Low Grains bastle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015866

Date first listed: 11-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Low Grains bastle
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Jan-2019 at 19:47:39.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Bewcastle

National Grid Reference: NY 57641 75100


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.

Low Grains medieval bastle is one of a number of bastles located in the parishes of Bewcastle and Askerton close to the Scottish border. It remains identifiable and will contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider border settlement and economy during the medieval period.


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


The monument includes Low Grains medieval bastle, which is Listed Grade II. It is constructed of calciferous sandstone rubble and is located 30m south east of the now deserted farm of Low Grains. Upstanding remains include part of the bastle's south wall only, the remainder of the building survives as turf covered foundations. The bastle measures 9m by 5m and its south wall stands to a maximum height of c.1.5m and is up to 1.3m thick. It was entered from the south and some in situ rounded jambs mark the site of the original doorway, other jambs and a lintel have recently fallen and lie on the ground adjacent. In the 17th century a farmhouse was built on the site and this later structure incorporated the remains of the bastle. A length of field wall partly following the line of the bastle's west wall contains recesses showing that it was part of this farmhouse. In 1618 a Survey of Disordered Persons cites `Hector Armstrong of Low Grains and Tho. Armstrong sonne of Robert of the same. They did steal Hugh Ridle's catell, and are besides generally reputed great theeves'. All adjacent modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 27770

Legacy System: RSM


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Household Book of Lord W Howard,

End of official listing