to refuel and empty the ash.

photograph: Hut at Cogges Manor Farm Museum, Whitney. The hut is no longer on site. Image date: 1989 © Rural Museums Network

Hut at Cogges Manor Farm Museum, Whitney. The hut is no longer on site. Image date: 1989 © Rural Museums Network

photograph: The Somerset Rural Life Museum hut at the Royal Bath and West Show, Shepton Mallet, 1992

The Somerset Rural Life Museum hut at the Royal Bath and West Show, Shepton Mallet, 1992 © Somerset Heritage Service

To find out more…

While Shepherd’s Watch… an article by Mike Wall, sometime curator at Weald and Downland & Amberley Museums, in Vintage Spirit magazine for February 2003, pages 28-32.

Shepherds’ Huts & Living Vans, a book by David Morris [ISBN 978-1-4456-2136-4], Amberley Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2013.

 

Inside the Acton Scott hut © Rural Museums Network