High Shaw Bastle

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameHigh Shaw Bastle
Alternative NamesHighshaw
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHepple

Bastlehouse. C16 or early C17. Massive coursed rubble. Only the ground floor remains. c.40 x 24 ft. c.12 ft. high. Ground-floor doorway in east gable end has chamfered alternating-block surround with relieving arch over. Above the ground floor a chamfered string course - the only bastle to posses this feature. Triangular opening, probably a gun loop, in east end.

Interior: walls c.64 inches thick. Segmental tunnel vault with ladder hole only c.12 inches square. Doorway is rebated and has drawbar holes. In west wall a roughly-made recess with a vertical shaft in the thickness of the wall and a well-dressed triangular opening through the wall, possibly a gun loop (cf exterior). (Listed Building Report)

The bastle at High Shaw survives in a good state of preservation and exhibits a number of unusual features which cannot be paralleled on other known bastles.

The monument includes the remains of a medieval defended farmhouse, or bastle, situated on gently sloping ground above the steep sided slopes of Watty's Sike. The structure, constructed of massive roughly squared stone blocks and surviving to one storey high, is rectangular in plan measuring 11m by 6m within stone walls 1.6m thick. There is a small square-headed doorway into the byre or basement of the bastle through the east wall, and an unusual triangular window in the west wall. Along the top of the walls there is a broad string course, a feature not paralleled on other bastles. There is now no trace of an upper storey, which appears to have been deliberately dismantled. The basement is barrel vaulted and at the northern end displays a ladder hole, giving access to the upper storey. On the inside of the western wall are the remains of wall cupboards and a fireplace, the latter a secondary feature. Also at the western end of the basement there are traces of socket holes where a low loft was constructed. The bastle is a grade II listed building

The western end of the south wall has been breached to provide a modern doorway giving access to a modern lean-to shed. (Scheduling Report)

Remains of a Peel situated upon a south-west slope of moorland pasture at approximately 830 feet above sea-level. 30m to the north-west is a burn in a steep-sided gully which affords some natural defence. The site overlooks open moorland slopes rising to the north west and north east, and commands a valley to the south and south west. The walls, which stand to the sloping offset at first floor level, at approx 3.4m height above ground level, are constructed of well-shaped large stones, packed with smaller rough-fashioned stone. There are massive quoins at the corners, up to 1.2m in length, and the foundations are composed of packed boulders. The Peel is orientated nearly east-west and measures, overall, 12.6m by 7.6m. The basement is barrel vaulted, the roof springing from 1.1m, to a maximum height of 2.5m above ground level. The original entrance in the east end, is constructed of very carefully fashioned stones, and is equipped with bar-holes. Access to an upper floor appears to be by a shute at the west end of the basement, above a little triangular window. There is a modern entrance cut through the south wall. The basement is used to house cattle at the present time. The upper part of the structure is grown over with turf and weeds. The walls are 1.6m thick at ground level (F1 ASP 20-MAY-1957).

Rectangular building 12.6m x 7.65m externally with walls 1.6m thick of large roughly-squared stone, coursed, with some galleting; well-cut angle quoins. The walls stand as high as a chamfered string course; above this the upper stage has been completely removed. Square-headed byre doorway in centre of east wall has chamfered surround and relieving arch above; checks for two doors, with two drawbar tunnels in south jamb of outer and one in north jamb of inner. In west end is central triangular loop, internally opening from back of recess (?fireplace) with flue-like feature above, flanked by stone cupboards. Basement has semicircular barrel vault with ladder hole; sockets for timbers of loft at west end, 20th century doorway on south into adjacent shed. Grassed over foundations of other buildings, apparently in line with the bastle, to the east (F3 PFR 26-JUL-1990).

Highshaw Pele. Stands north west of Raw and across a field from Highshaw. Only vaulted basement remains, measures 30ft east-west x 14ft north-south (Long 1967).

16th or early 17th century, built of random rubble. Only the ground floor remains, c.40ft by 24ft and 12ft high. The ground floor doorway on the east gable is complete. It has a relieving arch over. Above the ground floor there is a chamfered string course, the only surviving bastle to have such a refinement. In the west end a triangular opening, probably a gun loop. The walls are about 64 inches thick. The doorway has deep drawbar holes. The ground floor is tunnel vaulted and the vault pierced by a ladder hole only 12 inches square. The triangular gun loop visible from outside, is most curious inside. It is lined in well-dressed stone and in front of it a roughly-made vertical shaft which seems to communicate with the first floor. Its purpose is unclear (Grundy 1987). (Northumberland HER)

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 ReferenceNY935982
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Copyright Rodney Clark and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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  • Grundy, J., 1987, The Historic Buildings of the Northumberland National Park HEP14