Little Langdale: Ting Mound

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Located at the rear of Fell Foot Farm in Little Langdale is an unassuming moot mound. Known as the Ting Mound, moots were open air meeting places during Anglo Saxon and Medieval times. Such monuments were situated at convenient or well known sites and could take several forms – a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or rock, existing man made features such as prehistoric standing stones or a purpose built monument such as a mound. First established between the seventh and ninth centuries AD, moots were originally situated in open countryside but gradually became located in villages or towns. By the 13th century, construction and use of rural moots largely disappeared. Only a small number of man made mounds survive today and the moot at Fell Foot Farm is one of only three known moots in Cumbria. The moot includes a flat topped rectangular earthen mound with rounded corners and is almost three meters high. It features two terraces on the north and east sides, three on the west side and on the south side of the mound, there were originally four terraces.

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This particular spot was on the crossroad of busy trading routes that were established in Roman times. The Romans had built the road along the valley and over Wrynose Pass to link the Galava Fort at Ambleside and Mediobogdum Fort at Hardknott Pass. These forts were two of several fortified structures built to protect the vital trade route through Cumbria with Galava being constructed around 79AD. The Roman road, known as the 10th Iter, ran from the coastal fort at Ravenglass (Glannaventa) up the Eskdale Valley to Hardknott Fort and continued over the Hardknott and Wrynose passes towards the forts at Ambleside and Kendal. Mediobogdum Fort is situated on the western side of Hardknott Pass and was built between 120-138AD. Several centuries later, this long established highway route would have provided the Vikings with the perfect site for their Thing – from the Old Norse meaning meeting or assembly place. The Lake District Vikings arrived from western Norway, via Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The legacy of the Vikings remains not only in local place names – the practice of dividing holdings with drystone walls has its origins in Norse traditions which has influenced the distinctive view we see in the countryside today. The existence of such Thing Mounds in Cumbria provides a small link to the Viking political system of their time in North West England. The Ting Mound is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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