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Loaning Head

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Lonning Head; Lane Head

In the civil parish of Alston Moor.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland (Tynedale Liberty).

OS Map Grid Reference: NY747417
Latitude 54.76958° Longitude -2.39500°

Loaning Head has been described as a probable Bastle.

There are uncertain remains.


The village has in its neighbourhood a most characteristic curiosity in one of the few existing specimens of the fortified farmhouse. "Lonning Head" means Lane Head, by which latter name it is now becoming generally known. It stands at the top or head of a steep lane leading up from the south-east corner of the village.
The initial to this chapter gives a slight sketch of the exterior of the building, which is perhaps the best example of the kind, being but slightly altered from its original state. The owners and their cattle were housed under the same roof, a practice for which there was good reason at the date of its construction, as proved in the chronicles of the Border, and the Border practically extended much further south than Garragill, as the annals of Lancashire give proof.
The interior is given as showing best the thickness of the walls, quite three feet, and the windows are contrived. as usual in such structures, so as to present there narrowest front externally. The primitive method of constructing these strongholds without sunk foundations is illustrated here. At the back of the house are seen exposed, the huge undressed stones which, simply placed on the ground, support the upper structure. (Palmer 1882)

This is a bastle altered in the 1980s when converted into a private holiday home. It is uncertain how much of the original bastle remains. (PastScape ref. Perriam and Robinson)

Sometimes two {bastles} or more were grouped together into tiny hamlets, such as Loaning Head (Jessop and Whitfield 2013)

Much altered Bastle house. Originally named Lonning Head.
What do Jessop and Whitfield mean? There are a few buildings at Loaning Head (it seems to be a hamlet by 1859) but only one of these appears to have been a bastle.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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