Medieval shieling and enclosure 330m south west of Langlee
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014927
Date first listed: 27-Aug-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND
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,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing