Two shielings below Crying Crag


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011831

Date first listed: 18-Jul-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Jun-1995


Ordnance survey map of Two shielings below Crying Crag
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 20:41:22.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Kingwater

National Grid Reference: NY 63872 71057


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 shielings at Crying Crag are reasonably well preserved. They are part of a group of shielings situated along the River Irthing and its tributaries, which taken together will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider Border settlement and economy during this period.


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


The monument includes the remains of a pair of shielings of medieval date, situated at the foot of Crying Crag near the edge of the King Water burn. The first shieling, orientated north to south, is visible as the footings of a rectangular stone building measuring 8m by 4m. The walls are 1m wide and stand to a maximum height of 0.5m. The second shieling is situated some 3m south of the first and is also orientated north to south. It is less well preserved than the first and survives as a raised stony platform 7.7m by 3m. It is considered that these shielings may be of a relatively early date as they are more denuded and lie parallel to the burn. These shielings form part of a more extensive group in this area which is known to have formed part of the summer pastures serving the permanent settlements of several local manors.

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: 25141

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 27, 14

End of official listing