Ancient Monuments

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Bastle, 100m south-west of Ray Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1662 / 55°9'58"N

Longitude: -2.0501 / 2°3'0"W

OS Eastings: 396902.94513

OS Northings: 585765.316102

OS Grid: NY969857

Mapcode National: GBR G83P.YW

Mapcode Global: WHB1F.GDZW

Entry Name: Bastle, 100m south-west of Ray Cottages

Scheduled Date: 19 September 1969

Last Amended: 2 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011107

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21003

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirkwhelpington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a medieval defended farmhouse or bastle, situated on a
raised site within the grounds of Ray Castle. The structure, constructed of
large roughly squared stone, is rectangular in plan and measures 8.3m by 6.4m
externally. The walls which are 1.4m thick stand to a maximum height of 2.2m.
There is a doorway in the east gable giving access to the basement. The first
floor, of which there is now no trace, was supported on stone corbels which
are visible in the west gable and the north and south walls.

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.

Although the bastle at Ray Cottages is now a ruin, the lower portions survive
well and display several typical features. It will contribute to any study of
the nature of settlement in the Border area during the turbulent 16th and 17th

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 89

Source: Historic England

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