Ancient Monuments

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Medieval shieling 150m west of Trout Beck

A Scheduled Monument in Lakes, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4657 / 54°27'56"N

Longitude: -2.8929 / 2°53'34"W

OS Eastings: 342225.130232

OS Northings: 508185.716099

OS Grid: NY422081

Mapcode National: GBR 8J7S.HX

Mapcode Global: WH827.J0NT

Entry Name: Medieval shieling 150m west of Trout Beck

Scheduled Date: 10 November 1964

Last Amended: 21 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011136

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23629

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Lakes

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Troutbeck Jesus Church

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a medieval shieling located immediately south of Sad Gill and
150m west of Trout Beck. It includes a rhomboidal structure measuring 14.7m-
20.2m by 15.3m-18.6m which is sub-divided into three rooms with an internal
passageway. The largest of these rooms is situated at the north-east quadrant
and measures approximately 10m by 8.5m. A doorway in its west side leads into
a smaller room measuring approximately 8.3m by 5.2m that is also
entered by the passageway at its south-eastern corner. To the south of the
passageway is a third room measuring approximately 13.5m by 4.9m. All walls
are of drystone construction and survive up to 0.6m high in places.

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 foundations of the shieling 150m west of Trout Beck survive well, allowing
its full ground plan to be reconstructed. It is a rare example in Cumbria of a
three-roomed shieling and will retain further evidence of how the internal
space was organised and used. It is one of a group of three shielings in the
upper reaches of the Troutbeck valley, each of which has a different ground
plan. Together the group provides evidence of the earliest known occupation
and exploitation of this part of the Troutbeck valley. Further analysis of the
three sites would provide information on any chronological development of the
transhumance system to which they relate and also on any differences between
the individual sites.

Source: Historic England


A.M. 7, HBMC, Settlements N & S of Sad Gill, (1964)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

Source: Historic England

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