Today's Object of the Week is the remains of a bastle - one of many former farmhouse dwellings dotted across Northumberland.

ONCE the home of a notorious hardman, today’s object is the ruined remains of a 16th or 17th century bastle.

That’s not a spelling mistake. Bastles were the fortified farmhouses of Border Reiver families, found mostly along the Anglo-Scottish border.

Read more: Who was the ‘Lang Pack’ man who came to a bloody end after his dastardly plot was foiled?

A classic bastle house had extremely thick stone walls, with the ground floor devoted to stable space for valuable animals.

The family’s living quarters were on the first floor, often reachable only by a ladder which was pulled up from the inside at night. The windows were small or even only arrow slits.

They were used as security measures against raids, although a bastle was intended primarily as a family dwelling.

Our bastle – known as Barty’s Pele, Corbie Castle or simple The Comb – is associated with Barty Milburn, also known as Black Barty, or Barty of the Comb. It’s situated at Bog Head, on the Tarset Burn valley in North Tyneside.

The Northern Echo: The remains of Black Barty's bastleThe remains of Black Barty's bastle

The site includes the ruins of Barty’s bastle and the remains of two other nearby buildings – probably one or two larger farmsteads.

The Milburn clansman is best known for killing two Scots who had pursued him after a revenge raid to take back stolen sheep

In the skirmish, Barty was wounded, but his sidekick Corbett Jack was killed. Also known as Hodge Corbett, the remains of his dwelling – Starr Head Bastle at Shilla Hill – lie nearby.

The Northern Echo: The remains of Starr Head Bastle, former dwelling place of Corbett JackThe remains of Starr Head Bastle, former dwelling place of Corbett Jack

One of the Scots was decapitated by Barty who later recalled: his “heid sprang alang the heather like an onion”.

The incident took place at Chattlehope Spout, a waterfall on the Chattlehope Burn in Redesdale between Catcleugh and Oh Me Edge.

The siting of Barty’s dwelling is unusual in that it is at the foot of a steep slope and in a floodplain, where the ground is permanently boggy.

Above the doorway there is a narrow channel cut through the wall, which may have been to pour water through to put out fires lit against the door.

It is now is a Grade II Listed Building and a Scheduled Monument.

Barty’s ruined pad is well worth a visit and is probably best reached by a challenging, but pretty walk.

The Northern Echo: The Tarset Bastle trial includes some stunning sceneryThe Tarset Bastle trial includes some stunning scenery

The trail starts at The Black Middens Bastle, about half an hour north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Little is known of the history of the this well preserved bastle, except that it was attacked by members of the Armstrong family in 1583.

The trail continues along some spectacular scenery, passing the remains of Corbett Jack and Black Barty’s dwellings, before returning along the other bank of the burn.

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