Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement on Grey Hill 930m south east of Ashycroft

A Scheduled Monument in Bewcastle, Cumbria

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Latitude: 55.079 / 55°4'44"N

Longitude: -2.6701 / 2°40'12"W

OS Eastings: 357317.27186

OS Northings: 576261.442596

OS Grid: NY573762

Mapcode National: GBR 99SQ.Q4

Mapcode Global: WH7Z7.YLQR

Entry Name: Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement on Grey Hill 930m south east of Ashycroft

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015735

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27760

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Bewcastle

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bewcastle St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement located on a
slightly elevated ridge on the western slopes of Grey Hill 930m south east of
Ashycroft. The site occupies drier ground than the surrounding area and
includes four stone hut circles of varying sizes together with a short length
of stone banking. The northern stone hut circle measures 3m in diameter with a
wall up to 0.3m high and has an entrance on its eastern side. Approximately 4m
to the south there is a larger hut circle measuring 12m in diameter which
occupies a low stone platform. Some 9m to the south of this there is an
oval-shaped hut circle measuring c.9m by 5m externally with a wall up to 0.3m
high. It has an entrance on the northern side and the hut's western wall
projects northwards for a short distance, suggesting it offered the entrance
protection from the elements. The fourth hut circle lies approximately 13m to
the SSW; it measures c.10m in diameter with a wall up to 0.3m high and has an
entrance on its eastern side. Some 22m to the south there is a stone bank up
to 0.3m high and 16m long. It is aligned approximately north-south but has
short returns at either end.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are
visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were
timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights
used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as
a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can
only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level
stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between
one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the
platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the
contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated
with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or
indicated by groups of clearance cairns.
Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it
is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early
Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed
and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the
same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument
types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation
and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement on Grey Hill survives well and
remains unencumbered by modern development. It lies close to other prehistoric
monuments on the fells around Bewcastle and thus indicates the importance of
this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be
found here.

Source: Historic England

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