Ancient Monuments

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North Bastle, Gatehouse

A Scheduled Monument in Tarset, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1947 / 55°11'40"N

Longitude: -2.3348 / 2°20'5"W

OS Eastings: 378785.583329

OS Northings: 588982.03655

OS Grid: NY787889

Mapcode National: GBR D84C.BN

Mapcode Global: WH8ZZ.3PGK

Entry Name: North Bastle, Gatehouse

Scheduled Date: 15 October 1975

Last Amended: 8 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015527

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25085

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Tarset

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Bellingham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a bastle, a form of defended farmhouse,
situated in a commanding position overlooking the Tarset Valley. It is also
situated at the north west end of a farm steading and is one of a group of
five bastles which once comprised the small hamlet of Gatehouse. The bastle is
rectangular in shape and measures 11.4m by 7m externally with walls of large
rubble 1.45m thick with large quoin stones at the corners. The bastle stands
two storeys high with walls 9m to eaves level and was re-roofed in the 19th
century. The original square headed doorway giving access into the ground
floor basement is situated in the centre of the north eastern gable. It has
been raised by cutting into the lintel and is furnished with draw bar tunnels
and hanging sockets for two doors. The doorway in the north west gable is a
19th century insertion. A single slit window in the south east wall served to
ventilate the basement. The upper floor is carried on massive timber beams,
now built into the walls but originally carried on stone supports or corbels
on the long walls. The external stone stair on the south east side is a
secondary feature; an earlier stone platform at first floor level is thought
to have originally been reached by a wooden ladder. The upper doorway is
placed behind the stone stair platform and has original small windows placed
to either side. Inside the bastle at first floor level there are wall
cupboards built against each gable and a fire place, of 18th century, date on
the south west gable. The monument is a Grade II* Listed Building. The two
fence lines which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling but the
ground beneath them is included.

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.

North Bastle at Gatehouse survives very well and is a good example of its
type. 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.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990), 39-40
NY 78 NE 04,

Source: Historic England

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