Wednesday 10 September 2014

Using Sheep To Build The Canals And Build Houses. Some Tales From The Field Gate.

We walked down the road to see the big cattle the other day.  They live across the road, next to the bay.  I always say that they go to the summer grazing next to the seaside.  Any road.  One of my neighbours and his friend who was visiting from England, commented how well the cattle look.  I told him that it was probably the minerals from the well water that gets piped to their bath in the fields.  He told me that in England they give fifty percent grants to build reservoirs for farmers.  Then he tells me he builds them.  So I asked him if they puddled the reservoirs with puddling clay like they did when they built the canals.  He explained that they use lime nowadays to line the reservoirs.  He then went on to tell us the the Irish Navvies use to run sheep along the bottom of the canal and over the puddling clay and all their hooves would tamp the clay into place and make the canal water proof.

Two of the cattle posing for a photograph.  You can see the bay in the background.  

The great landscape designer Capability Brown would use cattle and sheep to graze the grass and maintain his masterpieces.  In fact the countryside that what see is created by thousands of years of farm animals grazing and keeping the woodland and scrub at bay.

There is a lot of research these days into earth rays, Radon gas and the geological nature of the earth and soil.  I have read that the Romans would use sheep on potential building sites to see where they slept.  They believed that anywhere a sheep lay down it was safe to build a dwelling.  Cattle and sheep are said to use their horns to dowse for water.  The theory is that sheep would dowse for underground streams and the wouldn't settle on this ground because the damp would make them prone to headaches, rheumatism and arthritis.  It makes you think doesn't it?


  1. Dowseing cattle.....not heard that one before. Really like this post Dave, and the historical slant.

  2. Thanks John. I have read a book or two about the ancient art of water dowsing. There's nothing mysterious about it because water as a magnetic pull. Geometric stress studies on rheumatic patients have cured or helped their ailments because they moved their beds because they found underground streams under their beds. Ancient practices like Shamanism have treated people for geometric stress. I suppose there is truth in Ley-lines. I also read somewhere that King Arthur's Avalon is really Anglesey. Not many people know that that! Thanks John!

  3. Glad you enjoyed the blog post, Cranberry.

  4. " Using Sheep To Build The Canals And Build Houses."

    Yes of course Dave. I think it is time you put the bottle down, you are getting delirious :)

  5. Interesting about the sheep. But I'd prefer if you used inverted commas qhen you say the "great" capability brown, a man that reloated whole villages and communities for the sake of a vista, making his millions with his rich friends while the rest of the nation starved! I get more and more annoyed about the great houses the more I learn about how the rest of the country (and others) were suffering to pay for it. Sorry, I'll get off my soap box now!

  6. No I haven't been near the bottle, Heron. It's just folklore that I have read and listened to people. You like folklore and surely believe in ley lines. Your post about the Glastonbury thorn was really interesting. Apparently Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus uncle. He was also a tin miner. William Blake wrote that incredible poem "And did those feet in ancient times walking upon England's green. Later to become that great hymn Jerusalem. Thanks!

  7. Never heard about him relocating communities for a vista, Kev. I do know he helped create lots of jobs and had incredible vision. Long before bulldozers and earth machines were invented. He designed 170 gardens. So he must have been a very clever man. I read somewhere recently that a walled kitchen garden would cost about 100000 pounds a year to run now a days. Thanks for your comment Kev.


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