Shieling 950m SSW of Mounthooly


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014495

Date first listed: 20-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Shieling 950m SSW of Mounthooly
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kirknewton


National Grid Reference: NT 87906 21627


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 shieling 950m SSW of Mounthooly survives well and will retain significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a discrete group of shielings clustered at this point south of Mounthooly which, in turn, are part of a string of shielings found along the bottom of the College Valley which are all built in similar locations: on slightly raised ground adjacent to water. They form a group of contemporary structures associated with medieval agriculture and will contribute to the study of medieval and later settlements and land use in the Cheviots.


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


The monument includes a shieling, of between 14th and 18th century date, situated on the western floodplain of the College Burn at the foot of the steep eastern slope of The Schil. The shieling survives as a low building foundation covered with turf with the long axis running north east to south west. The shieling is sub rectangular in shape and measures 8m by 5.75m. The walls are spread to 2.5m wide and stand up to 0.5m high, there is an entrance 1m wide defined by large boulders on the south east side. Attached to the north east corner of the shieling is a platform c.2.65m square which may represent some agricultural use such as a stack stand.

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: 24640

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Archaeology Section, Tyne, Wear Museums, , College Valley Survey: Mounthooly, (1994), 7

End of official listing