Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Dunton, Teague Land, 21 Duncton seems actually to find their presence a comfort “the sweetness of theire breath, which I was never sensible of before, and the pleasing noyse they made ruminating or chawing the cudd, would lull a body to sleep as soon as the noys of a murmuring brook and the fragrancy of a bed [of] roses.” I had but just compos’d my selfie to sleep when I was strangely surprized to heare the cows and sheep all coming into my bed chamber. I enquired the meaneing and was told it was to preserve them from the wolfe which everie night was rambling about for prey.  I found the beasts lay down soone after they had enter’d and soe my feares of being trodden upon them were over; and truly if the nastiness of their ecxcrements did not cause an aversuion hereto, the sweetness of theire breath, which I was never sensible of before, and the pleasing noyse they made ruminating or chawing the cudd, would lull a body to sleep as soon as the noys of a murmuring brook and the fragrancy of a bed [of] roses. Five Travel Scripts Commonly Attributed to Edward Ward, Howard William Troyer, ed. (New York, 1933). More precisely this is from his ‘A trip to Ireland’ 1699  here  Page 5  They seldom have any partitions or feveral Rooms, but fleep in common with their swine and poultrey Page 6  but at Night they ever incafe themfelves and ligg in the woollen, if their Wits can gather enough to cover them, otherwife the nuftle together in Litter with the Sow and Pigs The Travel Diaries of Thomas Robert Malthus, Patricia James, ed. (London, 1966), 188. This passage describes events in a “farm house about a Norway mile distant among the mountains” from Tolgen, Norway and not the British Isles as Ekirch contends. With the outhouses & cottages of the housemen, it form a little hamlet; but was in too dreary a situation to look cheerful. Some of the fields round the house,  & particularly the tops of the houses were tolerably fertile in grass, - the environs in general extremely barren. On the top of the houses the hay was in cock. In so wild & distant a situation we enquired about the bears & the wolves; & were told that the wolves did much mischief; but that the bears were of the small kind & seldom killed any cattle. The cows, sheep, & goats are brought up every night, & either housed or placed in enclosures near the house. During the light nights the wolves will seldom come near a house, & an enclosures at home is sufficient defence; but before october all the cattle must be housed every night. I know that it is unprofessional to do so but I genuinely laughed out loud when I read this passage, how Ekirch can believe that “housed” means that the cows, sheep and/or goats were actually brought in to the house and specifically the sleeping quarters rather than simply being put in a barn or ‘outhouse’ is genuinely beyond me. Later on the page Malthus writes I laid myself down not uncomfortably & slept at intervals till half past 3 Note the interesting use of the phrase “at intervals” implying fitful rather than ‘segmented’ sleep The Great Dirunal of Nicholas Blundell of Little Crosby, Lancashire, J. J. Bagley, ed., 3 vols. (Chester, Eng., 1968–72), 2: passim;  I am not sure why Ekirch writes “passim” in this reference as this is the only pplace taht it is mentioned. This is another of Ekirch’s infuriatingly vague references, the only two passages I could find are 11th November 1719 I began to lay my two Coach Horses in the House at night 11th December 1719 I began to lay my Colts in the Hous at night However neither mention the animals being in the ‘sleeping quarters’ as Ekirch contends. G. E. and K. R. Fussell, The English Countrywoman: A Farmhouse Social History, A.D. 1500–1900 (New York, 1971), 102. (N.B. The chapter is describing life during the restoration 1660-1712) The Cottager’s roof tree remained much the same as it was  century before, and the housewife laboured under the same difficulties. A single room, without a chimney, was the whole. In it the family lived and slept, sharing some of its limited space with livestock, supposing they had any. Poultry, pigs, the cow, the ass or the pony shared the roof, and were only shut off by a partition, if they were shut off at all. Given that the dwelling had but a single room the livestock were not brought into the “sleeping quarters” per se. BACK
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