Ancient Monuments

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Bastle, 100m south-west of Holystone Grange

A Scheduled Monument in Harbottle, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2967 / 55°17'47"N

Longitude: -2.0554 / 2°3'19"W

OS Eastings: 396576.755328

OS Northings: 600283.515001

OS Grid: NT965002

Mapcode National: GBR G726.S3

Mapcode Global: WHB0V.D4GB

Entry Name: Bastle, 100m south-west of Holystone Grange

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1932

Last Amended: 23 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008718

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20952

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Harbottle

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a bastle and an associated circular structure situated
on the left bank of the River Coquet commanding extensive views of the Coquet
valley. The bastle, constructed of roughly coursed rubble, is rectangular in
shape and measures 11.5m by 7.5m. The vaulted basement is entered through a
central doorway in the north-east gable, above which is an inscribed lintel
carrying the date 1602. There are windows in the south and the south-west
walls. A small wooden loft occupied the south-west end of the basement, the
only remains of which are a line of beam holes in the walls. A stair leads
from the eastern corner of the basement to the first floor living area. The
first floor is lit by windows in the south, north-east and south-west walls;
the two windows on the north-west wall are 20th-century additions. Other
features of interest on the first floor are two wall cupboards set either side
of the window in the north-east wall, a stone sink beneath the eastern window
and traces of an original fireplace in the south-west wall, later made into a
doorway. The bastle was originally lower and was raised to its present height
in the 18th century when an attic above the first floor was added. The
monument is also a Listed Building Grade II*. The bastle was restored and re-
roofed in 1904, but is now once again roofless. Attached to the south-west end
of the bastle is a turf-covered circular structure; this is the probable
remains of a stack stand associated with the use of the bastle. The plantation
wall, the outside edge of which forms the south-west end of the protected
area, is not included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 vast 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. The
great majority of bastles are solitary rural buildings, although a few
nucleated settlements with more than one bastle are also known. 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 in these border areas during the
later Middle Ages. 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.

Despite some restoration work in the early 20th century, the bastle at
Holystone is very well preserved and is a good, complete example of its type.
It retains many original features and is one of few bastles to bear an in-
situ date stone.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990), 23-5
DOE Rothbury R.D, (1948)
No. 650,

Source: Historic England

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