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Medieval dyke: part of deer park boundary at Cow Green and two medieval shielings

A Scheduled Monument in Crosby Ravensworth, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5027 / 54°30'9"N

Longitude: -2.5959 / 2°35'45"W

OS Eastings: 361509.505086

OS Northings: 512089.204601

OS Grid: NY615120

Mapcode National: GBR BJ9C.SP

Mapcode Global: WH93B.3340

Entry Name: Medieval dyke: part of deer park boundary at Cow Green and two medieval shielings

Scheduled Date: 29 September 1949

Last Amended: 3 March 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007594

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22501

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Crosby Ravensworth

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Crosby Ravensworth St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a c.370m length of dyke and ditch at Cow Green which formed a
boundary, or pale, of a medieval deer park, together with two adjacent
medieval shielings. The dyke is aligned north-south, measures up to a maximum
of 4.2m wide by 1.1m high and is flanked by a ditch up to 1m wide on at least
one and occasionally both sides. The dyke is one of sevem lengths of dyke
associated with a deer park at, or adjacent to, Cow Green, Crosby Gill and
Hazel Moor.
Additionally, five medieval shielings are located in close proximity to
lengths of the dyke including a two-roomed shieling measuring c.11m by 7m
lying immediately to the west of this length of dyke and a rectangular one-
roomed shieling measuring c.11m by 4m lying immediately to the south of this
length of dyke.
The deer park was enclosed in 1336 by the Threlkeld family of Crosby Lodge,
then called Crosby Gill, and extended to about 700 acres. During medieval
times it was owned successively by the families of Pickering, Wilson and

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for
the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally
located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house,
castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually
comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of
cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features,
including hunting lodges (often moated), a park-keeper's house, rabbit
warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a
park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Some
parks were superimposed on existing fieldscapes and their laying-out may have
involved the demolition of occupied farms and villages. Occasionally a park
may contain the well preserved remains of this earlier landscape. Although a
small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it
was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being
constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks, between AD 1200 and
1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility.
From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed and by the end of the
17th century the deer park in its original form had largely disappeared. The
original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded
3000. Many of these survive today, although often altered to a greater or
lesser degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but
are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks were a
long-lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to illustrate an
important aspect of the activities of medieval nobility and still exert a
powerful influence on the pattern of the modern countryside. Those deer parks
which survive well, are well-documented, and contain within their boundaries
significant well-preserved evidence of earlier landscapes, are normally
identified as nationally important.

This section of deer park boundary dyke is reasonably well preserved and is
one of a group of dykes which together enclosed the deer park on, and adjacent
to, Cow Green, Crosby Gill and Hazel Moor. Together these dykes form an
extensive and complex system of medieval land division and will contribute to
any study of the history of land use in the marginal areas of this region.
Additionally, the medieval shielings offer an opportunity for assessing the
contemporaneity of these structures and the dyke system.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 83-90
Relph, J T, The Chronicles of Crosby Ravensworth, (1992), 32
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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