April 2012 - Shippons and Boskins
The number of potential traditional farm building sites that we have identified has risen to two hundred and thirteen, as one that we had overlooked was brought to our attention by the owner.
Even at this late date the number could still increase as, until village and farmstead sites are visited, it is difficult to estimate how many buildings fit the category.
Thirty six of the possible sites, originally identified from the maps, have proved not to be traditional farm buildings but have been an assortment of modern buildings, sheep folds, springs, archaeological sites and even the base of a former wind pump!
It is in there somewhere! © Jane Lunnon
Only two teams have been working this month, Team Five finished their allocation in Starbotton, whilst Team Three surveyed a complex in Kettlewell, both in village centres.
As we near the end of April, there are only a few buildings left to survey and these are mainly due to problems of access.
In general, access arrangements have been willingly granted, and due to the generous help and co-operation of the landowners and tenants their support has played a significant part in the success of this project.
In a few shippons, which have been in more recent use, concrete has replaced the original cobbled floors and wooden fittings; others have lost all the shippon woodwork but still retain their paving and cobbles.
Typical paving and cobbles in a former shippon. © Jane Lunnon
However, many traditional shippons survive and although they follow the same basic pattern, there are a number of variations in the detail. In most barns the boskins and skelbuse are of planked wood but in one barn they were slate in a wooden frame and two barns had wooden boskins but a dry stone wall for a skelbuse.
Shippon with stone skelbuse, note the tethering chains still attached
to the rudstakes. © Jane Lunnon
In most barns the shippons are constructed across the building, though some barns have doors in the gable and two rows of stalls, separated by a central foddergang, on the long axis of the building.
Very few of these axial shippon still survive, but there is evidence that a number now having the more conventional arrangement started out with this plan.