Bastle, 100m south-west of Holystone Grange


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Bastle, 100m south-west of Holystone Grange
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 96577 00284

Reasons for Designation

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 some restoration work in the early 20th century, the bastle at Holystone is very well preserved and is a good, complete example of its type. It retains many original features and is one of few bastles to bear an in- situ date stone.


The monument includes a bastle and an associated circular structure situated on the left bank of the River Coquet commanding extensive views of the Coquet valley. The bastle, constructed of roughly coursed rubble, is rectangular in shape and measures 11.5m by 7.5m. The vaulted basement is entered through a central doorway in the north-east gable, above which is an inscribed lintel carrying the date 1602. There are windows in the south and the south-west walls. A small wooden loft occupied the south-west end of the basement, the only remains of which are a line of beam holes in the walls. A stair leads from the eastern corner of the basement to the first floor living area. The first floor is lit by windows in the south, north-east and south-west walls; the two windows on the north-west wall are 20th-century additions. Other features of interest on the first floor are two wall cupboards set either side of the window in the north-east wall, a stone sink beneath the eastern window and traces of an original fireplace in the south-west wall, later made into a doorway. The bastle was originally lower and was raised to its present height in the 18th century when an attic above the first floor was added. The monument is also a Listed Building Grade II*. The bastle was restored and re- roofed in 1904, but is now once again roofless. Attached to the south-west end of the bastle is a turf-covered circular structure; this is the probable remains of a stack stand associated with the use of the bastle. The plantation wall, the outside edge of which forms the south-west end of the protected area, is not included in the scheduling.

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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990), 23-5
DOE Rothbury R.D, (1948)
No. 650,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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