Ancient Monuments

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Kershopehead medieval shieling 610m north east of Kershopehead

A Scheduled Monument in Hawick and Hermitage, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.1721 / 55°10'19"N

Longitude: -2.7091 / 2°42'32"W

OS Eastings: 354932.4685

OS Northings: 586653.7815

OS Grid: NY549866

Mapcode National: GBR 98JM.9R

Mapcode Global: WH7YV.C869

Entry Name: Kershopehead medieval shieling 610m north east of Kershopehead

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015736

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27762

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Hawick and Hermitage

Traditional County: Cumberland


The monument includes Kershopehead medieval shieling. It is located on
slightly raised ground immediately south of Kershope Burn 180m east of the
confluence of Kershope Burn and Rowantree Beck, and includes a single roomed
shieling measuring 12.5m east-west by 4.5m north-south externally with
predominantly grass covered drystone walls up to 0.4m high. There is an
entrance in the shieling's south side to the west of centre. Attached to the
east and west sides of the shieling are small annexes; that to the east has a
drystone wall and measures c.3m square, the one to the west has a single
drystone wall 4m long.

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.

Kershopehead medieval shieling survives reasonably well and is part of a
larger group of shielings sited amongst the uplands and along the river
valleys and tributaries of north east Cumbria which, taken together, will add
greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider border settlement and
economy during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 31
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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