Bastles

Reiving, the cross-border raiding and internecine warfare that lasted intermittently for about 300 years from AD 1300, has left few archaeological traces, but the protective measures taken by local inhabitants can still be seen. The most obvious of these are the bastles. Most surviving examples date from around the sixteenth century; they are robust, two-storey stone buildings whose thick walls protected stock at ground level with the first floor, accessed only by ladder, used for housing people. With their robust walls and few windows, and perhaps surrounded by a substantial stone wall (a barmkin), they offered a reasonably secure defence against raiding parties for whom speed was of the essence and who did not want a lengthy siege.

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