Shieling and associated building 1.45km west of Blue Hemmel

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1010039
Date first listed:
13-Dec-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Shieling and associated building 1.45km west of Blue Hemmel
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 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.

Details

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
25124
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 34

Legal

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

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