The Hill medieval dispersed settlement and an early post-medieval settlement 400m east of Ashycroft


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016082

Date first listed: 28-Feb-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Sep-1997


Ordnance survey map of The Hill medieval dispersed settlement and an early post-medieval settlement 400m east of Ashycroft
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Bewcastle

National Grid Reference: NY 57107 76999


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. The Borders local region comprises the great slope of land between the high Cheviots and the Solway, where hamlets and scattered farmsteads predominate, and where bastles and tower houses recall the social conditions of the Anglo- Scottish borders before the mid-7th century. The eastern part of the region, containing the wastes of the Bewcastle Fells and Spadeadam, can be seen as a separate subdivision; it was occupied by shieling grounds during the Middle Ages and the Tudor period, and preserves the remains of associated settlement sites.

The Hill medieval dispersed settlement and the early post-medieval settlement east of Ashycroft survive well and will retain significant archaeological deposits. It is a good example in the Border Region of a medieval dispersed settlement which, despite being relocated a short distance to the east, continued in use into the early post-medieval period. The monument will add to our understanding of the wider border settlement and economy during the medieval and early post-medieval period.


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


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of The Hill medieval dispersed settlement and an associated corn drying kiln, together with an early post-medieval settlement which later replaced the abandoned medieval settlement once the former had been abandoned. It is located on the hillside approximately 400m east of Ashycroft farm; the medieval settlement includes the turf-covered remains of a rectangular platform upon which are traces of a small house, while a short distance to the north west there is a second house with its western end overlain by a corn drying kiln. The later settlement includes the remains of two houses, and an enclosure. The turf-covered lower courses of a stone wall or bank connects the two settlements. The rectangular platform forming part of the medieval settlement measures c.21m by 15m and is divided into two halves by a low earth and stone bank; the north east corner of the platform is largely overlain by a modern sheepfold whilst traces of the original medieval house measuring approximately 5.5m by 3.6m and up to 0.2m high are located on the south west corner of the platform. A short distance to the north west of the platform are the earthworks of a stone-built house measuring c.9m by 6m and up to 0.3m high with its long axis aligned east-west. The western end of this house is overlain by the remains of an oval corn drying kiln which survives as a low mound of stones measuring c.7.5m by 5m and up to 0.5m high with a large central hollow. The kiln, which must have been constructed and utilised once the adjacent house went out of use, is approached by a short hollow way bounded by side banks from the west, and its presence indicates the previous existence of small scale arable farming at the settlement. A low turf-covered wall or bank runs east then north east for a distance of approximately 80m from the medieval settlement and connects with the early post-medieval settlement. This later settlement includes a sub-rectangular field or enclosure which has maximum dimensions of c.30m by 25m and is bounded by a low turf and stone wall up to 0.3m high. Attached to the north side of the enclosure is a two-roomed stone-built house measuring c.13m by 6m with walls up to 1m wide and 0.5m high. A short distance to the north there are the remains of a second stone house or outbuilding measuring c.5m square with a short length of wall foundation running east from its north east corner. Immediately to the west of this house is a building platform measuring 6m square which is interpreted as the site of timber outbuilding or stock pen. This early post-medieval settlement is known to have been in its present condition in 1854. A modern sheepfold is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 27775

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 49,51-2
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 51-2

End of official listing