Hayrake Bastles

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are major building remains

NameHayrake Bastles
Alternative NamesHay Rake
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAllendale

There are two bastles at Hayrake, one built onto the end of another. The earliest bastle dates to the late 16th or early 17th century and the second is slightly later. The two parts have identical fabric and wall thicknesses, being about 1.2m thick but the extended part now lies in ruins. There are several typical bastle features, including slit vents, or narrow openings, byre doorway with a massive stone lintel, and first floor doorway. Hayrake may have been the home of Quaker Thomas Williamston, who died in 1690 and is buried nearby. (Keys to the Past)

The old farmhouse at Hayrake is a good example of an extended bastle. It lies at 340m O.D., higher than most in the area, on a spur of land above the confluence of the Sinderhope and Hollocks Burns, commanding a wide view westwards over the main East Allen valley (NY 852524). ln plan the original bastle appears to have measured 7.2 by 6.5m externally, although as the south ah has been rebuilt these may not have been the original dimensions. Built of the usual massive rubble with long and heavy quoins, it has side walls 0.9m thick and the entrance gable end 1.2m. The byre doorway, in the north end, has its shallow triangular head cut into a massive block. A slit vent remains in the east wall of the basement; the floor timbers have been removed. The first floor doorway is in the usual right-of-centre position in the east wall, and is of very similar form to that of the byre; it is set directly above the slit vent below, showing that no permanent external stair was ever envisaged, and has a large socket cut into its sill, possibly to steady the head of the access ladder

The south wall is considerably thinner than the others, and has clearly been rebuilt; there is a blocked doorway set centrally at ground floor level.

Internally the first floor accommodation was originally heated by a large fireplace in the north wall, of which only the chamfered west jamb survives; the remainder of the upper part of the wall has been rebuilt, with the exception of its east end which contains a chamfered doorway opening from the phase 11 extension. The west wall contains a small splayed recess, possibly a blocked window, and a later doorway into the first floor of the outshut. The rebuilt south wall has a pair of small blocked recesses flanking the scar of a firehood, which may have replaced the northern fireplace. The hood flue cuts back into the wail, and at the wail head two internal corbels, which carried the original stack, survive. The roof has a single central principal rafter truss, formerly with a collar.

The phase II extension or second bastle, on the north, is of the same width but 8.0 m long, with almost identical fabric and wall thicknesses. This extension is now ruinous, although most of its north end survives, and enough of the side walls to show two basement loops on the east and a basement loop and a first-floor window on the west. The north end has a central doorway, very like that of the Phase I bastle, with above it two small wall cupboards on the internal face of the wall, with between them a smaller recess or locker. The gable has remains of a pigeon cote, and a coping of heavy triangular blocks or 'spandrel stones'. (Ryder 1992)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY851523
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 427
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 117 (slight)
  • Ryder, Peter, 1996, Bastle Houses in the Northern Pennines (Alston: The North Pennines Heritage Trust) p. 12, 13


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • < >Ryder, P.F., 1992, 'Bastles and bastle-like buildings in Allendale' Archaeology Journal Vol. 149 p. 351-79 esp 357-61 < >


  • Countryside Consultants et al, 2009. A Management Plan for the Conservation and Consolidation of Hayrake Bastle, Sinderhope
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 5-6
  • Ryder, P.F., 1984, Bastles in Allendale. Unpublished