Bastle and associated buildings 730m north west of Comb


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008992

Date first listed: 26-Oct-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Sep-1994


Ordnance survey map of Bastle and associated buildings 730m north west of Comb
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008992 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 10:20:44.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Tarset

National Grid Reference: NY 76124 91005


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

The bastle and its associated buildings 730m north west of Comb survive reasonably well and preserve a rare doorway feature. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of other bastles in the vicinity. Taken together they will add to our knowledge and understanding of post medieval settlement in the region.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of a bastle, a form of defended farmhouse, situated at the foot of a steep slope in the valley of the Tarset Burn. The bastle, rectangular in shape and orientated north west to south east, measures 9.6m by 7m externally with walls of large unhewn stone blocks 1.4m thick. The walls stand to a height of 4.5m on the north west and south west sides and 2m-4m elsewhere. Roughly shaped boulders have been used as quoin stones at the corners of the building. There is an entrance in the centre of the western gable wall giving access into the ground floor basement; it is square headed with rounded door jambs and has been provided with two doors, each furnished with draw bar tunnels. Above the doorway there is a narrow channel cut through the thickness of the wall; this is interpreted as a channel through which water would be poured to douse fires lit against the door and is a very rare feature of bastle construction. There is a single slit window in the east end of the bastle. The basement or byre clearly shows the remains of a vaulted roof which has mostly fallen into the bastle. It is thought that the upper storey living area was reached by a wooden ladder or staircase. The bastle is a Grade II Listed Building. Immediately to the west of the bastle, and on the same orientation, there are the remains of two steadings; the most easterly is visible as the grassed over foundations of a two compartment long house 17.5m by 4.5m wide, the end walls of which are 1.4m wide. The most westerly building is stone built and measures 24m long by 6m wide. It is considered that buildings such as these, which occur in close proximity to a bastle represent part of the bastle complex, and although secondary in construction to the main building they are associated with it.

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: 25080

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M, The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XV, (1940), 271
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990), 34

End of official listing