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Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2014

Farming Past


The Shepherd's Hut

Shepherd's Hut

A fully equipped hut as used by the shepherd during the lambing season. The hut would be towed onto the Downs for the shepherd to live in, surrounded by all the tools and equipment he required.

The Centre's shepherd's hut was built at Tasker's Waterloo Foundry in Andover between 1910 and 1920. When it arrived Carol Sacha, then the museum's curatorial adviser, wrote an article which well describes its use:

"Huts such as this were lived in by shepherds during the lambing season when they had to keep a constant watch on the ewes and could not go home each night. The hut might be towed several miles from the farm to the sheep."

"Though the hut looks spartan, it must have been welcoming after long cold nights and spring weather. In a copy at the museum of the 1894 Country Gentleman's Catalogue there is an advertisement for a similar machine costing £3.10."

"Incidentally, a shepherd's wages, according to J. Alfred Eggar in 1870, were 35 shillings a week and £5 at Michaelmas. He also received a cottage and a garden rent free, half a ton of coal, 50 bavins (which are bundles of fire-wood), £1 a year for the keep of a dog, and six pence for every lamb reared. Shepherds were highly valued men."


The Plough Gallery

This contains the horsedrawn ploughs; including a Sussex wooden turnwrest, c.1900, and a metal balance and reversible, c.1920s. These are just some of the museum's large collection of agricultural implements which span the years from man to machine power.

Here, on the ground, are a wide selection of horse-drawn ploughs together with balance ploughs made by Davy Sleep of Plymouth and Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies of Ipswich. The latter company also produced the two furrow plough displayed.

Above, on the shelf, are wooden ploughs of the early 1900s including examples made by Cook's of Cambridgeshire and Dickinson & Burne of Guildford. Even earlier models are represented by the Sussex turn-wrest ploughs which came into use during the late 1800s.

Sussex Turn-wrest Plough

The turn-wrest plough has a wooden beam and body. The mouldboard, or turn furrow, was also made of wood and could be moved from one side of the body to the other, allowing the plough to be reversible. The ploughs on display were last used in 1900 and would have been drawn by a team of four bullocks.

Waggon & Hay Loader

Buckinghamshire Barge Waggon, c.1914. drawing Bamford Hay-loader, c.1918.

Just two of a wide variety of horse-drawn vehicles in the museum including a number of unusual examples from the reserve collection of the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading.

Hops and Picking

This display contains the equipment used in this very important local industry. Farnham hops were of the highest quality and fetched the highest prices in the 1800s. Hop picking was usually carried out in September, whole families taking part, picking from six o'clock in the morning to five in the evening.

On display are the baskets used to pick and measure the quantity harvested each day. The hops were then taken to kilns for drying before being packed by compression into hop pockets using the machine shown here. The "pocket" was a large hessian sack measuring 7 feet by 3 feet.

Other tools on show include those used to cultivate the ground before the bines were planted in the hop gardens.

Hop growers in the Farnham district included Sam Bide, Ben Caesar, Alan Tice, Parratts and Marshall. Their hops were regarded as the best in the country and fetched top prices at the Weyhill Fair, near Andover in Hampshire.

Thatching & Harvesting

In our handtool building you will find housed the tools used for thatching corn and hay ricks and stacks, cottages and barns, along with harvest tools like the large hayrake shown here.

The handtool display covers many crafts including a large collection of edge tools made by the local renowned Moss family.

Hand Tools