Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are no visible remains

Alternative NamesHigh Gate; High Yate
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishHethersgill

Possible site of a bastle or fortified house at Highgate. A document of 1600 refers to an old house with thick walls of the Hetherington family at High Gate. (PastScape–ref. Perriam and Robinson)

4 February 1617 'item... William Taylor tooke an oxe of his cosen William Taylor of the High yate in Hethersgill for the baeting down of fower catell stolen from Chaulke about fower yeares sithence' ( Household Accounts of Naworth quoted in Perriam and Robinson)

Hethersgill ... township was long the residence of the Hetheringtons, an ancient border family, among whom were several persons of distinction in their day and generation. One of them left a large sum of money to found a charity for the relief of the blind. (Bulmer's History & Directory of Cumberland, 1901) The family came from the Brampton Region of Cumberland about 10 miles east of Carlisle. More specifically the village of Hethersgill (map ref: 86 4767) and the villages nearby. These villages are about 6 miles northwest of Brampton. The family are not regarded as a prominent reiving family, probably because of it being relatively small in numbers, however, records indicate that it was involved in feuding and local reiving with its neighbours. It was especially prominent in the protection racket (known as blackmail) when it apparently insisted on 'protecting' more vulnerable groups at a price. George Fraser, in his book The Steel Bonnets states that they were heavily involved in conspiracy to murder the Bishop of Carlisle in 1596. (http://www.borderreivers.co.uk/Border%20Families/Surnames/hetherington.htm)

Gatehouse Comments

King mentions possible castle called Highgate, mentioned by Moore as 'between Brampton and Penrith' Harvey's list is derived from Moore. Camden records "neere unto Caudbeck, standeth Highgate a castle of the Richmonds of ancient descent" near Rose castle. Although, in fact, not on the river Caldew the Richmond descent means this must surely be High Head Castle and the strong suspicion must be that Moore's Highgate is High Head Castle. Moore does separately list High-Head but, as he collated his list from several sources, this does not mean he excluded Highgate from being High-Head. The map reference is that given by Perriam and Robinson but Gatehouse can not find a Highgate place-name in the area on the old OS maps (However High Gate - meaning high or main road is a pretty ubiquitous place name). Clearly the Hetherington's were a family that would have had one or more bastles, and the sort of family that made the building of bastles a local necessity. They were based in and around Hethersgill but this 'Highgate' house may not have necessarily been in Hethersgill village.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY478672
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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 81
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 95
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Moore, James, 1798, List of the Principal Castles and Monasteries in Great Britain (London) p. 7 online copy


Primary Sources

  • Ornsby, G. (ed), 1877, Household Accounts of Naworth 1612-40 (London: Surtees Society 68) p. 438 online copy