Black Middens Bastle House
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Most bastles had a vaulted stone roof on the ground floor, which could then be used to support the upper chambers. By contrast, Black Middens used a timber ceiling to the ground floor. The house originally had very narrow doors but these have been replaced by wider 18th century openings. The stone stair is also a later addition; the original 16th century defenses would have used only a simple wooden ladder. There are two small window openings giving light to the upper floor. The sheer thickness of the stone walls, which are 1.4 metres wide, gives some idea of how important defense was to the builders of the bastle.
Near the bastle stands the ruin of an 18th century cottage, which was built upon the foundations of a house which probably predated the bastle.
Visiting Black Middens
It is hard to imagine a more remote feeling place than that occupied by Black Middens. Despite the fact that it is only 7 miles from Bellingham, the location feels a million miles from anywhere, and it is hard not to imagine enormous sense of isolation that must have enveloped the inhabitants of the house. There are no facilities to speak of, and to be honest it won't take long to see the whol;e thing, but I'm glad I made the trip; it really brought home to me just how isolated life could be, and how dangerous, along the Scottish border.
About Black Middens Bastle House
Address: Greenhaugh, Northumberland, England, NE48 1NE
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: Open access site. Accessed by way of a narrow minor road north of Greenhaugh village.
Website: Black Middens Bastle House
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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