Ancient Monuments

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The easternmost of two shielings on the left bank of Small Burn

A Scheduled Monument in Henshaw, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0418 / 55°2'30"N

Longitude: -2.4807 / 2°28'50"W

OS Eastings: 369376.768131

OS Northings: 572023.285113

OS Grid: NY693720

Mapcode National: GBR CB34.QG

Mapcode Global: WH90N.VJWR

Entry Name: The easternmost of two shielings on the left bank of Small Burn

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010031

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25134

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Henshaw

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Haltwhistle Holy Cross

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the remains of a shieling of medieval date situated on a
low bluff in the valley of the Small Burn some 20m east of another shieling.
The shieling is visible as the foundations of a rectangular stone building
measuring 7m east to west by 3m. The walls are 1m wide and stand to a maximum
height of 1m. Attached to the west end of the shieling there are the remains
of a small annexe or platform.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Shielings are small seasonally occupied huts which were built to provide
shelter for herdsmen who tended animals grazing summer pasture on upland or
marshland. These huts reflect a system called transhumance, whereby stock was
moved in spring from lowland pasture around the permanently occupied farms to
communal upland grazing during the warmer summer months. Settlement patterns
reflecting transhumance are known from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC)
onwards. However, the construction of herdsmen's huts in a form distinctive
from the normal dwelling houses of farms, only appears from the early medieval
period onwards (from AD 450), when the practice of transhumance is also known
from documentary sources and, notably, place-name studies. Their construction
appears to cease at the end of the 16th century. Shielings vary in size but
are commonly small and may occur singly or in groups. They have a simple sub-
rectangular or ovoid plan normally defined by drystone walling, although
occasional turf-built structures are known, and the huts are sometimes
surrounded by a ditch. Most examples have a single undivided interior but two
roomed examples are known. Some examples have adjacent ancillary structures,
such as pens, and may be associated with a midden. Some are also contained
within a small ovoid enclosure. Shielings are reasonably common in the uplands
but frequently represent the only evidence for medieval settlement and farming
practice here. Those examples which survive well and which help illustrate
medieval land use in an area are considered to be nationally important.

This shieling in the Small Burn valley is reasonably well preserved and
retains significant archaeological deposits. It is part of a larger group of
shielings along the River Irthing and its tributaries which taken together
will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider Border
settlement and economy during this period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 33

Source: Historic England

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