A cattle shed made out of stone
This stone byre or cattle shed dates back to the 1830s. Stone byres were the 19th Century solution to the problem that cattle sheds made entirely of wood rotted from the inside, because of animal urine and dung, which caused the walls to become mouldy.
Under the byre there is a stone-built manure room that facilitated manure handling. However, the chilly draft from below could cause the cows to develop infections in their udders and stop producing milk. As late as the 18th Century, the byres were part of the enclosed farmyard. When the old wooden byres rotted, new stone ones were often built outside the enclosed farmyard.
In summer, the cows grazed in the woods. Then the winter byre was scrubbed clean and was transformed into sleeping quarters for the people of the farm, eager to escape their crowded winter accommodations in the farm’s main building.
Beer was also brewed in the byre, because breweries were rare in the area and only existed in a few cases on larger farms.
The stone byre at Hägnan is from Antnäs village, in Nederluleå Parish.