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Two deserted medieval hamlets and part of an associated field system, 830m east of Shillmoor

A Scheduled Monument in Alwinton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3637 / 55°21'49"N

Longitude: -2.1684 / 2°10'6"W

OS Eastings: 389421.828368

OS Northings: 607757.822675

OS Grid: NT894077

Mapcode National: GBR F69F.B2

Mapcode Global: WHB0D.NFMY

Entry Name: Two deserted medieval hamlets and part of an associated field system, 830m east of Shillmoor

Scheduled Date: 23 August 1978

Last Amended: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017759

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28543

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Alwinton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of two deserted medieval hamlets and part of
an associated field system, situated on the south and east facing slopes of
high moorland. The first hamlet, at the south east corner of the monument, is
situated immediately below the highest part of the hill; it contains the
rectangular foundations of up to five houses, largely orientated north west to
south east, defined by low stony walls averaging 0.5m high. The houses
range between 9m to 20m long and average 5m-6m wide, some with clear internal
walls dividing the interior into two rooms. The houses are associated with
several smaller enclosures interpreted as yards or paddocks. Some 250m to the
north there is a second hamlet, comprising a compact group of four rectangular
houses with a single outlying house some 70m to the east, beyond the
unmetalled modern track which crosses the monument. The houses here, which are
orientated east to west, range between 22m and 10m long and between 5m to 7m
wide. At least two of the houses have an internal dividing wall with an
entrance through one of their long walls giving access into the most westerly
compartment, with a second entrance through the dividing wall into the other
compartment. The walls of all of these houses are of stone and earth up to 3m
wide, standing to a maximum height of 1m. The two hamlets lie adjacent to, and
are bounded by, a series of linear earthen banks ranging between 0.4m to 1m
high and averaging 3m wide. These banks are interpreted as boundaries which
divide the area of the settlement into several parts. One of the banks bounds
an area of rig and furrow cultivation.
It is thought that these hamlets formed part of the medieval settlement of
Whiteside which was recorded on a 16th century map of the area by Christopher
The modern stone sheep fold at the southern end of the monument is included in
the scheduling as it has been built on the site of further settlement remains
and it is considered that some parts of its lower courses may be in situ
walling from these remains.

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

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 Cheviot sub-Province of the Northern and Western
Province, the upland mass straddling the English-Scottish border. The sub-
Province has not been sub-divided and forms a single local region. Settlement
is now largely absent, but the area is characterised by the remains of linear
dykes, field boundaries, cultivation terraces and buildings which bear witness
to the advance and retreat of farming, both cultivation and stock production,
over several thousand years. The distinctive, difficult upland environment
means that many of the medieval settlement sites relate to specialist
enterprises, once closely linked to settlement located in the adjacent
lowlands, such as shielings, but the extensive remains of medieval arable
farming raise many unanswered questions about medieval land use and
settlement, touching economic, climatic and population change.

The deserted hamlets 830m east of Shillmoor survive well and retain
significant archaeological deposits. They are a fine example of upland
dispersed settlement and taken with the associated boundaries and fields they
will contribute greatly to our understanding of medieval settlement in the
Cheviot margins.

Source: Historic England


1757/267, Gates T, (1980)
NT80NE 16,
NT80NE 16,
SF 1757/267, Gates, T, (1980)

Source: Historic England

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