Ancient Monuments

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Bastle at Craig Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Hepple, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2929 / 55°17'34"N

Longitude: -2.1005 / 2°6'1"W

OS Eastings: 393715.593964

OS Northings: 599874.062512

OS Grid: NY937998

Mapcode National: GBR F7S7.1F

Mapcode Global: WHB0T.P7Z6

Entry Name: Bastle at Craig Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1932

Last Amended: 10 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008888

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20911

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Hepple

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Elsdon St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a well preserved defended farmhouse, or bastle, situated
among farm buildings adjoining the north-east corner of the present farmhouse.
The bastle, constructed of roughly squared stone and surviving two storeys
high, is rectangular in plan, measuring 9.2m by 4.4m within stone walls 1.4m
thick. The basement, or byre, has a fine barrel vault and an original
entrance at the centre of the west gable; a second entrance in the south wall
is a relatively recent addition, as is the now blocked doorway on the north
side. A splayed slit window placed centrally in the east gable is now blocked
by adjoining farm buildings; on the same wall to the north of this window
there is a wall cupboard and traces of the socket holes which supported a
wooden loft. In the south-west corner a staircase leads up through the
thickness of the wall to the first floor living area. Here, a window and two
wall cupboards occupy the west end and a doorway, now blocked, is visible in
the east end.
Other breaks in the walls at this level may indicate the position of other
windows. The bastle is complete to within 1m of its original height, although
the roof does not survive. The bastle is a grade II listed building. The
modern farm buildings which are attached to the eastern end of the bastle
are not included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The bastle at Craig Farm survives in an excellent state of preservation to
almost its original height. It is one of a group of bastles in the vicinity
which will contribute to our understanding of medieval settlement in the
Border areas.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970)
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990)
No. 4059,

Source: Historic England

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