Talkin Head

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameTalkin Head
Alternative NamesMabs Hole
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishFarlam

Vanished pele tower or bastle. (King 1983)

Lower part of bastle 8.9m by 6.5m. loop in 1.3m thick south end wall. (Salter)

Remains of a stonehouse by the river Gelt.

1603 Survey: 'George Hodgeson a tenemt and crofte... It hath in the bottome near Gelte a stonehouse... and on the higher point next the comon other buildings...'

Ruins standing up to 9 feet high, door lintel on ground. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

The bastle is some distance from the current farmhouse at Talkin Head which has a datestone of 1884. The Bastle is situated on land owned by Talkin Head Farm and I spoke to the owners. They call the ruin (Bastle) Mabs Hole as they have a family story of a witch/ hermit who lived there. Anyway walls are 1.3m thick and one loop hole remains, although a tree is now growing out of it. A large lintel measuring 70cm by 1.3m still lies on the ground as stated by Robinson and Perriam. (Catherine Bancroft 2010)

Gatehouse Comments

PastScape have located this at the modern Talkin Head Farm (NY552565) and previous version of the this record (prior to 6-Feb-2010) had wrongly assumed PastScape to be right and Perriam and Robinson to have mislocated the site. The site is some distance from the modern farm at the location given in P & R. The PastScape record has now been corrected.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY555559
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Copyright Catherine Bancroft. All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Catherine Bancroft. All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 171 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 103 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 94
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 408, 410
  • Penfold, H., 1901, Brampton and District A Guide (Brampton: I B Hodgson)

Primary Sources

  • Graham, T. H. B. (ed.). 1934, The barony of Gilsland. Lord William Howard's survey, taken in 1603 (Feild-Booke yt explaines all the Map Booke for Gilsland taken in 1603) (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 16) p. 62


  • Catherine Bancroft, 6-2-2010, pers. corr