Tarset; The Comb

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are uncertain remains

NameTarset; The Comb
Alternative NamesCombe; Keame; The Keyme; Keyne; Corbit Castle
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishTarset

NY 768904 Comb-pele (Tower or house) (McDowell 1965).

The Combe, a farm which incorporates a pele (Long 1967).

The only remains of the pele (probably a 'strong-house' or bastle rather than a tower) are incorporated in the internal fabric of the farmhouse (Long 1988).

According to tradition the remains of the pele are incorporated into the modern farmhouse. There are no walls bearing any characteristics of a pele and the attribution seems unlikely. There is an area of disturbed ground in a field to the south east and this may be a possible site (Long 1988). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Mentioned, as 'the Keyme', in a C16 list of places in Tynedale the other places on the list all being the location of bastles. Although the actual physical evidence for a bastle here is slight and the historic evidence indirect it does seem likely there was a bastle here. Probably one of a group of several bastles near Tarset Head, 8.5 to 12 km nw of Bellingham. Others in group include Black Middens 1 and 2, Waterhead, Highfield, Shilla Hill (Starr Head), Bog Head (Corby's Castle, Barty's peel), Hill House.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY767904
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Calculate Print


  • 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. 301
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 361
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 114
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 86-7


  • 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

Primary Sources

  • Bain, J.G. (ed), 1894, Calendar of Letters and Papers Relating to the Affairs of the Borders of England and Scotland (Edinburgh) Vol. 1 p. 109 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
  • Long, B., 1988, List of Ancient Monuments - The Kielder Forests. Unpublished (Forestry Commission)
  • McDowall, R.W., 1965, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland. Typescript RCHME