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Shepherds' Guide, Walker 1817

source type: Walker 1817

Title and Preface

Title page:-

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Introductory matter, pp.iii-viii:-

MY first inducement to engage in this work was the favourable opinion entertained of the plan by several shepherds to whom I communicated it, and the success it has met with since its commencement is sufficient to shew the extensive benefit which is likely to result from it: it has not been presented to any sheep breeder who has not considered it of the greatest importance; the number of subscribers sufficiently proves the fact. Indeed its importance is so self-evident as altogether to supercede any apology from me in bringing it before the public. It is well known to every proprietor of sheep how apt they are to stray from their owners, and consequently, either from not knowing the proper owner or from neglect, or a worse cause - the fraudulent intent of the discoverer - are often entirely lost to him. Now my object in bringing this work before the public is to lay down a plan by which every man may have it in his power to know the owner of a stray sheep, and to restore it to him, and, at the same time, that it may act as an antodote against fraudulent practices too often followed,- in a word, to restore to every man his own.
If the work itself does not shew how far I have succeeded in these views, any thing I can say in its behalf would be useless and cannot recommend it. I considered that the best mode of representing the wool and ear marks would be to have printed delineations of the animals on which the respective marks might be laid down, and to which the printed description preceeding would sevrve as an index.
I have endeavoured to make this work as intelligible as possible; but as I never have seen any treatise on the same subject, I cannot say but that improvements might have been introduced, and that imperfections may occur; but these, I hope, the good natured reader will overlook. I cannot conclude without acknowledging the great assistance I have received in the prosecution of the work from Messrs. Richard Mounsey and William Jackson of Martindale.

Parish Marks

I SHALL lay down a rule by which a man's character may be preserved when he is innocent, and exposed when he is guilty. Let a man be appointed in each parish, and respectively furnished with a particular sign, with which when sheep are bought and cannot be made the purchaser's ear-mark, he shall burn them on the face or horn, and enter them in a book kept for that purpose; then if any dispute arise, he would be a good evidence, having them specified in his book, and on them the impression of the iron.
The same impression would be of great use to explain to other parishes when sheep are bought and cannot be made the purchaser's ear-mark; for instance, when any parish sign is seen upon them, the ear-mark is not according to the book, but the wool-mark only; and if that should be defaced, the said sign would shew to where they belonged.

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Shewing the Form of the Irons or Signs to be used by each Township.

1. MARTINDALE ... [ ]
2. BARTON, ... [ ]
3. ASKHAM and HELTON, ... [ ]
4. BAMPTON, ... [ ]
5. MEASAND and MARDALE, ... [ ]
6. LONGSLEDDALE, ... [ ]
7. KENTMERE, ... [ ]
8. APPLETHWAITE, ... [ ]
9. TROUTBECK, ... [ ]
10. PATTERDALE, ... [ ]
11. AMBLESIDE and RYDALE, ... [ ]
The numbering error is in the original.
N.B. These marks, when put upon the face, ought to be made three times as large as the representation here laid down.

Rules, Shepherds' Meetings

For the better accomplishing the objects in view, it may be necessary to observe the following


1. That each Township appoint a person by house-row, or in any other manner it may think proper, to attend to the exchanging of strayed sheep and other requisite offices; for which purpose two General Meetings of such delegates should be held annually at some conveniently situated public-house. Say, the first on the [20] day of [July] at the house of [Sarah Sisson] in [Martindale]; the second on the [25] day of [November] at the house of [Mr Addison] in [Helton] except either of the above dates should happen to be Sunday, then to be held on the day following; the greatest benefit may result by proper attention to these duties.
2. Previous to the meetings, all stray sheep ought to be collected by the person whose sheep usually go on the same part of the common, and be delivered by him to the person at that time appointed for the purpose of exchange, who shall convey them, agreeably to his office, to the place of exchange.
3. If a man shall wilfully neglect to collect stray or neighbouring sheep from that part of the common on which his sheep usually go, previous to the aforesaid meetings, for exchange, and deliver them to the person appointed as aforesaid, he shall be reported, and excluded the benefit of this Association.
4. If any person refuse to attend in his turn to remove sheep, as may be required, he also shall be reported and excluded the benefit of the Association.
5. If any sheep be found strayed or straying, and its mark be not in the book, it shall be conveyed to the Exchange; and if not owned there, be delivred to the Lord of the Manor, or his bailiff. It is then to be proclaimed at the church, and two nearest market-towns on two market-days; an if not claimed by the owner, shall belong to the king; and now commonly, by grant of the crown, to the lord of the manor or the liberty. The estray is not the absolute property of the Lord, till the year and day after proclamation; and therefore, if it escape from the Lord before to another manor, he cannot reclaim it. If proclamation is neglected, the owner may claim it without paying the expences, and may do so at all times within the year and day, if proclaimed, upon paying them; but afterward it is vested in the lord absolutely. The year and day runs from the first proclamation, not the seizure.
6. That any additional Rule or Rules may be added, or any amendment or amendments made in the foregoing Rules, by the Delegates appointed to attend at the first and second meetings of exchange, which said additions and amendments shall be lodged at the place of exchange, and also inserted in the public books of the respective townships.
In the Rules the day, month, person, and place are added to this volume in manuscript.
Observations on the following Survey.
TWINTERS in general are marked on the head, consequently I omit mentioning them except when it serves as a mark for the whole stock. Letters on the face or horns agreeably to a person's name, will be understood without being mentioned so many times over; but persons that burn a letter or character on the face or horns, different from their names, are inserted.
N.B. A bit or a fork signifies a sharp bottom, and a key-bit or square fork denotes a square bottom.
When different colours of a mark are used upon the same flock, one of them will be placed above the picture, as in No.3, Martindale; also, when the same colour is omitted, it will be placed in the above form, as in No.7, Barton.
A letter not always used on the same flock, will also be placed above the picture, as in No.2, Martindale.

Description and Pictures

The index begins:-

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The Shepherd's Guide.
Index to the Engravings.
No.1 - ROBERT WILKINSON, Bouskel: A square fork far ear, a red mark on the far side of the back, and a pop on the near huck bone.
Each entry is the caption for a picture.
The sheep diagrams are printed in black and white and hand coloured to show the smit marks. A typical page is:-

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There are three engravings for each page. There are said to be 6 woodcuts of a pair of sheep. The Longsleddale pages, used as examples below, use 3 of them. Look at the grass in the middle of the picture:-

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One of the woodcuts is signed:-

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Examples, Longsleddale

The smit marks and descriptions for Longsleddale are on pp.41-46 and pp.20-22 respectively:-
Sadgill small image, button to large
    No.1 - JAMES MATTINSON, Sadgill: Cropped near ear, a red mark on the back and down both lisks, IM on the horn, and a figure.
Sadgill small image, button to large
    No 2 - THOMAS WALKER, Sadgill: Cropped far ear, and under key bitted near, a red mark over both shoulders, and another over behind the shoulders, a pop on the tail head, and TW on the horns.
Tomshow small image, button to large
    No.3 - MICHAEL MATTINSON, Thomshow: Cropped far ear and upper bitted stump, a red mark down the far shoulder, M on the near side, MM and a figure on the horns.
Swinklebank small image, button to large
    No.4 - MILES WALKER, Swinklebank: Cropped far ear, a red mark on the back and down the far lisk, MW on the horns.
Swinklebank small image, button to large
    No.5 - EDWARD WALKER, Swinklebank: Cropped near ear, a red mark down the near shoulder, and a black pop on the shoulders, MW on the horns.
Tilshole small image, button to large
    No.6 - THOMAS HUDSON, Tilshole: Sharp bottomed fork near ear, a red cross on the far huck bone, TH on the horns.
Stockdale small image, button to large
    No.7 - THOMAS HOGARTH, Stockdale: Under bitted far ear, a red mark from the far side of the the back down the near side of the tail, TH on the horns.
Bridge End small image, button to large
    No.8 - WILLIAM WILSON, Bridge-end: Cropped near ear, a red mark under the near ridge, and a pop on the far ribs.
Tenter How small image, button to large
    No.9 - THOMAS WILSON, Tenterhow: Cropped far ear, under bitted and upper bitted near; two red marks over the back before the hucks, four inches parted.
small image, button to large
    No.10 - RICHARD TAYLOR: Cropped both ears, and slit near stump, a red pop on the shoulders and on the head, R on the near side, RT on the horns.
small image, button to large
    No.11 - MILES BECK: Cropped near ear, and slit stump, under bitted far, a red pop on the near huck bone, and a black pop on the back.
small image, button to large
    No.12 - JOHN FRANKLAND, Forest Hall. Cropped both ears, and a black pop on the near shoulder, I on the face.
Forest Hall small image, button to large
    No.13 - JOHN FRANKLAND, Forest Hall: Cropped both ears, and a black pop on the far huck bone, I on the face.
Swindale Head small image, button to large
    No.14 - GERARD RAWES, Swindale-head: Cropped near ear and upper halved far, a red pop upon the loins, GR on the horns.
Swindale small image, button to large
    No.15 - JAMES SEWELL, Swindale: No ear mark, a red mark down the near ribs, and half crupper on the same side, IS on the horn; bought sheep may have [black square?] ear marks.
Shap small image, button to large
    No.16 - JOHN HENDERSON, Shap: Cropped both ears, a black pop on the far shoulder, H on the near side; some have a red pop on the tail head, others the red pop on the neck, H on the face, IH on the horns.
Shap Abbey small image, button to large
    No.17 - MATTHEW CLARK, Shap Abbey: Croppe near ear, a black pop on the tail head, C on the near side, MC on the near horn, and a figure on the far; the polled sheep have C on the face.
Shap Abbey small image, button to large
    No.18 - MATHEW CLARK, Shap Abbey: Cropped near ear and under bitted far, a black mark down he (sic) near shoulder, and C on the far side, face and horns as above.
The next chapter is Kentmere.


This shepherds guide, the earliest, is rare. I am grateful to George Akrigg, Liskeard, Cornwall, for permission to look at his copy; arranged through Barry McKay of Appleby.
The only copy I have discovered in a public collection is in the Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen, call number SB 6363 Wal.

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