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Stainton Ling prehistoric hut circle settlement, associated field systems, cairnfields, funerary cairns, and a medieval field system and two shielings

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Stainton Ling prehistoric hut circle settlement, associated field systems, cairnfields, funerary cairns, and a medieval field system and two shielings

List entry Number: 1016983

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Muncaster

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 16-Jan-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Oct-1999

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 32825

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post- medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as nationally important.

A medieval irregular open field system is a collection of unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs produced long ridges and the resultant ridge and furrow is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Well-preserved ridge and furrow is an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape. 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 onwards, but 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) to about the end of the 16th century. Shielings have a simple rectangular or ovoid plan normally defined by drystone walling, although turf-built structures are known. Most examples have a single undivided interior, although two-roomed shielings are known. They are reasonably common in the uplands but frequently represent the only evidence for medieval settlement and farming practices here. Those examples which survive well and which help illustrate the medieval land use of an area are considered to be nationally important. Stainton Ling prehistoric hut circle settlement, field systems, cairnfields and funerary cairns survives well and forms part of a large area of well-preserved prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of south west Cumbria. The monument contains a complex and diverse group of prehistoric monument classes and together these represent evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times. Additionally the medieval field system and shielings survive reasonably well and will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and economy during the medieval period. Overall the monument is a rare example of a landscape within which evidence of human exploitation is visible through a range of remarkably well-preserved monuments dating to the prehistoric and medieval periods.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Stainton Ling prehistoric hut circle settlement, two associated field systems, two cairnfields, two funerary cairns, part of a medieval field system and two medieval shielings. It is located on gently-sloping enclosed moorland on Stainton Fell between Samgarth Beck and Stainton Beck and represents evidence for the prehistoric and medieval exploitation of this landscape. The hut circle settlement is located at SD13549446 and consists of a levelled circular platform approximately 27m in diameter upon which one or more timber houses would have stood. There is an entrance on the platform's south western side and immediately south west of this there is a smaller circular platform considered to be the site of a single hut. On slightly higher ground to the south east there are remains of the western of two prehistoric field systems associated with the hut circle settlement. This field system is centred at approximately SD13559437 and consists of four small plots or fields bounded by either stone banks or cairn alignments, all of which have been largely cleared of stone to provide land suitable for arable cultivation. To the north and south of this field system there is a cairnfield consisting of approximately 50 clearance cairns and a few short lengths of stone bank. Located at SD13569427 to the south of the western prehistoric field system is an oval- shaped round funerary cairn measuring 21m long by 11m wide and up to 2m high. The eastern of the two prehistoric field systems is located on slightly higher ground, is centred at approximately SD13909444 and, like the western prehistoric field system, it consists of four small plots or fields bounded by either stone banks or cairn alignments, all of which have been largely cleared of stone to provide land suitable for arable cultivation. A substantial stone bank aligned east-west runs between these small fields whilst elsewhere there are alignments of clearance cairns which are interpreted as representing the line of old field boundaries in which sporadic patches of stone clearance were piled against fences or hedges. The eastern of the two cairnfields is also centred at approximately the same location as the eastern prehistoric field system and consists of about 200 clearance cairns, some of which, as described above, form part of the field system. At SD14029446, on the eastern edge of the eastern prehistoric field system, there is an oval-shaped funerary cairn measuring 14.5m long by 13m wide and up to 3.5m high. A medieval field system lies close to the south western corner of the monument, centred at approximately SD13469437. It consists of a turf bank running NNE-SSW and parallel to a later, now decayed, stone wall. Ridge and furrow respects this bank and lies on either side; to the east of the bank, ridge and furrow overlies part of the western prehistoric field system, while to the west of the bank a group of about two dozen clearance cairns are aligned with the ridge and furrow and are considered to be contemporary. Immediately south of Stainton Beck there are two medieval shielings; the eastern is located at SD13879475 and, despite being mutilated by a later stone wall, consists of a single-roomed rectangular building measuring 11m long by 6m wide with walls surviving up to 0.6m high. The western shieling is located at SD13809475 and consists of a single-roomed rectangular building approximately 15m long by 6m wide with walls up to 0.3m high. A short distance to the west is a small rectangular platform upon which a small associated structure may have stood. The prehistoric remains at Stainton Ling reflect either sporadic or transient occupation over a long period. The funerary cairns have forms similar to excavated funerary cairns dated to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age (about 3000-1500 BC), while the unenclosed hut circle settlement is considered by comparison with dated examples from elsewhere in northern England to span a broad period from about 1750-450 BC. Sporadic occupation of Stainton Ling is attested by the medieval field system and shielings. All fence posts, gate posts and modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-8
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-58
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-8

National Grid Reference: SD 13694 94479

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 25-Sep-2018 at 04:07:58.

End of official listing