Black Middens Bastle lies about 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Bellingham, Northumberland. It is a two-storey fortified stone farmhouse from the 16th century. In times of trouble, which were common on the English-Scottish border. Farmers could hide behind its thick walls. Livestock would be kept downstairs and the farmers' families upstairs.
The ground floor only had narrow ventilation slits and in the eastern gable wall is the original square headed entrance into the byre but this is now blocked with masonry. There are two later doorways in the south wall, which were inserted when the ground floor was divided by a partition wall. Access to the upper floor was originally by ladder, now replaced by external stone steps and the entrance door was secured by a drawbar. The floor of the living quarters, was of stone slabs supported on heavy timber beams and a small hatchway gave internal access to the byre.
In 1583 Black Middens was raided by the Scottish Armstrong family and nearby are the ruins of another bastle and an 18th century farmhouse. The thick walls of roughly squared large stone blocks, laid irregularly, provided first floor living accommodation and ground floor shelter for their livestock. Occupied by middle-rank farmers, clusters of bastles could give support from cross-border reivers.