We have found yet more evidence for late seventeenth century cowhouses in the Muker Manorial Court Books in the shape of the cowhouse on Jordan Close near Thwaite which changed tenant in 1688.
This field took a bit of hunting down as the transcription we have for the 1841 Tithe Map had no field with that number shown. However after a careful search back through the original Tithe Map photos we found what we were looking for just north of Aygill; field no 549 Jordan Close with the cowhouse marked with a red cross below, the tiny field west of it was called Piece and the field west of that was called Jordan Head. In 1841 they were owned by a James Alderson and occupied by one Nanny Alderson – the same family name as the 1688 tenant.
The cowhouse still stands at the end of the tiny field called Piece – whether it is the original 1688 building will need checking by an expert of course. Our Historic Environment Record suggests that it is eighteenth century but enlarged later on.
As well as recording the memories of local people who owned and used the cow’usses around Muker, we have also been asking for copies of family photographs to help illustrate their stories. This lovely example belongs to Chris & Raymond Calvert of Keld and shows Kit & Mary Calvert of Hoggarths, Keld having their hay time tea with their family in the shelter of Purse Cow’uss.
Over the winter we have been collecting memories from local people about the cow’usses they remember using when they were younger. Our Interpretation Officer, Karen Griffiths is now ready to start sharing these stories. Her first project is to produce a postcard for visitor businesses to hand out when they get asked what the little houses in the fields are for – this happens a lot apparently. She’s been testing out some layouts in the office today – there’s still a use for good old glue and scissors…