High Row Bastle, Kirkhaugh

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameHigh Row Bastle, Kirkhaugh
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishKnaresdale with Kirkhaugh

High Row is a complex of buildings comprising at its core a bastle, 10m by 6.3m externally, with a bastle derivative house 6.7m long added to its south end, outshuts to the rear of both houses, and farmbuildings at both ends.

The original bastle has side walls 0.95m thick; its front (west) wall has been refaced or rebuilt in neatly coursed stone, in the early 19th century (its front door, now within a modern porch, has a rusticated alternating block surround paralleled in Alston and elsewhere); at ground floor level this wall is still c.0.9m thick, suggesting old masonry has been retained, but it is considerably thinner at first floor level, where it has probably been completely rebuilt. Original quoins, large and roughly shaped, are exposed at the north east corner. The byre entrance to the bastle is set slightly east of centre, in the north end, and is now blocked (and concealed internally by a fireplace); externally it has an arched head of roughly four-centred form, with a continuous chamfer; the convex section of the upper section of its masonry infill suggests that it contains a bread oven within.

The bastle derivative house is of less massive rubble, with walls only 0.65m thick; its upper doorway, on the west, has been converted into a window; it has upright block jambs and a well squared lintel (under a narrow dripstone), both neatly chamfered. This part of the building has had an additional floor, with a small window directly under the eaves; there are also two small second floor windows (now blocked) on either side of the chimney in the south gable, visible from inside the southern barn.

The basement of this section has a doorway set centrally at the south end, which seems to be an insertion from the manner in which it cuts into the corbelled projection carrying the fireplace above

The fireplace, in a single large first floor room (the attic floor has been removed) has a stop chamfered lintel on moulded corbels; the collar-beam roof trusses are of shallow pitch (they are probably of 19th century date) but one has curved principals that look like reused cruck blades.

The outshut looks to be of 18th or early 19th century date; the first edition OS 6 inch map (c.1860) appears to show two separate outshuts with a short gap between. At the north end of the building is a lower and narrower barn of coursed rubble, with a pair of opposed doorways set more or less centrally in the long walls, slit vents and a larger window in the north gable. At the south end is a second barn, of more regularly coursed masonry, the full width and height of the house; in its south end is a round arched opening (a characteristic of the district) and, against the end wall of the house, but within the barn, a stone walled cross passage with a central doorway (now blocked) into the barn, opposite that into the basement of the southern section of the house. Above the eastern doorway of the cross passage is a shallow porch or hood formed by two large, but thin, flagstone slabs, an unusual vernacular detail. South of this cross passage is a pent roofed addition to the southern barn, open at the south end.

The relatively thick walls and early character of the byre doorway probably place the original bastle in the first half of the 17th century; in contrast the southern addition, whilst still having living accommodation above a basement byre, must be at least a century later in date, to judge from the much thinner walls and the mid 18th century character of the upper doorway. The northern barn is probably also of 18th century date, as may be parts of the outshut of the house (or houses; it would appear that the two parts of the house were in separate occupation). The southern barn, with its interesting internal cross passage, is probably of early 19th century date (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY703496
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  • Ryder, Peter, 1996, Bastle Houses in the Northern Pennines (Alston: The North Pennines Heritage Trust) p. 20, 21


  • 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. 2 p. 116-18