Ancient Monuments

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Shieling, 110m south of Bull Crag

A Scheduled Monument in Kingwater, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0378 / 55°2'16"N

Longitude: -2.5757 / 2°34'32"W

OS Eastings: 363306.255812

OS Northings: 571632.170291

OS Grid: NY633716

Mapcode National: GBR BBG5.5W

Mapcode Global: WH90M.DMQS

Entry Name: Shieling, 110m south of Bull Crag

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011832

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25142

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Kingwater

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Gilsland St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the remains of a shieling of medieval date situated on
flat land within a meander of the steep sided King Water burn. The shieling,
orientated north west to south east, is visible as the footings of a
rectangular stone building measuring 9m by 3.2m. The walls are 0.9m wide and
stand to a maximum height of 0.6m at the gable ends and are 0.6m wide and
stand to a height of 0.3m at the side walls. The shieling is divided
internally into two rooms of unequal size with a clear entrance into the
southern compartment marked by the survival of an upright stone or door jamb
0.9m high. This shieling is one of many in this area which is known to have
formed part of the extensive summer pastures serving the permanent settlements
of several local manors.

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 Bull Crag is reasonably well preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It is one 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)
Other
NY67SW 05,

Source: Historic England

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