Call our sales team on: 020 7501 0591
Fast, FREE UK Delivery

on all orders of £40 and above

VAT Relief Available

Click here to find out more


The History of Shepherd's Crooks

The crook walking stick has been an essential companion to farmers and shepherds around the world for thousands of years. They've been used as a way tool to herd sheep, to provide stability on hilly ground, to hang a lantern on dark mornings, or even for defence from predators. While farming has obvious changed a lot, the historical significance and symbolism of shepherd's crooks has not! Learn more about them, how they're made and maybe even find a shepherd's crook of your own this guide to The History of Shepherd's Crooks.

How Is the Crook Shape Made?

There are two main ways that walking stick manufacturers can use to get the iconic crook in their wooden sticks:


This method is fairly self-explanatory but is easier said than done! Not only is considerable skill needed to smoothly round the crook of the cane, but a piece of wood much wider than the final product is also needed. This is so that the stick maker can carve the shaft and crook from a single piece, instead of having to attach two pieces of wood together, which could compromise stability. 


Yes, you red that right, curving! Now how do you curve wood, especially wood that you're hopefully turning into a shepherd's crook strong enough to withstand the rigours of farm life? Well the method is quite ingenious:

  1. Steam the wood until it becomes pliable
  2. Shape the end around a metal former to create the crook
  3. Tie the wood down so that it retains its shape once it cools and dries
  4. The rope used will leave a mark on the wood, which is then sanded off – this creates the little divot often found on crooks

What About Horn-Handle Crooks?

For an even more regal look, shepherd walking sticks are sometimes topped with animal horns instead of being completely made of wood. This can be done with horns from a variety of animals like deer, cattle, goats and like the majestic crooks below, rams.

Great for Catching Sheep!

For farmers the primary function of the shepherd's crooks is for wrangling, catching and corralling sheep. The hook and extended length of the crook walking stick make it easier for farmers to grab onto the neck or leg of a sheep and pull them in the direction they need to go. Sheep are faster than they look and moving herds of them can be really difficult, particularly if one of them decides to go for a wander! The crook can help keep them on the right path without farmers having to run around after them as much.

Keeps you Steady on Rolling Hills and Uneven Terrain

Even for farmers and hikers that are sure on their feet, nature's uneven terrain can be dangerous. A shepherd's crook can help you avoid trips and falls by providing an extra thing to lean on. It can also take pressure of your joints, making walking uphill and downhill much easier.

Defence Against Predators

While the average user of a crook walking stick probably won't have to worry about predators on their hikes or walks, farmers and shepherd's might have to. Whether its wolves, foxes, cayotes or whatever else, a crook staff is also great for defending your flock. After all, outside of the regal look and utilitarian hook, it is still a big stick!

The Shepherd's Crook as a Symbol

The shepherd's crook is also used symbolically in some religions for high ranking figures to show their responsibility to lead their 'flock'. This idea of the priest as the shepherd has been prevalent in a lot of religious writing and practice thousands of years. For pharaohs in ancient Egypt the crook stood for kingship and the pharaoh's role as a shepherd in caring for the people of Egypt.

More Than Just a Walking Stick!

We hope that this guide has taught you a little bit about shepherds crooks, both their versatility and history. Whether you're an avid hiker, farmer, or you're just a fan of the classic look, why not have a look at our full range of shepherd's crooks to find the perfect stick for you!

Have any more questions about shepherd's crooks or just something to say? Let us know in the comments, or find us on Instagram and Facebook!