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Medieval shieling 800m east of Woodhead

A Scheduled Monument in Askerton, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0594 / 55°3'33"N

Longitude: -2.6512 / 2°39'4"W

OS Eastings: 358499.849785

OS Northings: 574075.758808

OS Grid: NY584740

Mapcode National: GBR 99XY.T4

Mapcode Global: WH90L.73R6

Entry Name: Medieval shieling 800m east of Woodhead

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016251

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27761

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Askerton

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Lanercostwith Kirkcambeck St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes a medieval shieling located on gently sloping hillside
800m east of Woodhead. It is a single roomed shieling measuring 11m by 9m
externally, with low turf-covered walls of rubble surviving up to 0.2m high
and faint traces of an entrance in the eastern side.

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 medieval shieling 800m east of Woodhead survives reasonably well and is
part of a larger group of shielings sited amongst the uplands and along the
rivers and their 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

Sources

Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 28
Other
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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