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Prehistoric hut circle settlement and cairnfield, three medieval settlements and associated field systems, and two shielings north of Crosbythwaite

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Prehistoric hut circle settlement and cairnfield, three medieval settlements and associated field systems, and two shielings north of Crosbythwaite

List entry Number: 1020278

Location

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

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Ulpha

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 15-Jun-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Oct-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 34971

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.

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 Lake District local region is characterised by a series of mountain blocks separated by deep valleys, providing great variation in local terrain. Settlement is sparce, but villages and hamlets occassionally appear in the valleys. Higher up, beyond the head-dyke, are traces of medieval and earlier settlements in farmlands since abandoned. 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 normally have a degree of interconnection with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously 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 Province and the Northern and Western Province 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 understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Medieval enclosed field systems comprise fields defined and enclosed by a physical boundary. These boundaries can take various forms including walls, hedges, earth and stone banks and ditches. Component features common to most enclosed field systems include ridge and furrow and lynchets. The development of enclosed field systems during the medieval period was a response to population pressure and expansion onto marginal land, and the extent and morphology of these field systems resulted from the nature of the topography and social and economic constraints such as the size of the population they were intended to support. The majority of enclosed field systems are thought to have been used for pasture but others contained cultivated ground. Some continued in use throughout the post-medieval period and are a major feature of the modern landscape. They occur widely throughout England with a tendancy towards upland areas associated with largely dispersed settlement patterns. Medieval enclosed field systems offer good opportunities for understanding medieval rural economy and provide valuable evidence regarding the morphology of field systems, their extent and distribution. Shielings were 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, 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 (about 450 AD). 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 help illustrate medieval land use in an area are considered to be nationally important. The prehistoric hut circle settlement and cairnfield north of Crosbythwaite survives well and forms part of a well-preserved prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of south west Cumbria. In conjunction with a wide range of other prehistoric monuments in the vicinity it represents evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times. Additionally the three medieval dispersed settlements and associated enclosed field systems, together with the two medieval shielings, also survive 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 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 an unenclosed prehistoric hut circle settlement and associated cairnfield, three medieval settlements and associated field systems, and two medieval shielings. It is located on gently sloping enclosed land north of Crosbythwaite and represents evidence for the prehistoric and medieval exploitation of this landscape. The prehistoric hut circle settlement consists of the remains of 11 stone huts scattered mainly on the lower slopes towards the monument's west and south western side. The largest hut is situated at SD19079543, a short distance south of a substantial rectangular terraced area considered to have been a platform upon which a number of huts would have stood. A cairnfield consisting of almost 200 clearance cairns is centred at approximately SD18979553. Whilst this cairnfield was undoubtably originally a product of prehistoric stone clearance, further stone clearance occured during the medieval period and some of the resultant cairns were utilised to partially form the boundaries of a large field system associated with the medieval settlements. The eastern of the three medieval settlements is centred at approximately SD19219550. It consists of the remains of three rectangular stone buildings, two of which form two sides of a stone-walled courtyard. One of these buildings has an annexe on its south side, another has a square outbuilding on its south side, while the third has a stone-walled enclosure immediately to the south. Areas of ridge and furrow to the east and south and a series of banks, ditches and walls, indicate the associated field system in the settlement's immediate vicinity. Remains of a second medieval settlement lie a short distance to the south west at SD19149544. Although not as well-preserved as the settlement previously described there are traces of a group of three stone-built rectangular buildings. Lynchets, walls and an area of ridge and furrow to the south west indicate the associated field system in this settlement's immediate vicinity. The third medieval settlement, centred at SD18859554, is of markedly different form than the other two. It consists of a three-sided stone-walled enclosure situated at the junction of four trackways. There is an entrance in the enclosure's east side and within are traces of two rectangular structures. To the east of the enclosure there is a levelled area bounded by a stone wall and a lynchet which is considered to have been a building platform, while to the north and west of the enclosure other features include a semi-circular stone-walled enclosure and a field enclosed by trackways. This settlement, as well as being the focus for a number of trackways which all lead to it, lies at the hub of a large field system consisting of 13 predominantly irregularly-shaped fields, some of which may have prehistoric origins. These fields are bounded by a combination of cairn alignments, lynchets, walls, banks, ditches and trackways. Medieval transhumance, the moving of stock from low lying winter grazing to upland summer pasture, is attested here by the remains of two shielings situated side by side at SD19209560. Each is a rectangular single-roomed stone-built structure measuring about 7m by 5m. The northern shieling has an entrance on its east side. All modern field boundaries and gateposts 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
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 79-85
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 79-85
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1983), 79-85
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 79-86
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 79-85
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 79-85
Other
Site 83/471, Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue: Crosbythwaite, (1983)

National Grid Reference: SD 18974 95528

Map

Map
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End of official listing