Medieval shieling on Greyfell Common 310m north west of Stantling Loan


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016403

Date first listed: 22-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Medieval shieling on Greyfell Common 310m north west of Stantling Loan
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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 60369 80117


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 medieval shieling 310m north west of Stantling Loan survives well and is part of a larger group of shielings sited amongst the uplands and along the river valleys and tributaries of north east Cumbria which, taken together, will add to our knowledge and understanding of the wider border settlement and economy during the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a medieval shieling located on Greyfell Common 310m north west of Stantling Loan. It is a rectangular two-roomed passage hut which measures 7.6m by 3.8m externally with walls of drystone construction standing up to 1.1m high. The shieling is aligned north east-south west and has an entrance in the south east side which faces down the valley. This doorway still retains a threshold slab and two upright stones for door jambs, and leads into a passage which is divided from a small room to the right and a larger room to the left by upright slab partitions. A hearth was located on the north west side of the larger room. In front of the shieling a short length of paved path leads to the door, and there are also remains of a paved area protected by a stone wall on the south west side which is interpreted as having acted as a wind-break. Abutting the shieling's south west side is a rectangular annexe measuring approximately 3.4m by 2.9m externally with an entrance in the south east side. The monument has been constructed on a levelled platform of stone rubble dug into the hillslope.

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: 27789

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 17-18
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)

End of official listing