Although Plain Huts is always keen to build a bespoke hut, we more often than not start with one of our three models of shepherd’s hut. When we first started out, we cast around for a good way to identify each model. As I made a cup of tea one morning, I was watching the Jacob sheep out of the kitchen window while waiting for the kettle to do its thing and a glimmer of an idea started to emerge.
Later, I googled ‘types of sheep’ and discovered a world that I knew very little about. SO many types of sheep! It was then that we decided to name our shepherd’s huts after types of sheep. The main difference between the models is the size so essentially all I was searching for was a large sheep, a middle-sized sheep and — you’ve guessed it — a small-sized sheep and so we named our huts: Romney, Jacob and Manx.
It may sound daft but the names have really stuck and become more than just a reference to size.
The Romney is a relatively big sheep; rams can weigh up to 110kg (about the weight of one of our big wheels). Amongst their strengths are a strong constitution and adaptability — obviously the perfect breed to represent our largest and most adaptable hut. A happy coincidence is that the Romney can be seen grazing in the fields around Stonehenge — not ten minutes away from our workshop!
The Jacob is a middle sized sheep and easily spotted with its coat of many colours. It is a popular breed, hardy and long lived. Our Jacob huts are our most popular size and built — as are all our huts — to be around for generations to come. The sheep have either two or four horns — here the similarities stop!
Our Manx hut is a small hut more like the huts of times past. The Manx Loaghtan is a small primitive sheep; one of the rare breeds of sheep on the watch list of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Like the traditional shepherd’s hut, it needs help and support to remain part of the landscape. This little sheep makes up for its size in horns, having at least four and sometimes six horns! It has to be said that we are rarely asked for small huts — such is the need for multipurpose spaces — but when we do make one, they always seem special and the older shepherd’s love to tell us stories of when they slept out in one!