Gatehouse South Bastle, Tarset

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are major building remains

NameGatehouse South Bastle, Tarset
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishTarset

(NY 78798895) At Gatehouse are two 'ancient dwellings' placed on each side of the road and at right angles to each other. Each has consisted of a heavily built oblong stone house two storeys in height. The ground floor had no external opening except a door at one end but could also be entered by trap door from above. The upper floor has a door reached by outside stair and two small window openings.

The north house bears most of these features intact but has a modern entrance inserted at one end of the ground floor. The other house has had a lean-to addition on the back and a square extension at one end. About 100 years ago (c.1840) the front wall was rebuilt, with a door in the centre and sash windows. There is an original doorway at its west end. A large opening has recently been made to enable the building to be used as a garage or barn and the windows boarded up. Both houses seem to date from Henry VIII or Elizabeth but nothing is known of their history. (Architectural description of both buildings) (Dodds 1940).

'Gatehouse' formerly known as 'Yethouse'. The two peel houses, neither of which is occupied, cannot easily be dated. One of them has in its north gable a little doorway of late 16th or very early 17th century date (Brown 1938).

Two rectangular, two-storey, gabled stone houses situated upon a south west facing slope, in open moorland, overlooking the valley of the Tarset Burn, with commanding view to the north and east. 'B' NY 78788894. In disrepair, roofless. No structural evidence of a former outside stairway. 11m long, 7m wide, approx 9m high, with three original walls 1.3m thick. Miss E C Thompson, of Gatehouse Farm has no further information about these buildings (F1 ASP 09-JUL-1956).

Gatehouse South Bastle. Rectangular building 11m x 7m externally with walls c.1.2m thick of large rubble, except for rebuilt south wall 0.7m thick of smaller stone

Blocked byre door in centre west end has roll-moulded surround; above and to south is blocked first-floor window. Other features largely from late 18th/early 19th century remodelling, including three fireplaces. One roll-moulded stone re-used in the rebuilt south west quoin is probably a jamb stone from the upper doorway. Now a roofless shell, with a ragged gap in the south wall. Adjacent boundary walls incorporate remains of adjacent (18th century?) buildings; a 18th/19th century north outshut has been removed (F3 PFR 25-JUN-1990).

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for works to Gatehouse South Bastle on 27-Feb-1991. Concerned with consolidating and repairing the existing walls, building up the south wall to eaves level, replacing the windows and replacing the slated and timber trussed roof (Letter DOE 29-Feb-1991 Ref:HSD 9/2/2218).

Built of random rubble, roofless { 1987}. The walls stand to full height, though the south wall is a 19th century rebuild. The dimensions are about 40 feet by 25 feet, with walls about 5 feet thick. Apart from the masonry, the ground floor doorway is the most impressive surviving feature. It is blocked now, but has a fine roll-moulded surround and a relieving arch above. On the inside it is covered by a 19th century fireplace from the period when the bastle was occupied as a cottage (Grundy 1987). (Northumberland HER)

Ruined bastlehouse. Late C16 or early C17. Random rubble, roofless. All walls stand to full height, though the south wall is a C19 rebuild. c.40 ft. x 25 ft.

Ground-floor doorway blocked on gable end; it has a roll-moulded surround with relieving arch over, hole-for harr post and drawbar.tunnels.

Interior: walls c.5 ft. thick, south wall much thinner. Ground-floor doorway covered by early C19 fireplace. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Gatehouse was a complex of five bastles. The listing report is out of date and the building has been roofed.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY787889
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

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Latitude 55° 11' 39.49" Longitude -2° 20' 5.05"

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  • Grint, Julia, 2008, Bastles an introduction to the bastle houses of Northumberland (Hexham: Ergo Press) p. 61-2
  • Ryder, Peter, 2004, 'Towers and bastles in Northumberland National Park' in Frodsham, P., Archaeology in the Northumberland National Park (CBA Research report 136) p. 262-271
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 296-8
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 117 (slight)
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  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 42, 43
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 358
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 176
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 92, no.65
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 108
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1940, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 15 p. 250-1


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Lax, Amy, 1999, 'Border Troubles and Border Farmers: A study of Bastle Houses in the Upper Tarset Valley, Northumberland' Northern Archaeology Vol. 17/18 p. 165-72
  • Graham, A., 1945-6, 'Notes on Some Northumbrian 'Peles' Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Vol. 80 p. 37-43 online copy


  • The Archaeological Practice Ltd., 2004, 'Tarset and Greenhaugh Northumberland an archaeological and historical study of a border township' Northumberland National Park Historic Village Atlas p. 42-3 (slight) (The Northumberland National Park Authority) online copy
  • Grundy, J., 1987, The Historic Buildings of the Northumberland National Park TAR9