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5. Booley houses, hafods and sheilings: a comparative study of transhumant settlements from around the northern basin of the Irish Sea
Stuart Rathbone

Abstract
Upland transhumant farming had a long history and widespread distribution in the British Isles. The remains of transhumant settlements in different regions appear to demonstrate remarkable similarity and it has thus been inferred that they may share a common origin and development. Research into transhumance has tended to focus on a purely local scale, however, leaving the apparent similarities largely unexplored. This chapter details a comparative study of transhumant settlements viewed from a wider perspective. Reports of field surveys and excavations of transhumant settlements around the Northern Basin of the Irish Sea are reviewed, and a new typology of transhumant structures is used to analyse structures and settlements from different regions. The degree of similarity exhibited between settlements from different parts of the study area is found to be high, and the results are used to enable a discussion of the chronology of the transhumant system. An explanation of the degree of similarity seen amongst transhumant settlements across a wide area is sought amongst the evidence of extensive and prolonged folk migration within the study area.

Introduction to upland transhumance


Transhumant cattle-farming is a widely recorded global phenomenon and it occurs in a variety of forms. In many of the upland areas of the British Isles, lesser transhumance, where animals were moved from a home farm to nearby summer pastures for a part of the year, was practised from at least the twelfth century onwards. These summer pastures offered a considerable resource but were not suitable for permanent occupation because of their inhospitable nature during the winter. At the start of spring, part of, or all of, the community would relocate with their herds to temporary summer settlements. At the start of the autumn, the stock was removed to the permanent settlement in the foothills, and the upland settlement was abandoned until the following spring (Davies 1985, 767). Transhumant farming in the British Isles is attested to by the physical remains of

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Fig. 5.1Plan of Deers Meadow hut group C, Co. Down.

settlements, place-name elements, historical accounts, legal documents and folklore. The general similarity of the application and physical components of these systems from widely separated upland areas is suggestive of a close relationship between them and a possible common heritage, but a lack of comparative studies of the different upland regions where versions of the system existed means that the nature of any relationship is not well understood. Where the physical remains of transhumant settlements have been investigated, examples have been found that consist of single isolated structures, but they more commonly occur in small clusters and are typically found overlooking small streams or close to springs (Miller 1967, 107; Ramm et al. 1970, 7). The size of the settlement appears to be constrained by the amount of usable building land and the amount of pasture available at each location, but the boundaries of any individual settlement are likely to have had far looser definition than in permanent settlements. Where individual buildings and small clusters are found at irregular intervals along the course of a stream, it becomes difficult to identify individual settlements in the more usual sense. A typical small clustered settlement, Deers Meadow hut group C, located in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down, is shown in Fig. 5.1. The structures that made up the settlements could be rectangular, ovoid, circular or square in plan. They were small in size, generally between 4m and 10m in length and between 2m and 5m in width, and were constructed of locally available materials, with drystone, sod-built or wattle walls, and roofs of thatch, sod, heather or occasionally corbelled stone or slate. The buildings often had small annexes with separate external entrances. In addition to domestic structures, other recorded features include small outbuildings perhaps used for storage, stack stands for animal fodder and overnight enclosures for livestock. In some

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instances small-scale cultivation was practised, and if this was the case the settlements may also be associated with corn-drying kilns, stone clearance piles and small field systems. In his seminal study of transhumant farming in Wales, R. U. Sayce (1956) commented that transhumant settlements across the British Isles display notable similarities in their physical remains. This point has periodically been reiterated by other scholars. Miller, for example, who has written about transhumance in Scottish uplands, commented that whilst on a brief visit to the Brecon Beacons he was able to locate probable transhumant structures by looking in the locations where he would expect to find them in Scotland, and that the remains of the buildings looked familiar (Miller 1967, 107). It is somewhat surprising that these observations have not been followed up in any detail. Research has instead focused on local perspectives, and, until now, there has been no attempt to systematically explore the similarities and differences between transhumant settlements from disparate upland regions of the British Isles. Nor has there been any attempt to establish a broader chronological framework for the settlements and to map their development through time. This study is a preliminary attempt to address these issues.

Study area
After briefly examining settlements from across the British Isles, it was decided to investigate in detail settlements from upland areas adjacent to the Northern Basin of the Irish Sea. The Northern Basin is that wider section of the Irish Sea to the north of St Georges Channel. It is bounded by six major upland regions, which are, clockwise from the north-east, the uplands of western Dumfries, the uplands of Cumbria, the North Welsh Mountains, the Wicklow Mountains, the Mourne Mountains and the Antrim Plateau. The Isle of Man lies roughly in the centre of the Basin, and this too has a small upland region. In all of these areas, the land rises to over 600m above sea level. Detailed information was acquired about settlements from five of these seven areas, including details of 33 structures from the uplands of Cumbria, 30 structures from North Wales, seventeen structures from the Mourne Mountains, 24 structures from the Antrim Plateau and five structures from the Isle of Man. Various terms are used in these regions in association with transhumant structures and settlements. They are used quite flexibly, and often it is not clear whether they refer to the structures, the settlements or the upland pastures. For the sake of clarity, the terms booley house (Mourne Mountains and the Antrim Plateau), hafod (North Wales) and sheiling (Cumbria and the Isle of Man) are used here to refer to the individual structures.

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The physical remains of transhumant settlements


Analysis of the settlement sites was based on a wide variety of published and unpublished sources, and on a field survey by the author (Rathbone 2002, 6778). Each individual building included in the published and unpublished sources was included in the study, with the exception of the vast site at Goodland, Co. Antrim, where a sample amounting to approximately 10% of the total was selected for inclusion. Details of each individual structure were converted into a standardised format and classified according to a unified typology. Initially this was done using the typology included in English Heritages Monument Class Description, under the class description sheilings (Schofield 1989, 45; extrapolated from Ramm et al. 1970), but after working extensively with this typology, and introducing a number of additional subclasses, the scheme was found to be overly complex and to contain a number of significant flaws. A simpler typology was developed by the author and subsequently utilised. The new typology contains eight classes, and all of the structures from within the study area can be assigned to one of these (Rathbone 2002, 8794). The new typology is illustrated in Fig. 5.2, with examples of structures from across the study area. The numbers of structures of each type recorded from the five areas are shown in Table 5.1. It has been argued convincingly elsewhere that many rectangular and ovoid transhumant structures were internally divided into two unequally sized rooms, owing to the presence of hearths and doorways, frequently recorded as situated approximately one third of the way along the long axis. When the door is in this position, it has been suggested that the entrance and fireplace were located in the larger functional space and that the smaller room was used as sleeping space (Allen 1979, 52; Williams and Robinson 1983, 36). A reversal of this arrangement would see a large, unheated living room and a smaller room with a fireplace and beds. The new typology concurs with this two-room hypothesis, so where no evidence for internal division is recorded, rectangular and oval structures over the length of 6m are assumed to be, and are classed as being, of two-room type. This length is considered to be the approximate size at which internal division becomes practical. Therefore structures may be assigned to two-room classes although the original report described them as single-room structures. There was no evidence to suggest that square or circular transhumant structures were ever divided internally, which probably reflects the difficulty of dividing small buildings of these shapes into useful spaces. Therefore, multiple-room square and round structures were not included in the typology, although it remains possible that such structures did exist. The second part of the investigation examined a number of details about the size and location of each settlement, its estimated date, and what features other than domestic structures were present. This broader range of information is presented in Table 5.2.

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Fig. 5.2Typology of transhumant structures.

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Table 1xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Site North Wales Nant Criafolen 01 Nant Criafolen 02 Nant criafolen 03 Nant Criafolen 05 building Nant Criafolen 06 Nant Criafolen 07A Nant Criafolen 07B (I) Nant Criafolen 07B (II) Ynys Ettws 1 (I) Ynys Ettws 1 (II) Ynys Ettws 2 Er Wen 1 Er Wen 2 Er Wen 3 Aber Valley D Aber ValleyF Aber Valley H Moel Hebog 12 Moel Hebog 21 Moel Hebog 22 Moel Hebog 23 Beddgelert 771 Dolbenmaen 998 Llanaelhaearn 1077 Lanberis 1143, 1 Llanberis 1143, 2 Llanberis 1143, 3 Llanberis 1143, 5 Llanberis 1143, 6 Llanberis 1143, 8 Crawcelt West The Lake District Castle Carrock 137 Castle Carrock 138 Castle Carrock 139

Class Dimensions

Date

Additional Stream or Features Spring Enclosure Y Enclosure Y Enclosure Y Enclosure and outEnclosure Enclosure Enclosure Enclosure Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Enclosure Enclosure Enclosure N N N N Enclosure N N Enclosure Enclosure N Enclosure Enclosure Enclosure Enclosure Enclosure Enclosure Enclosure N Annex Annex Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y N

4 4 4 4 Y 4 4 4 4 4 8 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 ? ? ? ? 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

8.4m by 4.4m 6m by 3.5m 6m by 3.5m 6.2m by 4m 7m by 3.5m 7.5m by 4m 6m by 4m 12.5m by 4m 10m by 6m 5.5m by 4.75m 10m by 6m 9m by 6m 6.2m by 5m ? by 7m 8.4m by 4.4m 7m by 4.2m 7m by 4.5m 10.3m by 3.6m 9.7m by 4.6m 9.1m by 3.6m 9.1m by 5.5m 5.8m by 2.4m 9.1m by 3.9m 7m by 2.3m 7.9m by 4.7m 6.4m by 4.8m 7.9m by 5.1m 7.9m by 5.8m 9.7m by 5.2m 6m by 4.1m 8m by 4m 7.6m by 4m 8.2 by 5.5m 6.4m by 3.6m

15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 14th 18th 14th 13th-16th 13th-16th 13th-16th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 14th 14th 14th 14th 14th 14th 16th-19th 13th-17th 17th-18th 13th-17th

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Site Castle Carrock 140 Castle Carrock 142 Castle Carrock 143 Castle Carrock 144 Knaresdale 145 Knaresdale 146 Knaresdale 147 Knaresdale 148 Knaresdale 149 Knaresdale 150 Borrowdale 151 Buttermere 152 Ennerdale 164 Ennerdale 165 Gosforth 166 Gosforth 167 Gosforth 168 Ousby 170 Ousby 171 Ousby 172 (I) Ousby 172 (II) Ousby 173 Ousby 174 Ousby 175 St Johns 176 Bampton 177 Bampton 178 Bampton 179 Patterdale 180 The Antrim Plateau Goodland A Goodland B Goodland C Goodland D Goodland E Goodland F Goodland G Goodland H Goodland I Class Dimensions 4 4 4 2 4 4 4 4 4 8 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2 4 4 4 4 ? 2 4 4 5 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 9.1m by 3m 11.2m by 4.1m 11.2m by 4.1m 5.75m by 3.4m 8.5m by 4.85m 8.5m by 3.8m 6.4m by 3m ? by 2.4m 9.9m by 3.4m 4.25m by 3.6m 7.9m by 3.9m 6.7m by 3.9m 10.3m by 3.9m 6.7m by 6.4m 7.3m by 3.9m 9.1m by 3m 6.8m by 4.4m 8.8m by 3.5m 8.8m by 3.5m 9.1m by 5.2m 5.5m by 5.2m 8.3m by 4.85m 7.4m by 3.3m 7.6m by 3.6m 10.3m by 3.7m 6.4m by 3.9m 3.9m by 3.3m 9.6m by 3.3m 9.6m by 5.5m 5.7m by 4.8m 5.5m by 3.8m 4.2m by 3.1m 10.3m by 6.2m 9.8m by 4.9m 15.4m by 4.3m 10.4m by 3.6m 10.7m by 3.9m 10.6m by 6.4m Date 17th-18th 18th-19th 17th-18th 14th-16th 17th-18th 17th-18th ? ? 17th-18th 17th-18th 17th-18th 14th-16th 17th-18th 13th-14th 14th-16th 17th-18th 14th-16th 14th-16th 14th-16th 13th-14th 17th-18th 17th-18th 14th-16th 14th-16th 17th-18th 14th-16th 13th-14th 17th-18th 17th-18th 15th-16th 15th-16th 14th-16th 15th-16th 15th_16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th Additional Stream or Features Spring N N N N N N N N N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y Annex Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N N N N N N N Y N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N

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Class Dimensions 5 5 5 4 4 4 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 4 4 6.8m by 3.7m 9.8m by 3.8m 7.5m by 5.3m 7.2m by 5m 7.5m by 3.7m 8.3m by 4.2m 4.5m by 2.5m 3m by 2m ? 3.5m by ? 3m diameter 4m by 3m 5.5m by 3m 7.7m by 3m 8.3m by 4.9m Date 15th-16th 15th-16th 15th-16th 14th-16th 14th-16th 14th-16th ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 15th-17th Additional Stream or Features Spring N N N N N N Annex Y Annex Y Annex Y N Y Annex Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y Possible ? Enclosure ? ? Annex ? N Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand Stack Stand N N N N N ? ? ? ? Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Goodland J Goodland K Goodland L Glenmakeeran 1 Glenmakeeran 2 Glenmakeeran 3 Coolnagappoge 9: 66 Coolnagappoge 9: 67 Coolnagappoge 9: 68 Coolnagappoge 9: 69: 1 Coolnagappoge 9: 69: 2 Coolnagappoge 9: 69: 3 Coolnagappoge 9: 70 Coolnagappoge 9: 71 Craigs

The Mourne Mountains Slieve Muck 7 Castle bog river B 6 Castle bog river E 1 Castle bog river F 4 Deers Meadow A 8 Deers Meadow C1 4 Deers Meadow C2 8 Deers Meadow C3 8 Deers Meadow C4 3 Deers Meadow C5 3 Deers Meadow C6 3 Deers Meadow C7 ? 3 Deers Meadow C8 Deers Meadow C9 3 Deers Meadow C10 ? Deers Meadow C11 3 ? Deers Meadow C12 The Isle of Man Block Eary Mound A (I) 1 Block Eary Mound A (II) 5 Block Eary Mound A (III) 3 Block Eary Mound C 3 Injebreck 2

9.7m by 3.4m 12.1m by 4m 3.8m by 3.3m 5.2m by 3.3m 5.3m by 5m 7.75m by 3.5m 3.85m by 3.5m 3.9m by 3.3m 4.4m by 3.15m 4.65m by 2.3m 2.95m by 2.3m 5.4m by 2.55m 3.5m by 2.5m 3.9m by 2.8m 5.4m by ? 2.6m by 2.45m 4.8m by ? 9.5m by 7.6m 6.9m by 5.1m 4.8m by 4.5m 3.7m by 2.9m 5.3m by 4.1m

? ? ? ? 18th 14th-17th 18th 18th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th 14th-17th 12th 12th-13th 14th 14th 14th

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Table 2Missing

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Results
The results of the first part of the analysis, concerning the physical design of the domestic structures, were of great interest. Looking at Table 5.1, it is immediately apparent that type 4, the rectangular two-room structure, predominates within the range of structures from North Wales. Only a single example each of type 2, the rectangular one-room structure, type 6, the rectangular three-room structure, and type 8, the square one-room structure, were recorded. This pattern is replicated in the range of structures recorded from the uplands of Cumbria, where there were just three examples of type 2 and two examples of type 8, the vast majority of structures again being of type 4. It should be noted that all but one of the structures assessed from the uplands of Cumbria came from a single study, and that there may be other structure types in that area that were not recorded during that survey (Ramm et al. 1970, 6; Richardson 1979, 25). The results from the Antrim Plateau and the Mourne Mountains are also similar to each other. In these cases there were a wide variety of structures, including examples of almost every type, but, unlike the uplands of Cumbria or North Wales, no one design predominates. The major differences between the structures from the north of Ireland and those from North Wales and Cumbria are the more frequent occurrence of smaller one-room structures and the more frequent use of ovoid forms. This second difference may be to some degree artificial, because structures that appear to have ovoid ground-plans when surveyed sometimes turn out to be rectangular or subrectangular when excavated, as was demonstrated at Glenmakeeran, Co. Antrim (Williams and Robinson 1983, 306). It is difficult to draw conclusions from the small sample from the Isle of Man, but there appears to be a pattern of large circular structures superseded by small oval and rectangular structures, in contrast to the other regional patterns. The Isle of Man sample is of great importance owing to the early dates of the structures and their established chronological sequence, as discussed further below. When we look at the dimensions of the structures from all areas, as recorded in Table 5.2, we find that 85% of the structures lie within a range of from 2m by 2m to 11m by 5m. Even the seventeen structures that lie beyond that range only do so by a marginal amount. When we look at the regional breakdown of this information, we find that North Wales and the Lake District contain mainly buildings from the middle of the range and larger; the Isle of Man and the Antrim Plateau have structures from the full size range, whilst the Mourne Mountains exhibit a concentration of buildings at the smaller end of the range, but still with a few larger examples. Overall, the size range of the transhumant structures is consistently smaller than the size of permanent dwellings from similar locations and dates, such as huts A and B at Aber Valley, Caernarvonshire (Butler 1962, 2933), and this small size should be considered a very

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strong indication of a structure having a transhumant function. The range of dates associated with the structures is very broad, running from the twelfth century to the eighteenth century. In most cases precise dates have only been acquired by excavation, as documentary evidence of transhumant activity is difficult to associate with individual structures. The use of type 8 structures has only been recorded from the seventeenth century onwards, and it seems that these small square buildings represent the final form of transhumant structures in North Wales, Cumbria and the Mourne Mountains. Transhumance was no longer practised by the sixteenth century on the Isle of Man, and so the lack of type 8 structures there is unsurprising. The absence of such structures from the Antrim Plateau suggests either that this late evolution did not take place there or, alternatively, that the form existed but was not included in the sample obtained from that area. The type 1 circular structures from the Isle of Man represent the other end of the date range from the type 8 structures. A sequence of overlying structures was excavated at mound A, Block Eary, and three complete plans were obtained, although there were other incompletely recorded structures in between them. The sequence shows a circular structure dating from the twelfth century being replaced by a smaller oval structure dating from the twelfth to thirteenth century, in turn replaced by an even smaller oval structure dating from the fourteenth century. Similar sequences were identified at mound C, Block Eary, and at the nearby site at Injebreck, whilst Ramm identifies structures from Cumbria with a similar form as also dating from this period (Gelling 1984, 15664; Ramm et al. 1970, 39). At present there is no discernible difference in the date range of the larger oval and rectangular structures, types 26, and these forms appear to have been in use from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth century. Externally entered annexes, stack stands and enclosures were recorded at a number of sites from across the study area. No annexes were recorded from North Wales or the Isle of Man, although the small building adjacent to Nant Criafolen 05 in Wales may have served a similar purpose (Allen 1979). No stack stands were recorded from the Antrim Plateau or the Isle of Man. The presence of only a single enclosure in Cumbria relates to the survey teams decision to classify any structures associated with an enclosure as a small farmstead rather than necessarily any lack of enclosures associated with shielings (Ramm et al. 1970, 2). The single recorded Cumbrian enclosure is from Black Lyne Common, where a rescue excavation took place several years after the publication of the Royal Commission Survey (Richardson 1979, 25). It is now clear from looking at transhumant settlements from other areas that the assumption that enclosures could not be associated with transhumance was incorrect. Further survey work in Cumbria is needed to reconsider the presence and association of enclosures. The presence of corn-drying kilns was suspected in the Isle of Man but has yet to be confirmed through excavation (Gelling 1984, 16471). Finally, the association between transhumant settlements and nearby water sources was found to be very

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strong. In most cases the water sources were small streams, but springs were also recorded, as at Ynys Ettws (Smith 1997, 12).

Discussion
With the exception of the Isle of Man, a picture of general similarity of structure and settlement form emerges across the study area. The booley houses of the Mourne Mountains and the Antrim Plateau, the hafods of North Wales and the sheilings of Cumbria are remarkably similar in form, as are the transhumant settlements to which the structures belong. This similarity is not necessarily of significance; as Brian Roberts (1996, 87) points out, identical or similar forms can be generated in wholly different ways and at diverse times. Nevertheless, the similarity of the farming methods employed, the relatively similar economic situations of the participants and the broadly contemporary date ranges associated with the settlements suggest some form of direct connection between the different regions. Transhumant structures from the study area clearly were erected for identical purposes during the same periods. To determine whether or not their similarity is just a case of form following function, a brief look at other transhumant settlements recorded from this period in other parts of the British Isles was required. Settlements recorded in the Black Mountains, the Brecon Beacons and on Fforest Fawr, all in South Wales, and as recorded at Monachle Glen and Garacha, in Perthshire, all appear to be very similar to those recorded within the study area (Crampton 1966; Gilbert 1980; Ward 1991; Leighton 1997; Stewart 1990). Settlements recorded as being of broadly contemporary date on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, on Achill Island, Co. Mayo, and in the Gaffiny Valley, Co. Kerry, for example, were of a very different nature, however, comprising minute circular corbelled stone buildings (Aalen 1964, 44; Nowakowski and Herring 1985, 1934; O Kelly 1942). More radically different structural designs, which were occupied in the early nineteenth century, have been recorded in the Aird Mhor area of the Isle of Lewis. Here, alongside simple circular corbelled structures, were a series of modular buildings where small circular structures were built abutting each other. Interconnecting passageways were used to join the modules together to create larger structures. Whilst in most cases only between four and five modules were connected in this way, the largest example, at Bothan Gearaidh Na HAirde Moire, comprised twelve interconnecting modules (Curwen 1938, 27389). These examples indicate that the pattern of structures and settlement witnessed in the study area was not the only option for transhumant settlements. It has frequently been suggested that the origins of the transhumant system are to be found in prehistory. Elwyn Davies (1979, 19) states, rather vaguely, that the origins of the system go back to times immemorial. More specifically, Allen (1979, 48) infers

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that they may be traced back to the second millennium BC. A recent article providing a brief overview of booley houses went even further back in time, suggesting that it is possible (even probable) that a form of booleying was practised from Neolithic times onward (OSullivan and Downey 2003, 34). Although it is possible that transhumant farming was used in upland Britain throughout prehistory, no direct evidence of this has as yet been presented, and the argument suggesting any form of continuity is particularly weak. Moore-Colyer (1998, 16) has gone so far as to state specifically that positive comparisons between the pattern of upland usage in the Bronze Age and the medieval transhumance system should be dismissed. Definitive evidence of the existence of transhumance in the British Isles rarely dates from before AD 1000. The place-name evidence for the Lake District, however, indicates a Gaelic transhumant place-name element pre-dating a Scandinavian element (Fellows-Jenson 1985, 68, 7281; Whyte 1985, 1059). If this is the case, then this Gaelic influence on the area should belong to the seventh century AD or earlier in order for it to have been established before the Scandinavian influx. The fascinating settlement at Ballyutoag, Co. Antrim, has the appearance of a well-built, permanently occupied prehistoric settlement consisting of hut circles inside a curvilinear enclosure. Upon excavation the settlement was found to date from the sixth to tenth centuries AD, and this, coupled with the remote location and lack of evidence of cultivation, led the excavator to interpret the site as an early transhumant settlement, a proposal that has been widely accepted (Williams 1984; Edwards 1990, 53). If this interpretation is correct, it suggests that the transhumant system in Ulster may have begun with settlements of quite a substantial nature, akin to their permanent counterparts. The specialised form would then have evolved over time as superfluous elements ceased to be constructed. The structures early in the sequence at mound A, Block Eary, on the Isle of Man were also similar in size to roundhouses traditionally associated with permanent occupation. The internal area of these structures decreased as they were rebuilt. By the final phase of occupation the hut size had been reduced by around 75% and ovoid forms had developed (Gelling 1984, 15664). A final point relevant to the consideration of chronology is that where previous studies have been able to identify the upper elevation limits of permanent settlements at various times, as has been done in parts of North Wales and Cumbria, the process of upland colonisation has not been found to have penetrated particularly far into the uplands before the twelfth century (Davies 1977; 1979; 1980; 1985; Whyte 1985, 1059). A date for the origins of transhumance in the early medieval period, most probably during the seventh or eighth century, appears to be most likely. The abandonment of seasonal transhumance is a particularly complicated affair. In the Isle of Man it appears to have ended between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, as is the case for some of the settlements in North Wales (Davies 1977, 71;

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Gelling 1984, 1712). Other sites in North Wales were occupied into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as were sites in the Mourne Mountains and the Antrim Plateau (Davies 1985, 82; Evans and Proudfoot 1958, 1345). It is therefore hard to generalise about when the system was abandoned, as this properly requires assessment on a site-by-site basis. In early examples, the abandonment probably occurred because the temporary settlement sites were replaced by permanent settlements as the lower reaches of the uplands were colonised from the end of the medieval period onwards. Later abandonments were caused by the replacement of cattle by sheep as the predominant stock type of the upland farmer from the seventeenth century onwards. Sheep do not require the same level of supervision as cattle, negating the need for the farmer to stay in the hills overnight (Evans 1940, 178).

Conclusion
By examining transhumant settlements from a wider perspective it has been possible to assess the level of physical similarity between sites from a number of regions and to develop a preliminary chronology. The degree of similarity that has been demonstrated between the different regions within the study area is suggestive of a gradual convergence from various regional points of origin some time in the second half of the first millennium AD, when different groups attempted to re-establish farming in upland areas that had previously been abandoned as early as the middle Bronze Age. During this period the activities of first Irish and then Scandinavian settlers in the region appear to have spread the system widely. Thereafter the nature of structures being constructed evolved broadly in parallel, as circular structures were replaced with rectangular and oval forms, although those areas with the strongest cultural links to Scandinavia appear to have retained more archaic structural forms. The evolution of transhumant architecture became almost static throughout the later medieval and post-medieval periods. In areas adjacent to the study area a very similar pattern appears to be present, although this requires more detailed examination. In areas further away from the study area a more diverse and varied pattern appears to be present, probably reflecting localised traditions belonging to more isolated communities. A final development in structural design occurred in the early modern period, with the construction of small square buildings. That this final development is recorded in three of the four regions where transhumant farming was still being practised may be a simple coincidence or perhaps it is a reflection of wider architectural themes spreading across the British Isles as a whole. The Northern Basin of the Irish Sea has been subject to a large number of folk movements in the last 1,500 years, with people moving east from Ireland during the sub-Roman period, Scandinavians entering from the north during the seventh to

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tenth centuries, English and Welsh moving into Ireland in the twelfth century, and English and Scottish moving into Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Cubbon 1946, 2; Cunliffe 2001, 498509; Dillon and Chadwick 1967, 41; Foster 1996, 13; Glasscock 1971, 287; Williams and Robinson 1983, 38). Through analysis of place-name elements it can be demonstrated that these folk movements played a major role in originally spreading transhumant farming methods throughout this region, as demonstrated by the succeeding Gaelic, Hiberno-Norse and Scandinavian transhumant place-names in Cumbria, and the mixture of Gaelic, English and Scottish place-names used in Scotland (Fellows-Jenson 1985, 68, 7281; Whyte 1985, 1059). It is possible that the parallel evolution of structural forms seen throughout later periods was regulated by the continued movements of people across this area, as has been suggested to explain the development of rectangular forms in seventeenth-century Ulster (Williams and Robinson 1983). By studying transhumant settlement from a wider perspective than previously attempted, it has been possible to bring into focus an aspect of the shared cultural heritage of Ireland and Britain that originated in the early medieval period, continued throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods and finally faded out of use during early modern times. The transhumant settlements recorded from the study area display significant similarity, but it is apparent that this pattern extended beyond the confines of the study area. Locating the extent of this system should be possible in the future, and this is particularly important because different patterns of transhumant settlement have already been recorded from other areas of the British Isles. Further excavation and field survey, and the compilation of larger databases of transhumant structures and settlements, will help to clarify the nature of the observed similarities and refine the chronology suggested in this preliminary study. Comparative studies of the legal framework of transhumance, its associated folklore and the historical accounts of the practice in use would also be of great benefit. It is hoped that this study has established the usefulness of examining this phenomenon from a non-local perspective.

Acknowledgements
Particular thanks are due to Matt Mossop, who conducted the field survey of Deers Meadow with the author; Aiden Kenny, ACS Ltd, for preparing the figures and formatting the tables; and Iain Hewitt, Bournemouth University, for his advice and encouragement throughout this project to date. The following people provided information, helpful comments and support, and their patient assistance was greatly appreciated: Dave Hooley and John Schofield, English Heritage; Anne Given and Helen Murphy, Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland; Malachy

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Conway; Wendy Thirkette, Manx Museum; Peter Crew, Snowdonia National Park Study Centre; David Cranstone; David Caldwell; the Ulster Archaeological Society; Stephen Lennane and Johnathon Dempsey, ACS Ltd; the staff of St Fagans Rural Life Museum; the staff of the library of the Welsh National Museum; the staff of the Irish National Library; and the staff of the British Library.

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Appendix 1: Sources used in Table 2


Site Nant Criafolen Ynys Ettws Er Wen Aber Valley Moel Hebog Beddgelert Dolbenmaen Llanaelhaearn Llanberis Crawcelt West Castle Carrock Knaresdale Borrowdale Buttermere Ennerdale Gosforth Ousby St Johns Bampton Patterdale Black Lyne Common Goodland Glenmakeeran Coolnagappoge Craigs Slieve Muck Castle Bog River Deers Meadow A Deers Meadow C Block Eary Injebreck Source Allen 1979, 626 Smith 1997, 12 Kelly 1988, 128 Butler 1962, 2933 Gresham 1954, 278, 41 RCAHM(W) 1960, 31 RCAHM(W) 1960, 93 RCAHM(W) 1960, 110 RCAHM(W) 1960, 16470 Crew 1998, 22 Ramm et al. 1970, 40 Ramm et al. 1970, 401 Ramm et al. 1970, 41 Ramm et al. 1970, 41 Ramm et al. 1970, 412 Ramm et al. 1970, 42 Ramm et al. 1970, 423 Ramm et al. 1970, 43 Ramm et al. 1970, 43 Ramm et al. 1970, 43 Richardson 1979, 226 Sidebotham 1950; Case et al. 1969 Williams and Robinson 1983, 306 County Antrim SMR entries, Coolnagapoge 9: 6671 Williams 1988 Evans 1957[not listed], 1356 Evans 1957[not listed], 1356 Evans and Proudfoot 1958 Rathbone 2002, 6778 Gelling 1984, 15662 Gelling 1984, 1624

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