Two medieval shielings 210m north west of Clough Fold

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012650

Date first listed: 19-Jun-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two medieval shielings 210m north west of Clough Fold
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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.

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: St. John's Castlerigg and Wythburn

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 33122 23669

Summary

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 two shielings 210m north west of Clough Fold survive well, allowing the full ground plan of these monuments to be reconstructed. They are part of a group of ten shielings in the vicinity; some of which have different ground plans. Some have external structures, and some are located in pairs. Together they provide evidence of the occupation and exploitation of this upland area during the medieval period. Further analysis of these sites would provide information on any chronological development of the transhumance system to which they relate and also on any differences between the individual shielings.

History

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

Details

The monument includes two medieval shielings located on St John's Common 210m north west of Clough Fold and immediately south of the Old Coach Road. The eastern shieling is a rectangular single-roomed structure measuring 9.7m by 8.5m externally with drystone walls up to 1m high. The western shieling is a rectangular two-roomed structure measuring 11.2m by 5.9m externally with a doorway in its northern wall close to the north west corner. All walls are of drystone construction and survive up to 0.5m high.

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: 23788

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

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

End of official listing