Friday, August 19, 2011

What is a Hay Barrack, you ask? A Newfoundland-wide photo hunt

I'm hoping that someone out there in Newfoundland has a photo (or memories) of a hay barrack. I'm working on a little article on hay barracks for a future newsletter, and would love a good illustration.

Here is what the Dictionary of Newfoundland English says:

barrack n Cp DAE hay barrack (1807-). Structure consisting of four posts and a movable roof, designed to protect hay from rain and snow (P 245-56). M 71-39 A barrack is composed of a square base of criss-crossed poles, to keep the hay from the ground, and at each corner a large upright pole. In each pole there are holes through which a large bolt can be passed. Resting on four large bolts, one in each pole, is a four-faced cone-shaped roof. These barracks are usually boarded in for about four feet from the ground. 1974 MANNION 176 ~ A roof sliding on four posts, under which hay is kept.

I'm hoping that someone might have seen one in a photo, perhaps not really knowing what it might have been. If you've seen one, let me know at

Thanks to Philip Hiscock for pointing me towards this excellent photo of one in the Ukraine. The illustration above is of both a five and four pole barrack, the four pole barrack showing boarding similar to the description in the Dictionary. Illustration taken from the Dutch Barn Preservation Society website, which writes:  Five-pole hay barrack (left), published in van Berkhey, 1810 (Vol. IX). The Dutch wagon size suggests this barrack is about 24' wide and 33' high. Note the winding jack set in position to raise the roof using a long pole. Its form is similar to that of a cheese press. Its relative size, however, appears exaggerated for clarity. Four-pole barrack at right, also from van Berkhey.

See also:

1 comment:

John Pratt said...


I do have a photograph of a hay barrack. I took it at Cape Anguille, Codroy Valley, in about 1994 - not exactly sure of the year. The structure is not large - probably about six feet high - but it is clearly a hay barrack, with a four-sided pyramidal roof sitting at the base of a frame made of longers. The structure was not in use when I photographed it but it had probably been in use some time within the previous few years, as such things fall prey to vandals pretty quickly once they are no longer of value to someone. The photo is a 35mm slide, which I will scan and send to you. Regards, John Pratt Ottawa