Ancient Monuments

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Shieling at Sundayburn Linn

A Scheduled Monument in Kingwater, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0509 / 55°3'3"N

Longitude: -2.4919 / 2°29'30"W

OS Eastings: 368672.708002

OS Northings: 573047.813002

OS Grid: NY686730

Mapcode National: GBR CB11.95

Mapcode Global: WH90N.P9LQ

Entry Name: Shieling at Sundayburn Linn

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010047

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25132

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Kingwater

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Greenhead

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the remains of a shieling of medieval date situated in a
natural gully on the left bank of the River Irthing. The shieling is visible
as the foundations of a rectangular dry stone building measuring 8.5m north to
south by 4m east to west. The walls, constructed of locally quarried stone are
1m wide and stand to a maximum height of 1m at the south gable wall. A wall
built of large upright slabs of stone divides the shieling into two unequal
sized rooms. There is an entrance through the east wall into the smaller
northern room which retains one of its original door jambs in position.

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 shieling at Sundayburn Linn is well preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It forms part of a group of shielings situated 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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