Blacka Burn shieling

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010038

Date first listed: 12-Dec-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Blacka Burn shieling
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 06:02:28.

Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wark

National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND

National Grid Reference: NY 77440 77902

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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 at Blacka Burn survives reasonably well and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is part of a larger group of shielings in this marginal area which taken together will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider Border settlement and economy during this period.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the remains of a shieling of medieval date situated on level ground on the north bank of the Blacka Burn. The shieling is visible as the foundations of a rectangular dry stone building measuring 15m east to west by 4.5m north to south. The walls appear to be constructed of large boulders and stand to a maximum height of 0.4m. There are traces of a sub-division 5m from the eastern end of the shieling which divides the building into one third and two thirds. This shieling formed part of a larger group of at least nine shielings lying along the north bank of the Blacka Burn. The remainder of the group have been destroyed by forestry and this example is the only one to survive undamaged.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 25123

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 34
Other
NY 77 NE 05,

End of official listing