Stonehouse Tower bastle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019530

Date first listed: 30-Oct-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Stonehouse Tower bastle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Nicholforest

National Grid Reference: NY 46303 80418


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 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.

Stonehouse Tower medieval bastle is one of a number of bastles located close to the Scottish border. As such it 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 the upstanding and buried remains of a medieval bastle known as Stonehouse Tower. It is located on the flood plain 140m east of Liddel Water, which here forms the boundary between England and Scotland, and is constructed of roughly squared and roughly coursed rubble, for the most part with uniform quoins. The bastle measures approximately 10.7m by 8.7m with walls 1.3m thick. The south east and south west walls survive up to about 3.6m high and contain two narrow vent slits and a square recess thought to have been used as a cupboard. The south west end wall has the remains of a corbel which may have supported a hearth on the upper floor. Only the foundations and lower course of the north east and north west walls survive. A modern stone-built lean-to on the bastle's south east side is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath this feature 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: 32854

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 78
Perriam, D R, Robinson, J, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. Extra Series.' in The Medieval Fortified Buildings Of Cumbria, , Vol. XXIX, (1998), 243

End of official listing