Newbiggin Townhead

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are major building remains

NameNewbiggin Townhead
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishAinstable

Byre with store above, formerly bastle house. Probably mid C16, with initials T.D. (not T.C. as in Ramm et al, but thought to be initials of Thomas, Lord Dacre, died 1566) and date MDXX (not contemporary with building) on lintel. Thick walls of red sandstone random rubble, with large quoins, raised in height at 2 different periods; high pitched graduated Welsh slate roof. 2 storeys, 2 bays. Ground floor entrance has been slightly enlarged but retains its shouldered lintel and drawbar tunnel; flanking later windows. Upper floor entrance has chamfered surround and inscribed lintel; 2 light stone-mullioned window to left and small single-light window to right with chamfered surround, have both been filled. Small chamfered surround window on two levels in end wall right have both been filled. Large projecting buttress chimney stack to left end wall. Rear wall has similar small filled window, with large C19 entrance and plank doors, reached by ramp. Interior has fireplace with segmental stone arch, with later fireplace on opposite end wall. (Listing Report)

Bastle now used as a barn.

Pevsner first noted this as a bastle, but acknowledged Robin McDowell as source. 1603 Survey; 'The heire of Wm Greme hath a fre tenemt (beinge a stonehouse)...' (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceNY562490
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Copyright Catherine Bancroft. All Rights Reserved
Copyright Catherine Bancroft. All Rights Reserved
Copyright Catherine Bancroft. All Rights Reserved
Copyright Catherine Bancroft. All Rights Reserved
Copyright Catherine Bancroft. All Rights Reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 103 (slight)
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 168 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 96
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 74 no. 1
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth) p. 59

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. 119