Shepherd's Way

Who was "Howell the Good" ?

From The Britsh Sheepdog by Sydney Moorhouse:

"Perhaps the earliest reference to the working sheepdogs of Wales occurs in the first part of the tenth century, for in the Ancient Welsh Laws codified by Hywel Dda (Howell the Good) about A.D. 920 and approved by Rome, we learn that the "Herdsman's Dog" was one of the three "indispensables of a summer resident", the others being a bothie* and a knife and that: "A cur, although it should belong to the king, is only four curt pence in value. If it be of a shepherd (Herdsman's) dog, however, it is of the value of an ox of current price. And should it be doubted being so; let its owner swear, with a neighbour above his door, and another below his door, to its going before the cattle in the morning, and guarding the hindmost ones at the close of the day." The price of an ox, naturally, varied from time to tim, but usually ranged from sixteen to three score pence.

It is an interesting commmentary on the worth then afforded the sheep, or cattle, dog that the King's Greyhound was deemed no more valuable..."



* a bothie is a small hut or cottage

Photo: Peaslee's Howell the Good