The Shepherd and Dog, began life as a cottage. At what point it became an inn is not known, but the old cottage structure which is still apparent in the beams and inglenook fireplace contributes to much of its charm. It was certainly used as an inn before the Census of 1841 and probably for fifty years or more before that. You will notice that the cottage was built on a chalk terrace which lifts it clear of the road. Its slight elevation and location next to the ever-flowing spring, with the dramatic backdrop of the hills above have provided it with a perfect setting.
Its name obviously derives from the major occupation of the local farms, six of which were in existence at the time of the Domesday Book in 1806. The hills were naturally suited to sheep-rearing and the spring provided a reliable sheep-wash. The annual washing and shearing of the sheep was a time of considerable excitement and several records of what took place are available. The spring was damned and pens filled the whole of the present roadway. A small pen was put up beside the stream to hold groups of twenty to thirty sheep. Two or three men worked together, standing up to their waists in cold water, as the sheep were thrown from the pen into the wash.
In later years casks were fixed to the bed of the stream for the men to stand in for some protection. But it was still cold, crippling work. Nathanial Blaker, a Brighton surgeon who lived in Perching Farm wrote in ‘Sussex in Bygone Days’ in 1906: “To stand for hours up to the waist in a stream of cold water was most trying work for the men who washed the sheep and I have seem them, when the works was over, walk to the Shepherd and Dog stiff and scarcely able to move with cold”.
A striking feature of the inn, especially for anyone over five foot ten, is its low beams and ceilings. This doubtless reflects its cottage beginnings but may be a result of floors added over the centuries, one on top of another. The most significant changes made as late as the sixties have been the alteration from public room and a snug into one long room and a single bar. New kitchens and toilets have since been added as a result of the increasing popularity of pub food.