Ancient Monuments

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Crew Castle bastle

A Scheduled Monument in Bewcastle, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0934 / 55°5'36"N

Longitude: -2.6776 / 2°40'39"W

OS Eastings: 356848.823868

OS Northings: 577870.32376

OS Grid: NY568778

Mapcode National: GBR 99RJ.3Z

Mapcode Global: WH7Z7.V73P

Entry Name: Crew Castle bastle

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015738

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27764

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Bewcastle

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bewcastle St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes Crew Castle, a roofless bastle now standing to ground
floor height only, located on the hillside c.120m south of Crew Farm. It is
constructed of calciferous sandstone rubble and measures approximately 7.6m by
5m internally with walls 1.6m thick and up to a maximum of 2.6m high. There is
a doorway in the south wall and a blocked doorway opposite in the north wall.
Two apertures, one in the south wall and the other in the west wall, each
consist of a small circular hole set in the thickness of the wall which splays
outwards towards both the external and internal sides of the wall; these have
been interpreted as either ventilation holes or gun loops for defensive
purposes. Other architectural features include a projecting plinth around the
bastle's perimeter and large flush quoins at the corner. Rubble from the upper
storey has fallen outwards and lies adjacent to the north east and north west
sides and the western corner of the bastle, and in places forms heaps of
debris as high as the adjacent bastle wall.
Tradition states that Crew Castle bastle was the birthplace of Hobbie Noble, a
moss-trooper or border reiver. Documentary sources indicate that Will Noble
`of the Crew was murdered by Old Whithaugh' in 1583. The monument is a Listed
Building Grade II.
Adjacent sheep pens and a lean-to shed are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Despite being presently used as a sheep pen and being flanked by other sheep
pens and a lean-to shed on two sides, Crew Castle bastle survives in fair
condition and retains a number of original architectural features. It is one
of a number of surviving bastles in the parishes of Bewcastle and Askerton
close to the Scottish border and is a good example of this class of monument.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Curwen, J F, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Extra Ser.' in Castles and Towers of Cumb, West and Lancs N of the Sands, , Vol. XIII, (1913), 364
Graham, T H B, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Extinct Cumberland Castles (Part II), , Vol. X, (1910), 102-6
Other
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

Source: Historic England

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