Highcleughs, Corsenside

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameHighcleughs, Corsenside
Alternative NamesCleughs Burn; Bastle north of Low Leam; Low Leam III
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishCorsenside

NY 873868. Sheepfold has at one corner a few feet of low walling of a thickness and style of masonry suggesting that it is a fragment of a peel (McDowell 1965).

NY 87458688. Incorporated into the modern sheepfold is a fragment of walling of large undressed stones bound with mortar. It is 5.5m long with a maximum height of 2.5m and an average thickness of 1m, and at its north-west end includes some roughly dressed quoin stones. The thickness and style of the walling, supports McDowall's suggestion that it may be the remains of a peel or bastle (F1 DS 06-OCT-1970).

Rectangular building 12.85m x 7.3m with walls 1.3m thick of massive rubble, incorporated in later sheep stell. The north corner stands to 2.5m; footings of south-west end and south-east wall, the latter with a boulder plinth. Grassed over traces of building 30m to south, and of an elongate structure with massive boulders in its walls c.100m (F3 PFR 26-JUN-1990).

A detailed earthwork survey was undertaken to the south-west of Cleughs Burn, including the bastle remains. Surveyed by Archaeological Services, University of Durham, between 1st-11th March 1994. Four enclosures (A-D) were identified:

- Enclosure A: c.290m by 180m, sub-rectangular, formed by a ditch and bank. Long axis north-west/south-east. Contains broad ridge and furrow which runs along the long axis. An internal division overlies the ridge and furrow.

- Enclosure B: 38m by 22m formed by a single bank, maximum height c.1m. Irregular broad rigg is visible within the enclosure.

- Enclosure C: 25m by 10m, incorporated into the south-east corner of enclosure A, and appears to predate it. Rectilinear in shape, formed by a low bank. Entrance in north-east

It may originally have been a house platform later converted into a paddock.

- Enclosure D: lies against the burn, formed by a bank up to 1m high.

The remains of a bastle-type structure have been converted into a sheep stell, with an additional structure on its south-east side. South of this structure are the remains of a bipartite house (House 1) measuring 14m by 4.5m, with a square structure on the north-east, and a trapezoidal enclosure on the south-west. A paved entrance is visible at the north-west corner. The corner foundations are visible and the wall generally survive as low ridges. The walls, where visible are dressed stonework and suggest a relatively recent date. The attached enclosure may have been a paddock or kitchen garden. House 2 lies south-east of House 1, and measures 19m x 6m. More substantial than House 1, with thicker foundations. Probably earlier than House 1. An enclosure on the east end may have been a paddock. A circular structure on the north-east bank of the burn is probably an oven or drying kiln. It is sunken and lined with stone. The settlement suggest a medieval and post-medieval farmstead, with paddocks, garden and fields. The possibility remains that some features could be associated with earlier occupation remains nearby, eg Habitancum. Further areas of broad rigg exist outside enclosure A. It is possible enclosure A pre-dates the broad ridge and furrow (Archaeological Services University of Durham, 1994). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Marked Highcleughs on 1866 OS map. There may be some confabulation in some writers between this site and Low Cleughs.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY874868
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Carlton, Richard and Rushworth, Alan, 2004, 'Low Cleughs A bastle in its landscape' in Frodsham, P., Archaeology in the Northumberland National Park (CBA Research report 136) p. 295-305 (mention as probable bastle)


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)


  • Archaeological Services University of Durham, 1994. Low Cleughs Burn, near West Woodburn, Tynedale, archaeological survey
  • McDowell, R.W., 1965, Peels and Bastles of Northumberland Typescript RCHME