High Grains bastle and shieling 130m west of High Grains Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017461

Date first listed: 11-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of High Grains bastle and shieling 130m west of High Grains Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1017461 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 13:48:59.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Askerton

National Grid Reference: NY 58645 75379


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.

Medieval shielings were small seasonally occupied huts which were built to provide shelter for herdsmen who tended animals grazing summer pasture on upland or marshland. They have a simple sub-rectangular or ovoid plan normally defined by drystone walling and most have a single undivided interior although two roomed examples are known. Some have adjacent structures such as pens or enclosures. Shielings are reasonably common in the uplands but frequently represent the only evidence for medieval settlement and farming practice here. Those examples which survive well and help illustrate medieval land use are considered to be nationally important. Despite being reused as a shieling High Grains bastle survives reasonably well and retains a number of architectural features. The monument is a rare example of the juxtaposition of a bastle and shieling, which also survives reasonably well, and it will add greatly to our 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 High Grains medieval bastle, a roofless structure formerly of two storeys but now standing to ground floor height only, and an adjacent later medieval shieling which incorporated the remains of the bastle. It is located on slightly elevated ground on the narrow flood plain of a tributory of Kirk Beck 130m west of High Grains Farm.

The bastle is constructed of calciferous sandstone rubble and measures approximately 9.5m north east to south west by 6.5m north west to south east externally with walls up to 1.3m thick and up to 1.9m high. All the external walls other than that at the north east side are original; this fourth wall has been rebuilt to form the present entrance and includes the original chamfered and rebated jambs with a drawbar tunnel. At the western end of the bastle three projecting stones are thought to have supported the hearth of a fireplace on the upper floor; also at the western end there is a detatchable stone revealing a small spy-hole which gave views down the valley from the bastle's interior. Rubble from the upper storey of the bastle has fallen outwards and lies adjacent to three sides of the building and in places forms heaps of debris almost as high as the adjacent bastle wall. Attached to the north eastern end of the bastle is a later stone-built medieval shieling having internal dimensions of 5.5m by 4.5m with two walls surviving up to c.1.6m high. A crosswall dividing the bastle into two rooms is not an original feature and is considered to be associated with the building of the shieling, indicating that the bastle was reused to form part of a three roomed shieling. Both the bastle and shieling are depicted on a map dated 1603 accompanying the Gilsland Survey. The bastle is Listed Grade II.

A drystone wall attached to the southern corner of the bastle is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it 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: 27771

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 76
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 16, 76
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
To Robinson,K.D. MPPA, Roberts, Mr and Mosscrop, Mr (Neighbours), (1996)
To Robinson,K.D. MPPA, Roberts, Mr and Mosscrop, Mr (Neighbours), (1996)

End of official listing