Ancient Monuments

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Two shielings 150m NNW of Tom's Crags

A Scheduled Monument in Greystead, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0972 / 55°5'49"N

Longitude: -2.5694 / 2°34'9"W

OS Eastings: 363762.139835

OS Northings: 578233.496213

OS Grid: NY637782

Mapcode National: GBR B9HH.JL

Mapcode Global: WH90F.H4QR

Entry Name: Two shielings 150m NNW of Tom's Crags

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010037

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25121

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Greystead

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Falstone with Greystead and Thorneyburn

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the remains of two shielings of medieval date situated
on a large flat terrace on the east bank of the River Irthing. The main
shieling, orientated east to west is visible as the foundations of a
rectangular dry stone building measuring 12.5m by 3.7m. It is bounded by walls
0.7m wide which stand to a maximum height of 0.4m. This shieling overlies a
second shieling which is orientated north to south and which projects 3.5m
beyond the long northern axis of the later shieling. It is visible as a turf
covered wall 0.7m wide and standing to a maximum height of 0.2m.

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.

The shielings near Tom's Crags are reasonably well preserved and retain
significant archaeological deposits. They are part of a 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), 32
Other
NY 67 NW 06,

Source: Historic England

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