The imps of Pith Hill cow’us

We recently posted a nineteenth century story about a schoolmaster called Raymond from Muker being hounded to death by some imps living in a cow’us at Pith Hill.

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.

Pithill cow’us

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.

Love Lane, out of Muker

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.