sea and sieve

wellies for sheep | waterperry rural museum

Did you know that you could once buy little boots for sheep, to protect their hooves? It was two shillings and eleven pence for a pair – or (for the more fashion-conscious sheep) three and six for a pair with on-trend zips.

sheep boots

And the little tan numbers are ceremonial boots for goats – so chic! I hope you like them as much as I do – the world seems a brighter place now I know sheep and goats once tripped about so well-shod.

They are from the Waterperry Rural Museum, in an old barn near Oxford.  In a museum like this, the past seems a room of infinite corners. Each of these tools once solved a problem or simplified a task; each was precisely shaped to answer a need which is now forgotten or remote.

waterperry rural museum

The collector himself picked out his favourite pieces. Leather over-shoes for horses mowing tennis courts – a device which distributed seeds evenly when bowed like a violin – giant wooden beads for shaping plumbing pipes – a contraption with whirling mirrors which attracted insects – bronze moulds for creating felt flowers and leaves to go on hats (pictured below).

silk moulds for making hat decorations

It is good, every once in a while, to be reminded of the importance of craftsmanship and detail. And it is good, too, to remember that sheep once wore little zipped boots.

This entry was published on 13 January 2015 at 7:01 pm. It’s filed under countryside, museum and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “wellies for sheep | waterperry rural museum

  1. great post! I’ll never think of sheep without beautifully made little zip boots now – thank you!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: