The Loan medieval bastle and post-medieval cottage


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of The Loan medieval bastle and post-medieval cottage
© 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.

Carlisle (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 56109 78510

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 Loan medieval bastle is a good example of this class of monument which was later converted and used as a post-medieval cottage. Despite this renovation, the bastle retains a number of original architectural details. It is one of many examples of this class of monument located in the parishes of Bewcastle and Askerton close to the Scottish border, and as such it will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the wider border settlement and economy during the medieval period.


The monument includes The Loan medieval bastle, a roofless structure formerly of two-storeys but now standing to ground floor height only, and an adjacent two-roomed post-medieval cottage which incorporated the remains of the bastle. It is located on level ground 120m south east of The Flatt farmhouse at a spot where the enclosed fields originally met the rough upland pasture. The bastle was constructed in the late 16th century of calciferous sandstone rubble and originally measured approximately 5m by 4m internally. Only the south west wall now survives to any great height above ground level, standing approximately 2.3m high and 1.2m thick. In the middle of this wall is the original doorway with chamfered and rebated jambs, a lintel, and tunnels for a drawbar. Other surviving architectural features include a projecting plinth, some large quoin stones at the corners, and a slit vent in the rear wall, now the dividing wall of the cottage. At an unrecorded date the bastle was converted into a single-storey two-roomed cottage by extending the original building on the north east side to give the new structure external measurements of c.9m by 5.3m. A doorway in the south east side, now part blocked and part reused as a window, gave access into the north east room, and the cottage was lit by two small square windows, one to each room, both about 0.6m square. The walls of the cottage are 0.6m thick and stand up to 2.3m high. It was originally roofed in turf over which corrugated iron was later placed; the roof has collapsed in recent years. The monument is a Grade II Listed Building. All modern field boundaries 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 76
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 51
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,


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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