Birkshaw House Bastle

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are major building remains

NameBirkshaw House Bastle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBardon Mill

Bastle House, now outbuilding, late C16 or early C17. Rubble with large quoins, and stone dressings; gables with reverse stepped coping, but C20 asbestos roof. 2 storeys, 2 bays, irregular openings; ground floor small window, stable door with timber lintel, 1st floor small window, boarded doorway with chamfered surround, 6-pane fixed window. Right return has original slit cut obliquely through wall. Rear elevation, built into hillside, has C20 garage door inserted.

Interior: original transverse beams carry floor, 1st floor has traces of firehood against east gable. Central principal rafter truss with heavy chamfered tie-beam and single level of large purlins. (Listed Building Report)

Birkshaw House bastle, built into a steeply sloping hillside, was used as the farmhouse until the present house was built in 1895, a few metres to the south. An attached range of farmbuildings has been removed. In plan the bastle is a parallelogram, c.9.7m by 6.5m externally, with walls of heavy rubble between 0.95m and 1.2m thick; some large squared stones in the west gable may be reused Roman material. The basement has its byre doorway, now a window, set centrally in the west end; it has chamfered jambs and an apparently contemporary unchamfered lintel. A small window on the south is probably an enlarged slit; there is an inserted doorway on the south, and an original slit in the east end. There are some old ceiling beams, mostly replaced towards the west end. The first floor retains the original upper doorway on the south which has a chamfered surround; there is no sign of there ever having been an external stair. Both ground and first floor doorways have internal timber lintels with harr sockets and adjacent cut-outs, presumably for the assembly of the door (as at Maple Lodge and Millhouse Grange)

On either side of the first floor doorway are windows, which are probably original ones enlarged; both have some cut stones in their jambs, possibly reused from original narrower openings. There are no openings in the gable ends; the only feature in the north wall is a recent opening with double doors. The gable ends have raised copings with triangular spandrel stones. The interior of the first floor is now plastered and whitewashed; there are traces of a firehood on the east wall, with two corbels for the stack at the top. The roof has a central principal rafter truss, with a diagonally set ridge and one heavy purlin on each roof slope. The stone slates were removed some years ago and replaced by asbestos. This is one of the better preserved bastles in the area, and of fairly standard type (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

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
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY776657
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  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 26