Shieling and associated building 1.45km west of Blue Hemmel
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- NY 73286 75074
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 1.45km west of Blue Hemmel survives reasonably well and retains significant archaeological deposits. Its importance is enhanced by the survival of an associated building.
The monument includes the remains of a shieling of medieval date situated on
the level top of a spur between two burns. The shieling is visible as the
foundations of a rectangular dry stone building measuring 8m north to south by
5.5m east to west. The external walls constructed of large and small boulders
are on average 0.8m wide and stand to a maximum height of 0.3m. There is an
entrance in the west wall of the shieling. Some 1.5m to the south of this
shieling there are the foundations of a second rectangular building 18m north
to south by 6.5m east to west with opposing entrances through the east and
west walls which are boulder faced with rubble infill. The larger size of this
building and its floor plan has led to its interpretation as a milking byre.
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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 34
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing