West End Town Bastle

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWest End Town Bastle
Alternative NamesWest Town Farm; Westend Town
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBardon Mill

NY 778654 A derelict building at Westend Town, 24 x 34 feet with walls 3-1/2 feet thick. There is an attic storey partly in the roof. The south front is generally symmetrical and has a defaced 18th century date over the doorway to the lower floor. Above and off centre is an older doorway, now blocked, with a semicircular head (Ramm et al 1970)

The old farmhouse at West End Town is now a ruin. It adjoins the east end of a range of 19th century farm buildings to the east of the present farmhouse. The building is constructed of roughly coursed rubble, ranging in size from very large irregular blocks in the lower walls, to quite small rubble higher up. There is a prominent boulder plinth and the angle quoins are large and roughly squared. The main body of the building measures c.10.7m by 7.2m externally, with walls 1.1m-1.2m thick except for the east end, which is 1.5m thick; at first floor level the side walls have an internal set-back of c.0.2m-0.25m. At the rear (north) of the house is a full length single storey outshut 3m wide, with walls c.0.65m thick of coursed rubble with cut dressings.

The south front of the house has a ground floor doorway set slightly west of centre, with a slightly raised stone surround and a narrow chamfer. The lintel, now fractured, bears the remains of an incised inscription: R m M A 1 7 - 7. Above and to the west of this doorway is a blocked first floor door with its roughly segmental head cut into a massive lintel; each jamb is made up of three large blocks and there is a continuous chamfer. There are two windows to each floor, the upper with timber lintels; the only one to retain any woodwork (first floor west) has remains of a 16-pane sash. To the east of the first floor eastern window, just below the eaves, are what appear to be a series of pigeon holes.

The east end of the house has a blocked attic window to the south of the stack; this has its square head and jambs cut from a single large block

In the rear (north wall) of the main block are a pair of doorways, the western blocked, and a broader first floor opening above; to the west of this is a blocked window (its dressings removed). The outshut is ruinous; towards each end of its north wall is a blocked window with lintel, sill and jambs each made up of a single stone. Near the centre has been a doorway, now fallen; this had rebated jambs, a continuous narrow chamfer and a segmental arched head. The section of wall west of the doorway has largely fallen, but seems to have contained another window.

The interior of the main body of the house no longer shows any evidence of internal partitions or a stair position. In the centre of the east wall has been a broad fireplace, now collapsed. At the opposite end is a smaller fireplace with a chamfered basket arched lintel. The south door had its jambs cut straight through the wall, unlike the windows in the same wall which are splayed internally. The first floor has been carried on a series of transverse beams c.0.15m wide and 0.18m deep.

At first floor level the east wall has a blocked fireplace c.2.9m wide, with a chamfered timber lintel. A smaller fireplace with a chamfered stone surround has been inserted at its south end. The west wall has a fireplace with a corbelled out lintel and a moulded surround. South of this are two vertical joints; it is not clear whether they relate to the insertion of a chimney flue, or to a blocked opening in the wall (its other face within the later farm buildings is not accessible). Above, at attic level, are two further joints, displaced a little to the north of those below. One tie beam is the only in situ remnant of the roof structure; fallen principals indicate that the trusses each had a substantial collar at mid-height.

The original house has clearly been a bastle, of which there are a number of other examples in the area. Surviving features from this phase, apart from the walling of the main block, are the blocked first floor doorway and fireplace, and the attic window in the east gable. Most bastles in this area have their ground floor doorway set in one gable end, but here the present ground floor doorway would seem to be in the original position, slightly offset from that above. The internal jambs of the ground floor door, cut straight through the wall are very similar to those of the doorway above.

The bastle is presumably a building of late 16th or early 17th century date. Inside, the moulded first floor fireplace in the west gable looks to be a late 17th or early 18th century feature. The bastle was remodelled as a more conventional two storey house later in the 18th century; the 'RM' of the doorhead inscription is said to refer to a Robert Mallender, and the accompanying partly legible date looks as if it could be either 1757 or 1787. The rear outshut may well be an addition of the same date.

The building has been disused for at least 30 years. The front wall is bulging and final collapse cannot be far off (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Ryder's report, now 20 years old, seems to be last significant report of this building which now appears, on the Google air photo, to be a roofless ruin. However, a building called 'The Bastle House' (which may or may not be the same building) in Westend Town was sold in November 2013.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY780654
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 394
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 120 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 94 no. 77


  • 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. 32-4