Medieval dyke system and shieling west of Shap Abbey


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011638

Date first listed: 05-Dec-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Oct-1993


Ordnance survey map of Medieval dyke system and shieling west of Shap Abbey
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Shap Rural

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 54140 15428, NY 54299 15080, NY 54352 14907, NY 54600 14826


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval linear boundaries comprise single or multiple bank and ditch systems which stretch over distances varying between less than 1 kilometre to over 10 kilometres. The banks are constructed of earth or earth and stone, the earth generally deriving from the ditch or ditches associated with the bank. These linear boundaries were constructed during the Middle Ages and fulfilled a variety of functions. Some run at high altitudes along contours and appear to separate lower land used for cultivation from higher ground less intensively used. Some are territorial, marking the land utilised by particular social groups such as monastic landholdings. Others may serve to delineate land set aside for certain functions such as deer parks; they are frequently associated with other forms of contemporary field system. They provide important information, occasionally confirmed by documentary sources, on social organisation, land division and agricultural practice during medieval times. The medieval dyke system west of Shap Abbey survives reasonably well despite the disturbances which have obscured its original full extent. It forms an extensive and complex system of medieval land division associated with the abbey and will contribute to any study of the history of land use in the marginal areas of this region. It will also contribute to an understanding of the wider land holdings of the abbey.


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


The monument is a medieval dyke system together with a medieval shieling which lies adjacent to it. The dyke system covers an extensive area to the west, north-west and south-west of Shap Abbey. It is fragmented and hence the monument is divided into 4 separate areas. Where the boundary remains visible it takes the form of an earthen bank up to a maximum of 4.5m wide and 1.5m high that is flanked by a ditch up to 1.3m wide on at least one and frequently both sides. A length of the dyke south of Stone Howe has a double bank. A single-roomed medieval shieling is situated adjacent to a section of the dyke east of Stone Howe. The dyke system is extensive and indicates the former existence of an area of landholding associated with Shap Abbey that originally enclosed an area of fellside west of the River Lowther. All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 22497

Legacy System: RSM


Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)

End of official listing