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Shepherd's Guide, Thomas Wilson, 1913

These notes are from a copy in a private collection; I am grateful to the owner for permission to look at the book.
source type: Wilson 1913
Title page:-

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WILSON'S NEW SHEPHERDS' GUIDE FOR Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire

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I haven't much faith in the man who complains
Of the work he has chosen to do;
He's lazy, or else he's deficient in brains,
And maybe - a hypocrite, too,
He's likely to cheat, and he's likely to rob,
Away with the man who finds fault with his job.
But give me the man with the sun in his face,
And the shadows all dancing behind,
Who can meet his reverses with calmness and grace,
And never forgets to be kind;
For whether he's wielding a sceptre or swab
I have faith in thye man who's in love with his job.
LANCASTER: Printed by R. Brash, and Eaton and Bulfield. 1913.
Introductory matter:-
The compilation of a new Shepherds' Guide was undertaken by the late Thomas Wilson, of Keswick, at the request of the Buttermere Shepherds' Meeting, in September, 1906, supported shortly afterwards by those of Caldbeck, Stoneside, Mardale, Braithwaite, Wasdale, Broughton Mills, etc.
During 1907, Mr. Wilson visited the fell farms of Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness, and he had obtained over 1,300 entries of sheep-marks when the Mardale Shepherds' Meeting of November 20th, 1907, was held. Here, as at other Shepherds' Meetings in the three counties, he spoke in favour of a central association to take up the interests of sheep farmers and to prosecute sheep stealers. In the midst of these labours, he was attacked suddenly with acute peritonitis and within fourteen hours succumbed to the malady.
The necessity of such a guide, arises from the greater part of the mountain grasslands being unenclosed, so that sheep stray from their owner. The possessor of a Guide, by referring to it, is able at once to tell to whom the stray sheep belong, and the owner's place of residence, so that the sheep may be returned immediately to the rightful owner without any prolonged expense of keeping and advertising.
The usefulness of the Guide depends on its completeness, its simplicity for reference, and upon copies being well distributed amongst subscribers. Every care has been taken to make the Guide as complete as possible. New districts have been added to those covered by old Guides, all have been visited, and notices were inserted in twenty-four newspapers to attract the attention of owners of any outlying farms which migt have been overlooked. The increase in the size of the book testifies to the completeness of the work and to the energy of its compiler, as well as to the readiness of shepherds generally to enter their flocks. Grateful acknowledgement is made for the assistance given by Mr. H. Douthwaite, Wet Sleddale, Mr. John Newby, Althurstide, and Mr. Wm. Gregg, Kentmere Hall, and many others.
At the suggestion of shepherds, the districts have NOT been put in the Guide in alphabetical order, but, where possible, adjoining districts have been joined together, so that a farmer taking up a stray sheep would first look up the marks of his neighbours' sheep and then those forward and backward in the book, of adjoining districts. The classification under counties has alone broken this continuity.
In a work of such a size and character, it is well nigh impossible but that some error may have crept in; and the removal of the early compiler by death, before the matter was ready for the press, has increased the chances of error; but every care has been taken to guard against mistakes, and it is hoped there will be no serious ones.
In case of disputed marks, it has been thought advisable to print as received, leaving disputants to settle the matter themselves. The custom of the marks belonging to the farm and not the farmer does not apply in all localities. In cases where two distinct sets of marks have been combined in one entry, only one set has been shown on the print of the sheep. 'Ear marks various' or 'uncertain' mean that the sheep have been bought from different stocks. The blank sheep prints interspersed in the book will be found useful for entering new stock marks.
Much of the usefulness of the Guide will be lost unless farmers generally purchase a copy for their own farm. Mr. Wilson obtained many orders when registering the sheep-marks, and without such support it would have been impossible to have produced the book. A list of subscribers is incorporated in the Guide. Farmers without a copy are dependent upon those who have one to return stray sheep, yet unprepared themselves to return a like favour.
G. W., March, 1908.
Delay in the issue of the Guide has been caused by the printer of the first portion being unable to complete the work, which was at a standstill when Mr. John Simpson, Hazel Bank, Borrowdale, and Mr. Thomas Bennett, Walthwaite, Threlkeld, were apointed to take the matter in hand. Arrangements were made with the representative of the late Mr. Wilson, the parts already printed were purchased, and Messrs. Eaton and Bulfield, Lancaster, were given the Guide to print and complete. Mr. George Watson, who was a friend and helper of Mr. Wilson in the early part of the work, has, since his death, superintended and brought up-to-date the present Guide, and it is mainly due to the time and trouble he has devoted to the work that it is now being issued to the subscribers. Mr. J. R. Bleasdale, Cockermouth, gave valuable assistance at this time.
It was deemed unnecessary to print the literary matter and illustrations which the original promoters intended to be inserted in the Guide.
The guide has an alphabetical index of places within each county, a list of shepherds' meetings, a list of subscribers, a supplement about changes of tenants etc.


The guide is printed in black and white, and colour to show the smit marks. A typical page spread:-

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A typical entry from the shepherds' meetings lists:-
DISTRICT. - Mardale, Martindale, Patterdale, Troutbeck, Kentmere, Longsleddale, Shap, Bampton, Helton, etc.
PLACE OF MEETING. DATE. - Mardale - Nearest Saturday to Nov. 20th. / Kirkstone Pass - Second meeting Thur. after
REMARKS. - Meeting advertised. Most interested do most work. No rules. Very old established meeting.

The printing of Subscribers' names in alphabetical order, with addresses, would have made a cumbersome list; the names have therefore been grouped in districts and these only have been arranged in alphabetical order.
LONG SLEDDALE.- F. W. Carr, Messrs. Fishwick, James Nicholson.
It is one of these three copies that I am studying!


Examples from Longsleddale:-
Eng by G. E. Oliver Edinr. / From a Photo by Mayson Keswick
and are the same as those used in Gate's Shepherds' Guide, 1879. It is not clear whether the remark at the top of page 367 applies to the first entry on that page, or, unlikely? to all sheep in the valley:-
LONG SLEDDALE - WESTMORLAND. Year of birth on horn.
High Swinklebank illustration of mark
    James Nicholson, High Swinkle Bank; cropped and punch holed near ear, red stroke on near side from shoulder to fillets and down lisks, J N on near horn, lambs and ewes after clipping N on near side
High Sadgill illustration of mark
    Joseph Fishwick, High Sadgill; stroke over and down both shoulders, pop on tail head.
Middle Sadgill illustration of mark
    William Gibson, Middle Sadgill; under key bitted near ear, red stroke over and down both shoulders and another over back and down both sides, red pop at tail head, W G on horn. Inside sheep G on near mid rib.
Low Sadgill illustration of mark
    Joseph Fishwick, Low Sadgill; cropped near ear, red stroke over fillets and down both lisks, and a stroke from that up the back to shoulders. Inside sheep, M on near mid rib.
Tills Hole illustration of mark
    Thomas Park, Till's Hole; forked near ear, red stroke from fillets to far side of tail, stroke up from near hock bone over and across the other and down far buttock, T P on far horn. Inside sheep P on far hook.
Stockdale illustration of mark
    Richard Rogerson, Stockdale; under bit far ear, red stroke over loins, R on near side, R R on near horn.
Middle Swinklebank illustration of mark
    F. W. Carr, Middle Swinkle Bank; cropped far ear, red stroke from shoulder to fillets and down lisk on far side, I T on both horns; lambs and ewes after clipping T on far side.
Low Swinklebank illustration of mark
    Miles Walker, Low Swinkle Bank; cropped near ear, red stroke down near shoulder, black pop on top of shoulders, horn burn M W. Inside sheep W on near mid rib.
Toms Howe illustration of mark
    William Black, Tomshow; cropped and upper key bitted far ear, red stroke down far shoulder, M on near side, horn burn W B.
Middale illustration of mark
    William Black (continued), Mid-dale; upper fold bitted far, stroke down far shoulder, M on far side, W B on horn.
Wellfoot illustration of mark
    William Farrer, Well foot; upper fold bitted near ear, red stroke from fillet down near lisk, W F on horn.
Kilnstones illustration of mark
    William Farrer, Kilnstone; red stroke over both shoulders, horn burn W F.
Wads Howe illustration of mark
    George Blenkinsop, Wadshow; cropped and forked far, pop on shoulder, G B on horns.
Ubarrow illustration of mark
    Thomas Cragg, Yewbarrow; cropped both ears, red pop on both hocks, W C on horn, K on near ribs.
Murthwaite illustration of mark
    William Thompson, Murthwaite; W T burned on both horns, red T on near side.
Docker Nook Farm illustration of mark
    J. Dawson, Docker Nook; ritted near ear, forked far ear, red pop on near hock, red D on far side, J D on both horns.
Low House illustration of mark
    Roger Martindale, Low House; cropped far ear, red stroke down near shoulder, red pop on tail head, M on far ribs, R M on near horn.
Nether House Farm illustration of mark
    William Wilson, Nether House; cropped near ear, W W burned near horn, red pop on far ribs, red W on near side.
Beech Hill illustration of mark
    William Stott, Beech Hill; punch holed near ear, black pop on far hock, W S on horn.
Dale End illustration of mark
    Henry Dowthwaite, Dale End; D on near side.

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