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Hole Bastle, Bellingham, Northumberland

Hole Bastle, Bellingham, Northumberland

Hole Bastle stands between Woodburn and Bellingham and is a most interesting example of a fortified farmhouse of a type once common on the Border. In times past the ground floor was used to house livestock and the floor above formed the living quarters of the farmer and his family.

The foundations are of huge boulders and the masonry, some of which may be Roman stone, is bonded with a hot-lime mortar, resulting in a structure of great strength. The vaulted basement was entered by a door in the gable wall which is now built-up but traceable.

A flight of stone steps now leads to the first floor doorway. In earlier days there would have been a ladder here that could have been drawn into the house at night for security.

The farmer would have driven his animals into the basement and barred the door behind him. A trap-door in the vault allowed him access to the living quarters without going outside again and the building was secure.

Small square windows light the first floor interior and there is a huge fireplace in the end wall. Some extra space is provided by the high pitched roof at Hole which allows for a loft. The bastle is in use as a farm building today and is well preserved and cared for.

Location: Northumberland, Bellingham
OS sheet 80 NY GR 867846

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