Ancient Monuments

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Smithy Beck settlement 1.10km north-west of Low Gillerthwaite

A Scheduled Monument in Ennerdale and Kinniside, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5223 / 54°31'20"N

Longitude: -3.3427 / 3°20'33"W

OS Eastings: 313189.015428

OS Northings: 514937.778125

OS Grid: NY131149

Mapcode National: GBR 5J34.3N

Mapcode Global: WH70H.MLFJ

Entry Name: Smithy Beck settlement 1.10km north-west of Low Gillerthwaite

Scheduled Date: 2 November 1972

Last Amended: 5 April 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007137

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 383

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Ennerdale and Kinniside

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Lamplugh St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


Four medieval or early post-medieval buildings and the archaeologically sensitive ground between them at Smithy Beck, located either side of that part of the Beck known locally as Clewes Gill.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of four rectangular buildings forming that part of Smithy Beck settlement centred at NY13191493 together with the archaeologically sensitive ground between the buildings. It is located on either side of Clewes Gill immediately to the north of Smithy Beck.

All four buildings are double-walled. The buildings and their surrounding walls and enclosures stand up to 0.7m high and vary between 10.1m-19.1m long by 6.7m-9.5m wide. The south eastern of the four buildings was partially excavated in 1962/3 and the results suggested an extended period of use and redesign. An initial occupation phase comprised a building with a large external wall which closely followed the shape of the internal wall, except to the south where it formed an extended apsidal end. This end was subsequently partitioned off by an internal wall. It is thought that the main cell was used for accommodation and the apsidal end for storage. On the west side of the building is a dry-stone walled porch which had been added later. The latest occupation phase saw the main cell partitioned into two halves, the northern half being the largest, with a hearth in the east wall and a raised platform to the north for a bed space. The southern half was smaller and was paved with granophyre slabs. A hearth was found against the southern wall and it contained a substantial amount of pottery both here and under the paving. The pottery was dated to the late medieval and early post-medieval periods. Partial excavation of another double-walled building in that part of Smithy Beck settlement centred at NY12751496 found a single dateable object - a fragment of wine bottle dated between 1650 and 1740. All the buildings in the Smithy Beck settlements have been tentatively identified as miner's long houses occupied in the late medieval/early post-medieval period and are thought to have been associated with the Smithy Beck bloomery and its associated earthworks located a short distance down the hillside.

Extent of Scheduling
The scheduling includes the upstanding and buried remains of four medieval/early post-medieval buildings forming that part of the Smithy Beck settlement 1.10km north west of Low Gillerthwaite together with the archaeologically sensitive ground between the buildings as surveyed by Lancaster University Archaeological Unit between 1995-1997. The boundary of protection runs 10m east of the easternmost building on the monument's east side, follows the south side of the footpath on the monument's north side, runs 10m west of the westernmost building on the monument's west side and completes a circuit of the monument by running along the north bank of Smithy Beck on the monument's south side.

A post-medieval sheepwash is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included. Clewes Gill is excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Smithy Beck settlement 1.10km north-west of Low Gillerthwaite is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: the buildings comprising the settlement survive well and contain a range of features;
* Potential: despite being located within forestry the relatively undisturbed nature of this monument increases the potential survival of artefactual evidence. Additionally the settlement has the potential for increasing our understanding of medieval settlement in the Ennerdale Valley;
* Group value: the settlement appears to be associated with other contemporary medieval monuments within the Ennerdale Valley;
* Documentation: our understanding of this settlement and its contribution to settlement in the Ennerdale Valley is significantly enhanced by the archaeological surveys undertaken in 1995-97 and in 2003.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fletcher, W, Fell, C, 'Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society' in Stone-Based Huts and Other Structures at Smithy Beck, Ennerdale, (1987)
Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, Ennerdale Forest, Cumbria. Archaeological Survey. Final Report, March 1998,
Oxford Archaeology North, Ennerdale, West Cumbria. Historic Landscape Survey, November 2003,

Source: Historic England

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