Shepherds as Hermits

Amongst the traditional occupations that required a semi-eremitical life was that of the shepherd.
The Shepherd, by Julien Dupre
“The Shepherd”, by Julien Dupre (1851-1910)

David Morris “Shepherds’ Huts & Living Vans” Amberley Publishing (28 Nov 2013)
shepherds book
David Morris, 50, is a rural enthusiast who has travelled around Britain photographing more than 170 shepherd’s huts, of all shapes and designs. He has now created a book “Shepherds’ Huts & Living Vans”, which celebrates these humble huts, once a common sight in the British countryside.

“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.”
shepherd 2
“A photographer fascinated by rural history has spent ten years touring the UK taking pictures of more than 170 shepherds’ huts. Agricultural expert David Morris, 50, has travelled thousands of miles indulging his passion for the countryside.
Shepherds’ huts – or shepherds’ wagons – were used for centuries by cattle herders during sheep raising and lambing.

The pictures feature huts of all shapes, sizes and designs from across the UK, as well as a number from France and America.

Mr Morris, of Somerton, Somerset, said: ‘I have always been fascinated [by] rural history. It is something I understand because I grew up in the heart of a rural community.
‘I used to restore huts myself and inevitably the historian in me just wanted to look for more. Soon I had so much information I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
‘It was only when the shepherds’ huts started becoming popular that I decided to make a book out of them.’

The curator of Aircraft, at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Somerset, added that he had found records of shepherds’ huts dating back to 1467.
shepherd 1
In the 1800s, a shepherds’ hut or living van would have been an unremarkable sight in many regions of rural Britain. But by the 1970s most lay abandoned as farming methods and industry left them behind.
Today the humble shepherd’s hut is making a comeback and these quirky collectors’ items are fast developing a cult status of their own.”

Read more:

Just as there is a modern revival in the construction of hermitages (albeit rarely for Hermits), so there is in modern versions of the shepherd’s hut (albeit rarely for shepherds): see, for example: . ,


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