Medieval settlement and field system, two bastles and a corn drying kiln, immediately north east of Bradley Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018533

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement and field system, two bastles and a corn drying kiln, immediately north east of Bradley Hall
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2018 at 22:27:46.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bardon Mill

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Henshaw


National Grid Reference: NY 77876 67585


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Wear-Tweed sub-Province of the Central Province, an area long characterised, except for the western margins, by nucleated settlements both surviving and deserted. Variations within the sub-Province reflect land ownership as well as terrain: on some estates in Northumberland there was much dispersal of farmsteads and consequent village and hamlet depopulation after the Middle Ages, whereas Durham saw greater stability because of ecclesiastical control. An overlay of mining settlements adds complexity to the coalfield areas. The Upper Tyne (north west) local region is characterised by low densities of dispersed farmsteads, and almost no village settlements. Much of the landscape of fields and farms is the work of 18th and 19th century agricultural improvers, but traces of older patterns are to be seen in the form of earthen dykes, stone-built tower houses and bastles, and traces of abandoned cultivation and deserted settlements to be found on the unenclosed fells.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow or woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks, their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. As part of the manorial system most villages included one or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources for understanding rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on large, unenclosed, open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen-teams produced long wide ridges, and the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Individual strips were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal headlands at the plough turning-points and lateral grass balks. Furlongs were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape. It is usually now covered by the hedges or walls of subsequent field enclosure. 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, some stoutly barred windows and few architectural features or details. Some have stone barrel vaults to the basement but the majority had a firsy 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 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 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 medieval settlement at Bradley Hall survives well and retains significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is enhanced by its post-medieval occupation and in particular by the construction of a bastle settlement. This monument will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the settlement history of this region.


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


The monument includes the remains of a medieval and post-medieval settlement, situated on a south facing triangle of land on the left bank of the Bradley Burn. The core of the medieval settlement is situated at the centre of the monument and is visible as the earthwork remains of a series of rectangular and square enclosures, and what are considered to be several rectangular house platforms. The largest enclosure lies at the centre of the medieval settlement; it is sub-rectangular in shape and measures 30m across within walls 1.3m wide and 0.6m high. The remains of what are thought to be the foundations of two houses lie immediately east of the enclosure and the foundations of a third rectangular building lie immediately to the west. South east of these remains are further enclosures, including a sub-rectangular feature 40m by 16m containing a smaller rectangular building, which are also considered to be part of the medieval settlement. A hollow way at the western edge of the monument, some 0.4m deep, is also thought to be medieval in origin. Surrounding the core of the medieval settlement on the south, there are the remains of an associated field system. The field system is visible as a series of long, narrow fields running down the gentle slopes to the Bradley Burn. The fields are separated by earthen banks and scarps or lynchets. The remains of ridge and furrow cultivation are clearly visible within some of the fields; the furrows are up to 7m apart and end in a prominent headland immediately above the steep slopes of the Burn. The medieval settlement and its field system are enclosed on the north and eastern sides by a prominent stone and earth bank standing to 0.6m high. The medieval settlement is thought to be associated with Bradley Hall, incorporated within the present farm of the same name, situated immediately adjacent to the settlement on the right bank of the Bradley Burn. In 1306, Edward I stayed at Bradley Hall on his way to Carlisle during his final Scottish campaign. The monument was clearly occupied in the 16th and early 17th centuries; at the north eastern corner of the monument there are the stone foundations of a bastle. The bastle has maximum dimensions of 14.3m east to west by 6.3m north to south. The walls of the bastle stand to a maximum height of 0.8m. There is an entrance through the western end of the south wall with part of the door frame intact. Immediately to the north, there are the slight earthwork remains of an associated rectangular structure. The bastle is attached to a large roughly rectangular enclosure containing the remains of post-medieval ploughing. The site of a ruined bastle in this location is named on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1866 as `Greenbyer'. The stone foundations of what are thought to be a second bastle lie some 30m to the east of the first. They measure 7.6m east to west by 5.5m with walls standing up to 0.3m high. A circular corn drying kiln, built into the steep slope above the Bradley Burn, stands up to 1m internally and is 1m wide. This feature is thought to be late 17th century in date and indicates that occupation of the settlement continued into post-medieval times. The telegraph poles which cross the monument 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.


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

Legacy System number: 28584

Legacy System: RSM


National Trust SMR 12250*0,
National Trust SMR 12250*0,
National Trust SMR 12250*1,
National Trust SMR 12250*16,
National Trust SMR 12250*16,
National Trust SMR 12250*3,
National Trust SMR 12250*8,

End of official listing