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Whitley Castle Bastle 1, Kirkhaugh

In the civil parish of Knaresdale with Kirkhaugh.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY69464863
Latitude 54.83161° Longitude -2.47679°

Whitley Castle Bastle 1, Kirkhaugh has been described as a probable Bastle.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


There is evidence for three post-Roman buildings within the walls of the fort. Two of these, similar in outline and probably in date, lie within the retentura, close by and roughly parallel with the south western rampart.
The southern of these two buildings is marked by a well-defined robbing trench around the line of its foundations, 1m or more in width, which indicates a structure some 16 m in length and 6.5m wide. A square pit-like extension to this trench suggests a small but strongly-built extension at its southern end - perhaps the foundations of a flight of steps to a first floor entrance - and a small angular projection indicates a second lesser addition, or perhaps a connecting yard wall, on the western side. In terms of overall size, and the evident thickness of the wall, this building can be identified as a bastle, or bastle-like house: a stout, defendable dwelling, with living quarters above and byre below, of a type that first became widespread throughout the Borders during the turbulent years of the later 16th and early 17th centuries and persisted into the later 17th century.
The bastle appears to have been deliberately located on the northern end of the southern barrack block, possibly in order to utilise the earlier foundations, or maybe to benefit from the drainage afforded by this slightly raised platform. The southern end of the building is surrounded by an irregular-shaped sunken yard, and other worn areas, perhaps stock pens, extending across the southern corner of the fort interior and scalloped into the rampart behind the fort wall to the west. To the east a further sunken yard mirrors the dimensions of the bastle, and is marked by robbing trenches on the northern side which may indicate that it was formerly surrounded by a wall, although this impression might equally have resulted from chasing out earlier barrack foundations, a process which is much in evidence across the whole area. One small rectangular area of raised and level ground stands out amidst all this disturbance immediately to the south-east of the bastle. This might be the platform of another, less substantial building, or, given the absence of convincing geophysical evidence for such, a contemporary yard or garden plot (garth). Access to this corner of the fort, which seems to have effectively served as the bastle garth, may have been reintroduced through a notch worn through the area of the closed south-west gate, and by the well-defined route which skirts the collapsed southern corner tower before entering on a ramped track through the south-eastern wall. (Went and Ainsworth)

See records for Whitley Castle Bastle 2; Whitlow bastles 1, 2 and 3 and Holymire Bastle
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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