Ancient Monuments

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Shieling 150m south of Tinkler Crags

A Scheduled Monument in Kingwater, Cumbria

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Latitude: 55.0343 / 55°2'3"N

Longitude: -2.5729 / 2°34'22"W

OS Eastings: 363482.233152

OS Northings: 571236.87498

OS Grid: NY634712

Mapcode National: GBR BBG7.S4

Mapcode Global: WH90M.GQ1H

Entry Name: Shieling 150m south of Tinkler Crags

Scheduled Date: 31 March 1994

Last Amended: 24 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017731

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28570

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Kingwater

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Gilsland St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the remains of a shieling of medieval date, situated
immediately above the right bank of the steep sided King Water Burn. The
shieling is attached to a 19th century stone sheep fold and until recently
retained a roof of wood and turves. The shieling, orientated east to west, is
visible as the lower courses of a rectangular stone building 4m by 2.5m. The
walls of the shieling are 0.4m wide and those on the south and east stand to a
maximum height of 2m. The shieling comprises a single room with an entrance
through its south wall. There is a small opening above the door which is
interpreted as a smoke vent. The roof of the shieling, which was last recorded
in 1970, is no longer in place. This shieling is one of many in this area
which is known to have formed part of the extensive summer pastures serving
the permanent settlement of several local manors.

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 south of Tinkler Crags is well preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits and original features. It is one of a group of
shielings situated along the River Irthing and its tributaries which, taken
together, will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider
Border settlement and economy during this period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 27, 14

Source: Historic England

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