Hardendale medieval dispersed settlement and site of medieval monastic grange


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016759

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Hardendale medieval dispersed settlement and site of medieval monastic grange
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 21:42:05.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Shap Rural

National Grid Reference: NY 58222 14679, NY 58274 14590


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. This monument lies in the Cumbria-Solway sub-Province of the Northern and Western Province, an area characterised by dispersed hamlets and farmsteads, but with some larger nucleated settlements in well-defined agriculturally favoured areas, established after the Norman Conquest. Traces of seasonal settlements, or shielings, dominate the high, wet and windy uplands, where surrounding communities grazed their livestock during the summer months. The Eden Valley local region is a rich agricultural lowland ringed by mountain pastures. It is densely settled with small market towns, villages, hamlets and isolated farmsteads. Medieval castles and monasteries, a multitude of earthwork sites and the distinctive mix of Celtic, Scottish, English, Scandinavian and Norman place-names all testify to the ancient and long sustained occupation of this important region.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across the area. These small settlements usually have a degree of interconnection with their neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enourmously from region to region, but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include roads and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may still be clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlement frequently include features such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement are found in both the South Eastern and Northern and Western Provinces of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas. Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of information about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the twelfth century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practiced a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. Granges could be found wherever a monastic site held lands and on occasion these could be located some considerable distance from the parent monastery. The number of monastic granges which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important. The monument is a rare example in north west England of a medieval dispersed settlement which developed out of an earlier medieval monastic grange. Despite being partly overlain by post-medieval development, a substantial proportion of the medieval dispersed settlement of Hardendale survives reasonably well. It is a good example of this class of monument in the Eden Valley local region and will add greatly to our understanding of the wider settlement and economy during the medieval period. In addition, buried remains of the medieval grange will also survive.


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


The monument includes earthworks and buried remains of Hardendale medieval dispersed settlement, considered to have been founded as a medieval monastic grange during the 13th century. It is located at 320m OD on a limestone ridge approximately 2km ESE of Shap village, adjacent to the point where land suitable for arable cultivation and meadow gives way to higher, poorer quality land suitable only for grazing. It is in two separate areas of protection. Although the date of the first settlement at Hardendale is unknown, the place- name is first mentioned in documentary sources in 1235. Hardendale belonged to Byland Abbey, Yorkshire, until the Dissolution in the 16th century and is considered to have been a monastic grange specialising in cattle farming (a vaccary) or sheep farming (a bercary). The settlement remains in occupation today; the scheduling includes those parts of the settlement which were abandoned but are still identifiable, including tofts or house platforms and crofts or garden areas and associated small enclosures. Although Hardendale is identified as an upland medieval dispersed settlement it does contain features found in larger medieval villages; such features survive immediately to the west of the main street and include a relatively regular arrangement of three building platforms and assorted crofts and rectangular enclosures which pre- date the existing post-medieval field system. This complex of building platforms and enclosures forms a `compartment' behind which are the earthwork remains of a back lane running approximately parallel with the main street. Other earthwork remains of the medieval settlement, including a boundary bank, small enclosures and faint traces of building platforms, lie to the east of the main street in a triangular-shaped area of land between Hardendale Hall and the main street. All modern field boundaries, gateposts, telegraph poles, and a ruined stone outhouse are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included. A septic tank in the field north of Raby Cottage is totally excluded from the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 32823

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Roberts, B K, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Five Westmorland Settlements: A Comparative Study, , Vol. 93, (1993), 132-43

End of official listing