The Highland Pastures : Hopes And Shielings
However the principal wealth of the manor clearly lay not in its control over a community of unfree tenants cultivating tracts of arable land, but in the extensive upland grazing areas it incorporated. It is not altogether clear how the manor extracted value from these pastures. The Comyn inquisitions contain no references to seigneurial cattle farms (vaccaries), sheep farms (berceries) or stud farms in the highlands, of the kind that are clearly documented in the Umfraville manors of Harbottle and Otterburn in the neighbouring Liberty of Redesdale.
A deed of 1360 does however refer the ‘mottes’ of Kielder and Emelhope, which might represent something of the kind, perhaps moated farms rather than mottes in the motte and bailey sense (Laing Charter no. 49; Macdonald 1950, no.29; see Selected Sources and Surveys 1). Shielings are mentioned at Greenhaugh and Kielderheys. The latter can perhaps be identified with the large, regularly laid out settlement consisting of rectangular house platforms, enclosures and lazy beds at Colour Cleughs, beside White Kielder Burn (NY 675984).
A further 22 shielings are also recorded in the neighbouring manor of Chirdon in the Inquisition Post Mortem for Robert Swinburne in 1326 (NCH XV (1940) 277; Cal IPM VI no. 693). These were probably associated with long distance transhumance (Harbottle and Newman 1973, 140-1; Winchester 2000, 93). However the bulk of the pastures are simply described as ‘a hope called . . .’. Sometimes this is associated with a further name, e.g. Belleshope with le Bowhous and Stokhalghhope with le Bernes. Harbottle and Newman suggest that these were additional shielings (1973, 141).
However at least one of these places figures in a surname recorded in the Iter of Wark (Williemus de le Bernes, cf. Hartshorne 1858, lv) suggesting there was some form of permanent settlement there in 1279. Similarly, the reference to a certain John Makam ‘of Kielder’, who ‘dropped down dead’ in the market place at Bellingham in 1293, and Emma of Waynhoppe who was taken for theft and promptly decapitated in 1279, point to the existence of permanent settlements at both these remote locations (Wilson & Leathart 1982, 61; Iter of Wark, lxv). Yet another individual possibly resident in the upper end of the valley is Gilbert son of Peter de Belles, mentioned in 1279 (Iter of Wark, lxii).
Thus, the surname evidence, coupled with the presence of a supplementary manorial complex at Wainhope, would suggest there was a scatter of permanent settlements extending right up to Kielder and Belles at the head of the valley. The substantial stonewall of the attached park, which was later known as Kennel Park (see Armstrong’s map, 1769), can still be seen in the forest on the north shore of Kielder Water.
Its scale suggests a substantial investment. The capital messuage itself may have lain a little further west, again on the north shore, at White Knowe, near Gowanburn, where the remains of what appears to be a medieval settlement complex can be traced beneath the trees. In addition, Tirsethoppe must have contained some permanent settlement since it is termed a vill in the Iter of Wark and pays communal fines accordingly. It presumably embraced the higher reaches of the Tarset Burn certainly well above Tarset itself, which was also a vill (perhaps above the confluence with the Tarretburn). Similarly Thorneyburnehope must lie relatively close to the vill - and therefore permanent settlement - of Thorneyburne.
These areas were clearly exploited by tenants, since they are said to be worth nothing for want of such. However there were clearly no nucleated settlements of bondmen in the manner characteristic of lowland manorial farming. Instead a complex mixed pattern of exploitation of these uplands should probably be envisaged, involving both the use of extensive designated shieling grounds by tenants transhuming seasonally over considerable distances and also the establishment of permanent farmsteads or even hamlets inhabited by tenants engaged in shorter distance stock management. The bulk of the manor’s earnings probably came from charges for grazing rights paid by the tenant farmers and those using the shieling grounds.