Ancient Monuments

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Medieval shieling 640m north of Troutbeck Park Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Lakes, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4491 / 54°26'56"N

Longitude: -2.8958 / 2°53'44"W

OS Eastings: 342012.10314

OS Northings: 506339.591209

OS Grid: NY420063

Mapcode National: GBR 8J6Z.WW

Mapcode Global: WH827.HF8K

Entry Name: Medieval shieling 640m north of Troutbeck Park Farm

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1974

Last Amended: 8 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011677

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22547

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 the remains of a medieval shieling located on a narrow plateau
on the western slopes of The Tongue 640m north of Troutbeck Park Farm.
Situated on the fells at a height of around 300m above sea level it lies on
marginal land well above other settlements. This position within the landscape
indicates that it was a shieling, from which the grazing of adjacent uplands
was organised during the summer months. The building measures 8m by 6m
externally with an entrance on the northern side leading to a central passage
with a small room either side. The walls survive as one or two courses of
granite boulders.

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.

Although lacking structural remains above two courses high, the medieval
shieling 640m north of Troutbeck Park Farm will retain evidence of its living
floor, hearth and internal structures. It is an unusually small example of a
two-roomed shieling, particularly when compared with the cluster of three
shielings located approximately 1.5km further up the Troutbeck valley.

Source: Historic England


Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)
SMR No. 1914, Cumbria SMR, Farmstead 700yds (630m) N of troutbeck Park Farm, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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