Field barns have been a characteristic feature of the Dales countryside for over 300 years. The date that most of them were built is unknown, but the main building period of the ones we see in the southern Dales was the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. They were an integral part of an agricultural cycle whereby the cattle spent the year close to where they grazed, which only started to die out in the last forty years. The hay from the meadows would be stored in the barns, where the cattle spent the winter months, and the muck accumulated during the winter would be used to fertilise the meadows.
The barns were made with stone, with the roof usually flagged. In Wharfedale they often have large double-doors to allow hay carts to be backed in, sometimes at the back of a large porch area, with two or three smaller entrances allowing ready access to parts of the interior. Large holes in the walls gave access to the roof space. They often had extensions added, known as outshuts, including calf hulls for wintering calves, and kennels.
The interior of the barns tend to follow a pattern - presumably the result of many generations of trial and error. Their features often have names originating from the Norse and Danish settlers from the first millennium, which can vary according to the area. The cows are held in the shippon, in stalls separated by timbered or large flagstone partitions called boskins. Each stall, known as a boose (or bose, buse) held two animals separated by a wooden post. The booses are cobbled, except for a row of flags along the front and back, known as settlestones. The ones at the back act as a curb, separating the boose from the area behind it. The front ones, however, are to make life more comfortable for the animals. When cows lie down, they drop into a kneeling position first, and the flags are easier on the knees than cobbles. The cows are tethered using a thin chain, a cowband, to a ring, known as a redwiddie, which can slide up and down a post called a rudstake (or rudster), fastened into the ground. The front of the boose, the skelbuse, was made of slatted wood. In front of the skelbuse was the fodder gang, a passage area used when feeding the stock. When in use, bedding is laid on the floor of the booses - originally bracken, but later straw as transport improved. At the rear of the stalls a channel known as a group received the muck. This was accessed along the back walk, from the shippon door. The muck was forked through a muck 'ole in the gable end of the lathe into an outside midden.
Each cow required an enormous amount of hay, typically over a couple of tons, as well as bedding to see them through the winter, and much of the barn space was used for its storage. The area not used to house the cows, known as the mew (sometimes called the mewstead when not in use) was the main storage area, but the roof-space above the booses, known as balks (or baux), was also used. The mew was at first filled from hay delivered through the door, but when the stack became too high it was loaded through forking 'oles in the wall. The hay was prevented from overheating by ventilation supplied through the forking holes, slits, and small holes in the stone work.
Skuff Barn still retains a number of the features described above. It also has the remains of a watering system, probably installed in the 1950s, which allowed stock to access water in their bose by pressing a lever with their muzzle.
Robert Chapman commented when he saw the photographs: "I have been in many in my 70 years, and run the gauntlet as you mucked out the cows. You often got the shovel kicked out of your hands, or received a nice dead leg from a nervous beast. I gave up using a brush - they hated it. I always looked forward to the warmth after I had trudged through deep snow to get there on a wild wet windy day. With most out-barns, you had to let the cows out for water once a day - then the fun began tying them back up."
For the following photographs click an image for a larger version and explanatory test.
The following is a record of the stone barns (lathes) to be found in the Hebden township. In the main only field barns have been included, but there are exceptions. It is based on those marked on the 1846 tithe map, together with later builds. Map evidence has been used to identify the approximate date of the latter. Others may have been built and demolished before the tithe map was made. The only barn that seems to have been built as a result of the 1857 Enclosures is a small barn on Tinker's Lane (B30 in the list below). The current status of the barns is recorded in the register below: some have been demolished or fallen into ruin, some have been converted to housing, but many are still standing. Again, an attempt has been made to establish the date of demolition or conversion. Below is a Google Earth image shewing the location of the barns listed. You may download the original kmz file which marks their locations.
Clicking on the location link brings up a Bing aerial view shewing the location of the barn. Clicking on a photograph link displays a recent photograph of the barn or the original site of the barn. Sometimes an "old photo" link in the notes will take you an old picture of the barn. When displaying an image you may use the controls to expand the image even further, or close the image.
|Barn Id||Name||Location||On tithe map?||Status||Photograph||Notes|
|B01||Longholme Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Some ruins apparent. Slates used for New Lathe in 1887. Old photo|
|B02||Wiggan Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Modified c.1969 after slates used on Beverley Farm|
|B03||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished between about 1846 and 1850|
|B04||New Year’s Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished between about 1850 and 1890|
|B05||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished between about 1846 and 1850|
|B06||Eddy's Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Converted about 1976 - now known as Cruck Barn. Old photo|
|B07||New Lathe||Here||No||Standing||Photograph||Built in 1887 by David and Richard Joy for £65. Slates came from Longholme Lathe. Has a date stone|
|B08||High Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished after late 1930s. Old photo|
|B09||Home Barn||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Extended in 1896 by David and Richard Joy|
|B10||Pickering High Lathe(?)||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Extended between 1890 and 1907|
|B11||Pickering Low Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph|
|B12||Town Head Lathe||Here||Yes||Converted||Dated to before 1720, possibly rebuilt in 1780s. Converted in 2022.
It is large for the area, with shippons at each end with a threshing floor between. Old photo
|B13||Knot Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Probably demolished between about 1850 and 1890, it is now the site of a shooting lodge|
|B14||Rosemary Lathe||Here||Yes||Converted||House named Daisy Barn. Old photo|
|B15||Flatts Lathe||Here||Yes||Converted||Next to Rosemary Cottage. Converted about 2015. Old photo|
|B16||Daisy Farm Lathe||Here||Yes||Converted||Opposite Rosemary Cottage. Converted about 2003 (Aerial photograph taken during conversion). Old photo|
|B17||Here||No||Converted||Now Flatts Farm garage. Built between about 1850 and 1890. Converted 1997. Old photo|
|B18||New Dyke Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||One of two. Demolished after 1907|
|B19||New Dyke Lathe||Here||No||Standing||Photograph||One of two. Has a date stone of 1875, which matches map data|
|B20||Hebden Hall Lathe(?)||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Added on to a small cottage.|
|B21||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Built before Crag Cottage, and joined when converted c.1977. Once had an exterior porch. Photo: Rosemary Howard. Old photo - Old photo|
|B22||Here||Yes||Gone||Taken down in the 1950s?. Old photo|
|B23||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished between about 1850 and 1890|
|B24||Lythe Flat Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph|
|B25||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Now Mill Barn. Converted about 2009. Old photo|
|B26||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished between about 1850 and 1890|
|B27||Knowles Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished about 2008, and stone used for Scale Haw. Old photo|
|B28||Petty Side Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph|
|B29||Knowles Upper Laithe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Collapsed in the 1970s, with some stones and slates recycled at Hole Bottom. Ruins remain. Old photo|
|B30||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Built between 1853 and 1894, it has a inscription above a shippon door|
|B31||Coppergill Barn||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished between about 1850 and 1890|
|B32||Kiln Lathe||Here||Yes||Converted||Old photo|
|B33||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Near High Dene - the main door has been modified and one of the shippon doors filled in|
|B34||Bridge Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Converted in 2004. Now known as Orchard House. Old photo|
|B35||Scala Glen Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Converted about 1983. Old photo - Old photo|
|B36||West Croft Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished between about 1846 and 1850|
|B37||North Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Rose Bank Farm. Converted about 2007. Old photo|
|B38||South Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Rose Bank Farm. Converted about 2007 (Photo taken during conversion). Old photo|
|B39||Court Croft Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Converted about 2002. Now known as Green Farm Barn. Old photo|
|B40||Croft House Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Converted about 1994. Now known as Lady Croft Barn. Old photo|
|B41||Saxelby Home Barn||Here||Yes||Converted||Converted 2005. Now known as Prospect Lathe|
|B42||Saxelby Barn||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Burnt down in 1889, and rebuilt by Mary Anne Hird. It has an inscription above the main door. Old photo|
|B43||Whips Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Extended and altered in 1880 by Thomas Stockdale|
|B45||Brow Top Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph|
|B48||Jacky Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Demolished in 1992, with stone used for garage at Highfield. Some flags line the wall next to the site|
|B49||West Gate Lathe||Here||Yes||Gone||Photograph||Collapsed in the 1980s. Stone re-used|
|B50||Bents Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Called 'Dacres Lathe' on 1853 OS map|
|B51||John Lathe||Here||Yes||Converted||Photograph||Conversion in progress (2022)|
|B52||Scuff Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph||Retains many original features|
|B53||Bank Top Lathe||Here||Yes||Standing||Photograph|
|B54||Scar Side Lathe||Here||Yes||Converted||Converted about 1987. Now known as Hedgehog House. Old photo|