Ancient Monuments

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The Loan medieval bastle and post-medieval cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Bewcastle, Cumbria

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Latitude: 55.0991 / 55°5'56"N

Longitude: -2.6893 / 2°41'21"W

OS Eastings: 356108.700174

OS Northings: 578509.311831

OS Grid: NY561785

Mapcode National: GBR 99NG.KY

Mapcode Global: WH7Z7.N3KB

Entry Name: The Loan medieval bastle and post-medieval cottage

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016085

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27778

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


The monument includes The Loan medieval bastle, a roofless structure formerly
of two-storeys but now standing to ground floor height only, and an adjacent
two-roomed post-medieval cottage which incorporated the remains of the bastle.
It is located on level ground 120m south east of The Flatt farmhouse at a spot
where the enclosed fields originally met the rough upland pasture. The bastle
was constructed in the late 16th century of calciferous sandstone rubble and
originally measured approximately 5m by 4m internally. Only the south west
wall now survives to any great height above ground level, standing
approximately 2.3m high and 1.2m thick. In the middle of this wall is the
original doorway with chamfered and rebated jambs, a lintel, and tunnels for a
drawbar. Other surviving architectural features include a projecting plinth,
some large quoin stones at the corners, and a slit vent in the rear wall, now
the dividing wall of the cottage. At an unrecorded date the bastle was
converted into a single-storey two-roomed cottage by extending the original
building on the north east side to give the new structure external
measurements of c.9m by 5.3m. A doorway in the south east side, now part
blocked and part reused as a window, gave access into the north east room, and
the cottage was lit by two small square windows, one to each room, both about
0.6m square. The walls of the cottage are 0.6m thick and stand up to 2.3m
high. It was originally roofed in turf over which corrugated iron was later
placed; the roof has collapsed in recent years. The monument is a Grade II
Listed Building.
All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them 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.

The Loan medieval bastle is a good example of this class of monument which was
later converted and used as a post-medieval cottage. Despite this renovation,
the bastle retains a number of original architectural details. It is one of
many examples of this class of monument located in the parishes of Bewcastle
and Askerton close to the Scottish border, and as such it will contribute
to our knowledge and understanding of the wider border settlement and economy
during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 76
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 51
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

Source: Historic England

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