Bastle, 500m west of High Shaw


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009977

Date first listed: 26-Nov-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jan-1993


Ordnance survey map of Bastle, 500m west of High Shaw
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Hepple


National Grid Reference: NY 93582 98251


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 at High Shaw survives in a good state of preservation and exhibits a number of unusual features which cannot be paralleled on other known bastles.


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


The monument includes the remains of a medieval defended farmhouse, or bastle, situated on gently sloping ground above the steep sided slopes of Watty's Sike. The structure, constructed of massive roughly squared stone blocks and surviving to one storey high, is rectangular in plan measuring 11m by 6m within stone walls 1.6m thick. There is a small square-headed doorway into the byre or basement of the bastle through the east wall, and an unusual triangular window in the west wall. Along the top of the walls there is a broad string course, a feature not paralleled on other bastles. There is now no trace of an upper storey, which appears to have been deliberately dismantled. The basement is barrel vaulted and at the northern end displays a ladder hole, giving access to the upper storey. On the inside of the western wall are the remains of wall cupboards and a fireplace, the latter a secondary feature. Also at the western end of the basement there are traces of socket holes where a low loft was constructed. The bastle is a grade II listed building. The western end of the south wall has been breached to provide a modern doorway giving access to a modern lean-to shed. The lean-to shed on the south side of the bastle and the fences at the eastern and western sides are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 20909

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970)
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990), 27
No. 4061,

End of official listing