Hill House bastle and associated enclosures, 850m NNW of Sidwood Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010034

Date first listed: 08-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of Hill House bastle and associated enclosures, 850m NNW of Sidwood Cottage
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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 77059 89778


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.

Hill House bastle survives reasonably well and retains significant archaeological deposits. The enclosing wall is an unusual feature which enhances the importance of the bastle as does the survival of other bastles in the immediate vicinity, taken together they will add to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and society at this time.


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 in a strongly defensive position on a low promontory commanding the Tarset Valley to the north, west and east. The bastle is visible as the grass covered walls of a rectangular building 5m by 6m and standing to a maximum height of 1.5m. It stands at the centre of a large enclosure 36m north east to south west by a maximum of 60m north west to south east, defined by a bank of stone and earth 1m high. Within the enclosing bank there is a scooped ditch-like feature on average 4m wide which would have provided extra defence on the most vulnerable sides of the bastle. There is an apparent entrance through the enclosure bank at the north east corner. Adjacent to the bastle, on its south side, there are the remains of at least one rectangular building and an associated yard visible as the low stone founded walls. These are interpreted as the remains of a farmstead of similar or slightly later date to the bastle. Attached to the external side of the enclosure bank, immediately north of the entrance on the edge of the steep valley side, are the remains of two enclosures defined by low banks 0.6m high. The first is roughly square and measures 5m with an entrance in its south west corner. The second enclosure is irregularly shaped and measures 10m by 4m. Hill House is first mentioned in 1552, then called Haugh-Hill House and it was raided in 1583. During the 17th century it was occupied by the Hunters. It is not shown on a map of 1769 and may have been deserted by that time.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 25137

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Bastles and Towers in Northumberland National Park, (1990)
Long, B, List Of Ancient Monuments- The Kielder Forests, (1988)
NY 78 NE 03,

End of official listing