Bastle 80m north east of Fallowlees


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


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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 02005 94341

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 of the later Middle Ages, which in these border areas lasted until (indeed after) the union of the English and Scottish Crowns in 1603. 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 80m north east of Fallowlees survives in reasonable condition and retains significant archaeological deposits. It will contribute to any study of the settlement pattern during this period.


The monument includes the remains of a bastle situated among farmbuildings at the headwaters of the River Font and now largely surrounded by the plantations of Harwood Forest. The bastle, constructed of large roughly squared blocks, measures approximately 13m long by 8.5m wide and survives up to 2.5m high at the western corner. The standing remains comprise the north west wall which has partially collapsed near the centre, and a 5m length of the south west wall; the outline of the remaining sides are visible as foundations. In the centre of the north west and south west walls there are slit windows. The entrance is believed to have been in the centre of the south east wall, where there is a slight gap in the outline of the wall. The interior is uneven and comprises areas of tumbled masonry, now covered with turf. At the northern corner of the bastle a bank of earth and stone almost 0.3m high runs for 6m north eastwards before turning at right angles for a further 10m; it is interpreted as an enclosure wall. Its date is uncertain but it may be contemporary with the bastle and is included in the scheduling so that the relationship with the bastle is preserved. Further sections of wall extend beyond the scheduling. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these include the lean- to attached to the shed on the south east side of the monument, the post and wire fence on the north east side and the walls of a later building attached to the south west wall; the ground beneath these features, however, is included.

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:
Legacy System:


NZ 09 SW 9,


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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