Ancient Monuments

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Gatehouse South bastle

A Scheduled Monument in Tarset, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1943 / 55°11'39"N

Longitude: -2.3348 / 2°20'5"W

OS Eastings: 378786.327078

OS Northings: 588943.031059

OS Grid: NY787889

Mapcode National: GBR D84C.BS

Mapcode Global: WH8ZZ.3PHV

Entry Name: Gatehouse South bastle

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1978

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006429

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 604

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Tarset

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Bellingham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


South Gatehouse bastle, 30m south west of Gatehouse Cottage.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 June 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the remains of a bastle house of 16th-17th century date, situated on level ground in a commanding position overlooking the Tarset Valley. The bastle, which stands to two storeys, measures about 11m by 7m externally with 1.2m thick walls constructed from large rubble. The building has a blocked byre door at its west gable end with roll-moulded surround. A number of other features including three fireplaces relate to late 18th century-early 19th century remodelling, which also included the rebuilding of the south wall. Until recently the bastle stood as a shell with standing walls nearly to roof-height. Recently the building has been re-roofed and re-floored and a number of repairs have been made to it.
The small hamlet of Gatehouse once comprised of five bastles with the South Gatehouse bastle and the North bastle (which is across the road, centred 40m to the north) being the only two remaining standing. The South Gatehouse bastle is a listed building Grade II.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bastles are small thick-walled farmhouses in which the living quarters are situated above a ground floor byre. The majority are simple rectangular buildings with the byre entrance typically placed in one gable end, an upper door in the side wall, small stoutly-barred windows and few architectural features or details. Some have stone barrel vaults to the basement but the majority had a first floor of heavy timber beams carrying stone slabs. In general, bastles are part of a dispersed settlement pattern and represent single defended farmsteads, some having associated outbuildings and enclosures. A few nucleated settlements with more than one bastle are also known; these can take a variety of forms. In some a number of free-standing bastles may exist, occasionally grouped together around a green. At others, bastles were built in terraces end to end, each retaining their integrity as separate units. Elsewhere original bastles were extended by construction of a second such building onto their byre-end, the two being inter-linked to form an enlarged building which functioned in the same way as the original. Most bastles were constructed between about 1575 and 1650, although earlier and later examples are also known. They were occupied by middle-rank farmers. Bastles are confined to the northern border counties of England, in Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham. The need for such strongly defended farmsteads can be related to the troubled social conditions of the later Middle Ages, which in these border areas lasted until (indeed after) the union of the English and Scottish Crowns in 1603. Less than 300 bastles are known to survive, of which a large number have been significantly modified by their continuing use as domestic or other buildings. All surviving bastles which retain significant original remains will normally be identified as nationally important.

The South Gatehouse bastle is well-preserved with the original walls almost complete and a number of original architectural features intact. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of the North bastle at Gatehouse and taken together they provide insight into the character of earlier post-medieval settlement and particularly the character of fortified dwellings in the border regions of northern England.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 1042924

Source: Historic England

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