Sheep House, below Medd Crag, Bilsdale

It seems to me that it is quite uncommon in the North York Moors to have a barn for housing sheep1The North York Moors Historic Environment Record (HER) No. 10734 remote from the farmyard, unlike, say, the cow-houses of the Yorkshire Dales. And as barns go this is quite a long one, undivided, just one long space.

Built sometime in the late 19th-century, perhaps it was used for lambing but as one contemporary writes “the sheep-house should be connected with an open yard and it should be little more than an open shed, as no animal suffers more than sheep from heat and overcrowding”2J. Royal Agricultural Soc. England, 23 (1862). Pagination 634. Publication Date 1862. Publisher John Murray. Volume 23 Or maybe it was used during shearing.

Shearing houses and sheep-cotes were a common feature of medieval and Tudor farms but went out of use, and in Cumbria,  yearling sheep, ‘hogs’, were sheltered in ‘hog-houses’3Wood, Eric S. “Historical Britain”. The Harvill Press 1997. ISBN 1 86046 214 6.

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