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Medieval settlement and field system, two bastles and a corn drying kiln, immediately north east of Bradley Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Bardon Mill, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0024 / 55°0'8"N

Longitude: -2.3469 / 2°20'48"W

OS Eastings: 377905.281675

OS Northings: 567589.372701

OS Grid: NY779675

Mapcode National: GBR DB1L.PL

Mapcode Global: WH90X.XJLG

Entry Name: Medieval settlement and field system, two bastles and a corn drying kiln, immediately north east of Bradley Hall

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018533

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28584

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Bardon Mill

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Beltingham with Henshaw

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a medieval and post-medieval settlement,
situated on a south facing triangle of land on the left bank of the Bradley
Burn. The core of the medieval settlement is situated at the centre of the
monument and is visible as the earthwork remains of a series of rectangular
and square enclosures, and what are considered to be several rectangular house
platforms. The largest enclosure lies at the centre of the medieval
settlement; it is sub-rectangular in shape and measures 30m across within
walls 1.3m wide and 0.6m high. The remains of what are thought to be the
foundations of two houses lie immediately east of the enclosure and the
foundations of a third rectangular building lie immediately to the west. South
east of these remains are further enclosures, including a sub-rectangular
feature 40m by 16m containing a smaller rectangular building, which are also
considered to be part of the medieval settlement. A hollow way at the western
edge of the monument, some 0.4m deep, is also thought to be medieval in
origin. Surrounding the core of the medieval settlement on the south, there
are the remains of an associated field system. The field system is visible as
a series of long, narrow fields running down the gentle slopes to the Bradley
Burn. The fields are separated by earthen banks and scarps or lynchets. The
remains of ridge and furrow cultivation are clearly visible within some of the
fields; the furrows are up to 7m apart and end in a prominent headland
immediately above the steep slopes of the Burn. The medieval settlement and
its field system are enclosed on the north and eastern sides by a prominent
stone and earth bank standing to 0.6m high.
The medieval settlement is thought to be associated with Bradley Hall,
incorporated within the present farm of the same name, situated immediately
adjacent to the settlement on the right bank of the Bradley Burn. In 1306,
Edward I stayed at Bradley Hall on his way to Carlisle during his final
Scottish campaign.
The monument was clearly occupied in the 16th and early 17th centuries; at the
north eastern corner of the monument there are the stone foundations of a
bastle. The bastle has maximum dimensions of 14.3m east to west by 6.3m north
to south. The walls of the bastle stand to a maximum height of 0.8m. There is
an entrance through the western end of the south wall with part of the door
frame intact. Immediately to the north, there are the slight earthwork remains
of an associated rectangular structure. The bastle is attached to a large
roughly rectangular enclosure containing the remains of post-medieval
ploughing. The site of a ruined bastle in this location is named on the First
Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1866 as `Greenbyer'. The stone foundations of
what are thought to be a second bastle lie some 30m to the east of the first.
They measure 7.6m east to west by 5.5m with walls standing up to 0.3m high. A
circular corn drying kiln, built into the steep slope above the Bradley Burn,
stands up to 1m internally and is 1m wide. This feature is thought to be late
17th century in date and indicates that occupation of the settlement continued
into post-medieval times.
The telegraph poles which cross the monument 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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Wear-Tweed sub-Province of the Central Province, an
area long characterised, except for the western margins, by nucleated
settlements both surviving and deserted. Variations within the sub-Province
reflect land ownership as well as terrain: on some estates in Northumberland
there was much dispersal of farmsteads and consequent village and hamlet
depopulation after the Middle Ages, whereas Durham saw greater stability
because of ecclesiastical control. An overlay of mining settlements adds
complexity to the coalfield areas.
The Upper Tyne (north west) local region is characterised by low densities of
dispersed farmsteads, and almost no village settlements. Much of the landscape
of fields and farms is the work of 18th and 19th century agricultural
improvers, but traces of older patterns are to be seen in the form of earthen
dykes, stone-built tower houses and bastles, and traces of abandoned
cultivation and deserted settlements to be found on the unenclosed fells.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre
of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow or
woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as
earthworks, their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks,
platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed
crofts and small enclosed paddocks. As part of the manorial system most
villages included one or more manorial centres which may also survive as
visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the central province of
England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life and their
archaeological remains are one of the most important sources for understanding
rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.
Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on
large, unenclosed, open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into
strips which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these
strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen-teams produced long wide ridges, and
the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious
physical indication of the open field system. Individual strips were laid out
in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal headlands at the plough
turning-points and lateral grass balks. Furlongs were in turn grouped into
large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original
context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an important source of
information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the
character of the historic landscape. It is usually now covered by the hedges
or walls of subsequent field enclosure.
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, some stoutly barred windows and few architectural
features or details. Some have stone barrel vaults to the basement but the
majority had a firsy 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 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 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 medieval settlement at Bradley Hall survives well and retains significant
archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is enhanced by its
post-medieval occupation and in particular by the construction of a bastle
settlement. This monument will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding
of the settlement history of this region.

Source: Historic England


National Trust SMR 12250*0,
National Trust SMR 12250*0,
National Trust SMR 12250*1,
National Trust SMR 12250*16,
National Trust SMR 12250*16,
National Trust SMR 12250*3,
National Trust SMR 12250*8,

Source: Historic England

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