Two medieval shielings 240m north west of Clough Fold


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012652

Date first listed: 19-Jun-1995


Ordnance survey map of Two medieval shielings 240m north west of Clough Fold
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1012652 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 07:09:36.


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 33078 23664


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 240m 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.


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


The monument includes two medieval shielings located on St John's Common 240m north west of Clough Fold and a short distance south of the Old Coach Road. The eastern shieling is a rectangular single-roomed structure measuring 11.3m by 8m externally with drystone walls up to 0.8m high. The western shieling is a slightly smaller rectangular single-roomed shieling which measures 10.4m by 5.4m externally and has a doorway in the centre of the northern wall. All walls are of drystone construction and survive up to 0.7m 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.


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

Legacy System number: 23790

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing