At a recent workshop volunteers learnt the merits of using digital photogrammetry to record traditional field barns (as well as other archaeological features). They had the opportunity to get out to a nearby field barn to have a go at photographing a barn themselves. Unfortunately the weather was changeable and the differing light levels made it difficult to get pictures without lots of contrast. However, with a bit of practice (and some editing) the product was a successful model of a local field barn (cow’us), Shot Lathe, near Keld.
“He kept a couple of cows at Lile Hill cow-house, which lies in the direction of Crake Nest and Love Lane. Whenever he went to milk or fodder them he had to pass Pith Hill cow-house, and this is said to be haunted by an unmusical choir of fiendish imps, whose sole plea for existence is to terrorise the countryside with their unearthly songs”
Arthur Harwood Brierley Leeds Mercury 1879
We’ve now (rather excitingly) managed to track down the cow’us itself. A bit of research on the 1841 Tithe map found two fields side by side called Far & Near Pithill with a cow’us still standing – in fact we’d walked past it last week when doing some research for our walk leaflets.
It does look a little imposing doesn’t it? The lane the story calls Love Lane is the one which now carries the Pennine Way north out of Muker and it takes you past this cow’us and a field called Crows Nest which we assume is the Crake Nest in the story.
So, which cow’us was Lile Hill, the one belonging to Raymond? There are two candidates: the first is indeed up on a little hill, to the left hand side of the lane, but the field it sits in was called Spring Brow in the nineteenth century. The second candidate lies at the end of the lane in a field called Little Long Ings. We may never know but we’d like to think it’s the ruined cow’us up on Spring Brow – left deserted after the imps drove Raymond to his death there.
Keld Resource Centre are keen to spread to word about the Every Barn… project and encourage people to come and stay in the Muker area, so we have bought them a really useful and portable display unit from CleverFrame which has just arrived. We’re very pleased with it and can’t wait to have a play with it.
A designer is on with creating the panels to go with it and then the full display will be ‘on tour’ over the summer. We will also adapt it to show videos about the project towards the end of the year – more news on these soon.
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…