Medieval shieling 150m west of Trout Beck


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011136

Date first listed: 10-Nov-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Medieval shieling 150m west of Trout Beck
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland (District Authority)

Parish: Lakes

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 42225 08185


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 foundations of the shieling 150m west of Trout Beck survive well, allowing its full ground plan to be reconstructed. It is a rare example in Cumbria of a three-roomed shieling and will retain further evidence of how the internal space was organised and used. It is one of a group of three shielings in the upper reaches of the Troutbeck valley, each of which has a different ground plan. Together the group provides evidence of the earliest known occupation and exploitation of this part of the Troutbeck valley. Further analysis of the three sites would provide information on any chronological development of the transhumance system to which they relate and also on any differences between the individual sites.


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


The monument is a medieval shieling located immediately south of Sad Gill and 150m west of Trout Beck. It includes a rhomboidal structure measuring 14.7m- 20.2m by 15.3m-18.6m which is sub-divided into three rooms with an internal passageway. The largest of these rooms is situated at the north-east quadrant and measures approximately 10m by 8.5m. A doorway in its west side leads into a smaller room measuring approximately 8.3m by 5.2m that is also entered by the passageway at its south-eastern corner. To the south of the passageway is a third room measuring approximately 13.5m by 4.9m. All walls are of drystone construction and survive up to 0.6m high in places.

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: 23629

Legacy System: RSM


A.M. 7, HBMC, Settlements N & S of Sad Gill, (1964)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

End of official listing