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Hardendale medieval dispersed settlement and site of medieval monastic grange

A Scheduled Monument in Shap Rural, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5254 / 54°31'31"N

Longitude: -2.6468 / 2°38'48"W

OS Eastings: 358235.721378

OS Northings: 514649.318953

OS Grid: NY582146

Mapcode National: GBR 9JY3.SK

Mapcode Global: WH933.9JW3

Entry Name: Hardendale medieval dispersed settlement and site of medieval monastic grange

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016759

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32823

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Shap Rural

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Shap with Swindale St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes earthworks and buried remains of Hardendale medieval
dispersed settlement, considered to have been founded as a medieval monastic
grange during the 13th century. It is located at 320m OD on a limestone ridge
approximately 2km ESE of Shap village, adjacent to the point where land
suitable for arable cultivation and meadow gives way to higher, poorer quality
land suitable only for grazing. It is in two separate areas of protection.
Although the date of the first settlement at Hardendale is unknown, the place-
name is first mentioned in documentary sources in 1235. Hardendale belonged to
Byland Abbey, Yorkshire, until the Dissolution in the 16th century and is
considered to have been a monastic grange specialising in cattle farming (a
vaccary) or sheep farming (a bercary). The settlement remains in occupation
today; the scheduling includes those parts of the settlement which were
abandoned but are still identifiable, including tofts or house platforms and
crofts or garden areas and associated small enclosures. Although Hardendale is
identified as an upland medieval dispersed settlement it does contain features
found in larger medieval villages; such features survive immediately to the
west of the main street and include a relatively regular arrangement of three
building platforms and assorted crofts and rectangular enclosures which pre-
date the existing post-medieval field system. This complex of building
platforms and enclosures forms a `compartment' behind which are the earthwork
remains of a back lane running approximately parallel with the main street.
Other earthwork remains of the medieval settlement, including a boundary bank,
small enclosures and faint traces of building platforms, lie to the east of
the main street in a triangular-shaped area of land between Hardendale Hall
and the main street.
All modern field boundaries, gateposts, telegraph poles, and a ruined stone
outhouse are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these
features is included. A septic tank in the field north of Raby Cottage is
totally excluded from the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Cumbria-Solway sub-Province of the Northern and
Western Province, an area characterised by dispersed hamlets and farmsteads,
but with some larger nucleated settlements in well-defined agriculturally
favoured areas, established after the Norman Conquest. Traces of seasonal
settlements, or shielings, dominate the high, wet and windy uplands, where
surrounding communities grazed their livestock during the summer months.
The Eden Valley local region is a rich agricultural lowland ringed by mountain
pastures. It is densely settled with small market towns, villages, hamlets and
isolated farmsteads. Medieval castles and monasteries, a multitude of
earthwork sites and the distinctive mix of Celtic, Scottish, English,
Scandinavian and Norman place-names all testify to the ancient and long
sustained occupation of this important region.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the
landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an
area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or
principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence
instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across
the area. These small settlements usually have a degree of interconnection
with their neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or road
systems. Dispersed settlements varied enourmously from region to region, but
where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include roads
and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings
such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where
stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may still be
clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlement frequently include features
such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement
are found in both the South Eastern and Northern and Western Provinces of
England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas. Where found,
their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of
information about rural life in the five or more centuries following the
Norman Conquest.
A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the
twelfth century but they continued to be constructed and used until the
Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order
but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident
lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by
non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practiced a mixed economy but
some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known:
agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse
studs and industrial complexes. Granges could be found wherever a monastic
site held lands and on occasion these could be located some considerable
distance from the parent monastery. The number of monastic granges which
originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated at several
thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately
located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued
intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological
remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic
life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as
nationally important.
The monument is a rare example in north west England of a medieval dispersed
settlement which developed out of an earlier medieval monastic grange. Despite
being partly overlain by post-medieval development, a substantial proportion
of the medieval dispersed settlement of Hardendale survives reasonably well.
It is a good example of this class of monument in the Eden Valley local region
and will add greatly to our understanding of the wider settlement and economy
during the medieval period. In addition, buried remains of the medieval grange
will also survive.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Roberts, B K, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Five Westmorland Settlements: A Comparative Study, , Vol. 93, (1993), 132-43

Source: Historic England

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