Ancient Monuments

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Shieling and enclosure 840m SSW of Mounthooly

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4893 / 55°29'21"N

Longitude: -2.1928 / 2°11'34"W

OS Eastings: 387914.162235

OS Northings: 621738.373511

OS Grid: NT879217

Mapcode National: GBR F44Z.22

Mapcode Global: WH9ZT.9915

Entry Name: Shieling and enclosure 840m SSW of Mounthooly

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015194

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24616

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a medieval shieling and an enclosure situated on the
western floodplain of the College Burn at the foot of the steep eastern slope
of The Schil. It is protected in two separate areas. The shieling survives as
a low sub rectangular stony mound adjacent to a modern track and measures 7.5m
by 3m. Across the track to the west is an irregular enclosure, roughly
rectangular in shape, which measures c.30m north east to south west by 17.5m
north west to south east with walls 2m wide and up to 0.4m high. There is an
entrance c.3m wide in the north east side with a wing wall 3.75m long on its
north west side. In the southern corner of the enclosure is a stone structure
3.75m square which may be a later addition. The enclosure is interpreted as a
paddock or stock enclosure associated with the shieling.

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 and enclosure 840m SSW of Mounthooly survive reasonably well and
will retain significant archaeological deposits. Their importance is enhanced
by their association with two other shielings clustered nearby which, in turn,
are part of a string of shielings found along the bottom of the College Valley
which are all built in similar locations on slightly raised ground adjacent
to water. They form a group of contemporary structures associated with
medieval agriculture and will contribute to the study of medieval settlements
and land use in the Cheviots.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Archaeology Section, Tyne, Wear Museums, , College Valley Survey: Mounthooly, (1994), 8
Archaeology Section, Tyne, Wear Museums, , College Valley Survey: Mounthooly, (1994), 7

Source: Historic England

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