Ancient Monuments

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Low Grains bastle

A Scheduled Monument in Askerton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 55.0686 / 55°4'6"N

Longitude: -2.6648 / 2°39'53"W

OS Eastings: 357640.877211

OS Northings: 575100.218719

OS Grid: NY576751

Mapcode National: GBR 99TT.WV

Mapcode Global: WH90D.1V9R

Entry Name: Low Grains bastle

Scheduled Date: 11 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015866

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27770

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Askerton

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bewcastle St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Low Grains medieval bastle, which is Listed Grade II. It
is constructed of calciferous sandstone rubble and is located 30m south east
of the now deserted farm of Low Grains. Upstanding remains include part of the
bastle's south wall only, the remainder of the building survives as turf
covered foundations. The bastle measures 9m by 5m and its south wall stands to
a maximum height of c.1.5m and is up to 1.3m thick. It was entered from the
south and some in situ rounded jambs mark the site of the original doorway,
other jambs and a lintel have recently fallen and lie on the ground adjacent.
In the 17th century a farmhouse was built on the site and this later structure
incorporated the remains of the bastle. A length of field wall partly
following the line of the bastle's west wall contains recesses showing that it
was part of this farmhouse. In 1618 a Survey of Disordered Persons cites
`Hector Armstrong of Low Grains and Tho. Armstrong sonne of Robert of the
same. They did steal Hugh Ridle's catell, and are besides generally reputed
great theeves'.
All adjacent modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Low Grains medieval bastle is one of a number of bastles located in the
parishes of Bewcastle and Askerton close to the Scottish border. It remains
identifiable and will contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of
the wider border settlement and economy during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Household Book of Lord W Howard,

Source: Historic England

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