Herdy Huts Glamping in The Lake District
Herdy Huts

Shepherd’s Hut History

The first evidence of a wheeled Shepherd’s hut is 1596.

Whilst thinking that the Shepherd's hut is a relatively new invention, maybe late 18th or early 19th Century, we were amazed to find out that these old beasts have been around a lot longer than that. Thanks to the presence of a few very early publications, we have traced a reference to a wheeled Shepherds hut from the 16th Century during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.


Leonard Mascal, reputed to have become Chief farrier to  King James VI, produced a number of very early works regarding rural life. His titles covered such subjects as fishing, plants and one entitled ‘Government of Cattel’ published in 1596 was split into three sections. The third section of this work was devoted to discoursing the order of sheep, goats, hogs, and dogs, with true remedies to help the infirmities that befall any of them : also perfect instructions for taking of moales, and likewise for the monthly husbanding of grounds.

The small yet important description appears in this book “in some place the Shepheard hath his cabbin going upon a wheele for to remove here and there at his pleasure”. This is probably the very first mention of a shepherds hut in the form that we currently recognize. It is also the first glimpse that the Shepherds accommodation from as long ago as the late 1500’s was in line with his status as a very important member of the farming community. Those in more rugged terrain such as Scotland, Wales and morland areas of England had to deal with the elements it seems, a hut on wheels needs a track suitable to take it. Boggy ground or hilly areas rule out ease of access for a portable hut. In these cases a more permanent building, sometimes referred to as a ‘lookers hut’ was built to protect the shepherd from his sometimes bleak environment. A shepherds hut was a big investment to a farm or Estate, costing the equivalent of up to 6 months of the Shepherd’s salary. However it seems that ownership in most cases stayed with the Landowners rather than the Shepherd.

History reproduced with permission from www.shepherdhuts.co.uk

“The shepherd strays, a rolling hut his home” William Wordsworth



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