Medieval shieling and enclosure 330m south west of Langlee


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014927

Date first listed: 27-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Medieval shieling and enclosure 330m south west of Langlee
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Feb-2019 at 15:55:20.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ilderton


National Grid Reference: NT 96270 23039

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 medieval shieling and enclosure south west of Langlee are reasonably well preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits. It is part of a wider group of shielings found in the northern Cheviots built in similar locations, on slightly raised ground adjacent to water.


The monument includes a medieval shieling surrounded by an enclosure in the steep valley of the Harthope Burn. It is situated on an elevated ridge, called The Shank, between the Harthope and Leech Burns with good views up and down the valley. The enclosure is sub-oval in shape and measures internally 27m east-west by 30m north-south. It consists of an earth and stone bank 3m wide and up to 0.7m high with internal and external kerb stones visible in places. There are two possible entrances: on the south east and the west sides, each 2m wide. The enclosure is divided by a bank of earth and stone 1.5m wide and up to 0.2m high. In the south east corner of the enclosure lies a shieling 11m long by 6m wide; it is subdivided by an internal wall into two unequal size rooms. Attached to the north east end is a third room, 3m square. The walls are spread up to 1.5m wide and stand 0.2m high. The enclosure has very slight indications of scooping on the north side which may indicate the enclosure is located on the site of an earlier Roman period native settlement.

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: 29304

Legacy System: RSM


NT 92 SE 32,

End of official listing