Loaning Head

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are uncertain remains

NameLoaning Head
Alternative NamesLonning Head; Lane Head
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishAlston Moor

The village has in its neighbourhood a most characteristic curiosity in one of the few existing specimens of the fortified farmhouse. "Lonning Head" means Lane Head, by which latter name it is now becoming generally known. It stands at the top or head of a steep lane leading up from the south-east corner of the village.

The initial to this chapter gives a slight sketch of the exterior of the building, which is perhaps the best example of the kind, being but slightly altered from its original state. The owners and their cattle were housed under the same roof, a practice for which there was good reason at the date of its construction, as proved in the chronicles of the Border, and the Border practically extended much further south than Garragill, as the annals of Lancashire give proof.

The interior is given as showing best the thickness of the walls, quite three feet, and the windows are contrived. as usual in such structures, so as to present there narrowest front externally. The primitive method of constructing these strongholds without sunk foundations is illustrated here. At the back of the house are seen exposed, the huge undressed stones which, simply placed on the ground, support the upper structure. (Palmer 1882)

This is a bastle altered in the 1980s when converted into a private holiday home. It is uncertain how much of the original bastle remains. (PastScape ref. Perriam and Robinson)

Sometimes two {bastles} or more were grouped together into tiny hamlets, such as Loaning Head (Jessop and Whitfield 2013)

Gatehouse Comments

Much altered Bastle house. Originally named Lonning Head. What do Jessop and Whitfield mean? There are a few buildings at Loaning Head (it seems to be a hamlet by 1859) but only one of these appears to have been a bastle.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY740417
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  • Jessop, Lucy and Whitfield, Matthew, 2013, Alston Moor, Cumbria: Buildings in a North Pennines landscape (English Heritage) p. 35
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 102 (slight)
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 38
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 93
  • Palmer W.J., 1882, The Tyne and Its Tributaries (London) p. 83, 89 online copy