Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Bastle and associated buildings 730m north west of Comb

A Scheduled Monument in Tarset, Northumberland

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.2127 / 55°12'45"N

Longitude: -2.3768 / 2°22'36"W

OS Eastings: 376123.299082

OS Northings: 591005.521125

OS Grid: NY761910

Mapcode National: GBR C8V5.76

Mapcode Global: WH8ZY.G7FP

Entry Name: Bastle and associated buildings 730m north west of Comb

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1970

Last Amended: 6 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008992

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25080

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Tarset

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Falstone with Greystead and Thorneyburn

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a bastle, a form of defended farmhouse,
situated at the foot of a steep slope in the valley of the Tarset Burn. The
bastle, rectangular in shape and orientated north west to south east, measures
9.6m by 7m externally with walls of large unhewn stone blocks 1.4m thick. The
walls stand to a height of 4.5m on the north west and south west sides and
2m-4m elsewhere. Roughly shaped boulders have been used as quoin stones at the
corners of the building. There is an entrance in the centre of the western
gable wall giving access into the ground floor basement; it is square headed
with rounded door jambs and has been provided with two doors, each furnished
with draw bar tunnels. Above the doorway there is a narrow channel cut through
the thickness of the wall; this is interpreted as a channel through which
water would be poured to douse fires lit against the door and is a very rare
feature of bastle construction. There is a single slit window in the east end
of the bastle. The basement or byre clearly shows the remains of a vaulted
roof which has mostly fallen into the bastle. It is thought that the upper
storey living area was reached by a wooden ladder or staircase. The bastle is
a Grade II Listed Building. Immediately to the west of the bastle, and on the
same orientation, there are the remains of two steadings; the most easterly is
visible as the grassed over foundations of a two compartment long house 17.5m
by 4.5m wide, the end walls of which are 1.4m wide. The most westerly building
is stone built and measures 24m long by 6m wide. It is considered that
buildings such as these, which occur in close proximity to a bastle represent
part of the bastle complex, and although secondary in construction to the main
building they are associated with it.

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.

The bastle and its associated buildings 730m north west of Comb survive
reasonably well and preserve a rare doorway feature. The importance of the
monument is enhanced by the survival of other bastles in the vicinity. Taken
together they will add to our knowledge and understanding of post medieval
settlement in the region.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M, The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XV, (1940), 271
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990), 34

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.