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A medieval sheepwalk

This is a sketch of a medieval sheepwash in the north of England - it was made some years ago when there were still traces on the ground. Sheep came in from the north and exited to the south, bi-passing the bridge. The "pulpit" was a man-made structure designed to accomodate the men who washed the sheep down below them in the stream with long-handled brushes. It was a terrible job, wet and cold and very tiring but the woollen mills paid a premium for clean fleeces and sheep have terrible personal hygiene so every year, so it had to be done.

This Devonshire village had very similar geographical features to its counterpart in the north and was a popular place for sheepwashing until the wool trade declined in the 18th century.

Copyright owner not known but acknowledged

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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