Ancient Monuments

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Large univallate hillfort, two round cairns and medieval shieling on Carrock Fell

A Scheduled Monument in Mungrisdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6935 / 54°41'36"N

Longitude: -3.0212 / 3°1'16"W

OS Eastings: 334275.171427

OS Northings: 533637.5204

OS Grid: NY342336

Mapcode National: GBR 7GB5.Q9

Mapcode Global: WH810.K9K8

Entry Name: Large univallate hillfort, two round cairns and medieval shieling on Carrock Fell

Scheduled Date: 23 January 1968

Last Amended: 23 August 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011592

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22545

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Mungrisdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Mungrisdale

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a large univallate hillfort, two round cairns and a
medieval shieling. It is located on the east-west summit ridge of Carrock Fell
and includes an enclosure measuring approximately 245m east-west by 112m
north-south surrounded by a drystone rampart up to 3m high and 4m wide which
has tumbled and spread to a maximum of 17m wide in places. The highest part of
the enclosure is a rocky knoll lying at the western end. To the east the
ground descends gradually in a series of steps beyond which it rises again to
a smooth rounded knoll in the eastern half of the enclosure. Access into the
hillfort's interior is provided by two gates; the west gate lies immediately
north-east of the highest point and measures 3m wide; the south gate lies a
little east of centre and measures 4.4m wide. A short distance east of the
south gate, and partially built into the outer face of the rampart, are
remains of a three-roomed medieval shieling constructed of stones removed from
the rampart. A round cairn measuring 15.3m by 14m is located upon the eastern
rounded knoll within the hillfort's interior. At the cairn's centre is a cist
orientated north-east - south-west and measuring 2.3m by 1.2m. Immediately
east of the western rocky knoll at the hillfort's highest point is a mutilated
round cairn 11m in diameter.

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

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and
surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions.
They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used
between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for
earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the
ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on
such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with
display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of
redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen.
The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of
slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may
survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and
between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or
two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned
ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the
passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by
outworks. Internal features often include round-houses as well as small
rectangular and square structures supported by four to six postholes and
interpreted as raised granaries. When excavated, the interior areas exhibit a
high density of features, including post- and stakeholes, gullies, floors,
pits, hearths and roads. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50
and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England
where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western
edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and
east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and
outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional
variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence
or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation
and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving
archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c 2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds and cover single or
multiple burials. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a
monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities.
Carrock Fell large univallate hillfort is the third largest hillfort in the
north of England. Despite some stone robbing of the rampart the monument
survives reasonably well. It will retain evidence for the settlement within
the hillfort's interior and for the construction methods employed in the
monument's defences. Additionally, despite limited antiquarian investigation,
the two round cairns within the hillfort will retain evidence of interments
within the cairns and upon the old landsurface beneath.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Higham, N, The Northern Counties to AD 1000, (1986), 129
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Hill Fort on Carrock Fell, (1938), 32-41
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Hill Fort on Carrock Fell, (1938), 32-41
Hutchinson, , 'History and Antiquities of Cumberland' in History and Antiquities of Cumberland, , Vol. II, (1794), 381-7
Turner, V E, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Result of Survey Work Carried Out in the Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria, (1987), 23-5
Turner, V E, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Result of Survey Work Carried Out in the Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria, (1987), 19-25
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
Raymond,F., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Large Univallate Hillforts, (1989)
SMR No. 5921, Cumbria SMR, Carrock Fell Hillfort, (1984)
SMR No. 5923, Cumbria SMR, Carrock Fell, (1984)
To Turner,V.E. (Site surveyor), Howard-Davis, C, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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