Ancient Monuments

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Bastle, 500m west of High Shaw

A Scheduled Monument in Hepple, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2784 / 55°16'42"N

Longitude: -2.1026 / 2°6'9"W

OS Eastings: 393581.583395

OS Northings: 598251.371099

OS Grid: NY935982

Mapcode National: GBR F7RD.LN

Mapcode Global: WHB0T.NLZD

Entry Name: Bastle, 500m west of High Shaw

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1932

Last Amended: 11 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009977

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20909

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 the remains of a medieval defended farmhouse, or bastle,
situated on gently sloping ground above the steep sided slopes of Watty's
Sike. The structure, constructed of massive roughly squared stone blocks and
surviving to one storey high, is rectangular in plan measuring 11m by 6m
within stone walls 1.6m thick. There is a small square-headed doorway into
the byre or basement of the bastle through the east wall, and an unusual
triangular window in the west wall. Along the top of the walls there is a
broad string course, a feature not paralleled on other bastles. There is now
no trace of an upper storey, which appears to have been deliberately
dismantled. The basement is barrel vaulted and at the northern end displays a
ladder hole, giving access to the upper storey. On the inside of the western
wall are the remains of wall cupboards and a fireplace, the latter a
secondary feature. Also at the western end of the basement there are traces
of socket holes where a low loft was constructed. The bastle is a grade II
listed building. The western end of the south wall has been breached to
provide a modern doorway giving access to a modern lean-to shed. The lean-to
shed on the south side of the bastle and the fences at the eastern and western
sides are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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 at High Shaw survives in a good state of preservation and exhibits
a number of unusual features which cannot be paralleled on other known

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970)
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990), 27
No. 4061,

Source: Historic England

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