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.
Many of the cowusses in Muker parish were built at the top of their various meadows to make life easier hauling the muck out and down onto the field in the spring. However we came across two rather fine examples last week that are definitely roadside buildings, one called Willy Greens (Willow Green on the 1841 Tithe map) and the other called Mary Field cowus. Both lie alongside the road between Angram and Keld.
Both were once farmed by Billy Hutchinson’s dad who had Keld Green Farm:
“Me dad was farming from there ..just milk cows and followers ..three or four cow’usses all round, on Kisdon Side, on Willy Greens, Mary Field.”
“Well, we had stock in them all, but I don’t think there is mebbe today, but we had stock in them ..hay mews, aye, was all loose hay then [made hay off fields by cow’uss] ..and then swept in by ‘oss, very first instance, and then we had old land wagons ..before the tractors came.”