Knockburn Farmhouse

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameKnockburn Farmhouse
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAllendale

Measures 8.4m x 6m overall, side wall 0.8m. Now a house and much altered (Ryder 1984).

Knockburn is one of a small group of bastles in Allendale which lie low beside a stream. It stands on the west bank of the Knockshield Burn, a little above its junction with the East Allen. The central part of the farmhouse, which was extensively altered c.1980, is a bastle measuring c.8.35m by 6.2m externally, with walls 0.8m-1m thick. Boulder plinth and typical quoining are visible, although the external walls are heavily mortared and whitewashed. All the present openings are relatively modern; rebuilding seems to have removed the north east quoin. There is an outshut, perhaps of 18th century date, running most of the length of the west wall; much more recently the house has been extended into a former farmbuilding adjoining the north end of the bastle. The external face of the south end wall is visible within an adjacent barn, and seems to be of undisturbed masonry, suggesting that the original byre entrance was in the north end. Internally a single ground floor room occupies the whole of the bastle. At its north end is a projecting fireplace, incorporating a bressumer beam and trimmer which must have carried a firehood at one time; the bressumer has been partly cut away but its stub end remains in the east wall. These presumably date to a late 17th century remodelling. The rubble masonry of the internal face of the west wall is exposed, with three blocked features; the smaller, close to the north end, appears to be a small wall cupboard or locker; the other two are either slit vents or small windows and could date either to the original bastle or the first remodelling (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY839508
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 428
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 118 (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' Archaeological Journal Vol. 149 p. 351-79 (listed in appendix)


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 10
  • Ryder, P.F., 1984, Bastles in Allendale. Unpublished