Low Bishopside Bastle

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameLow Bishopside Bastle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAllendale

Bastle 6.8m x 6m overall, quoins, fabric. 17th century extension had ground floor accommodation, parts of mullioned window and '1657' datestone from this section re-used in later farm building (Ryder 1984).

The ruins of Low Bishopside stand on a spur of land between the East Allen valley and a minor tributary, Bishopside Cleugh. The east part of the ruin is formed by a bastle or bastle type building 6.8m long by 6m wide, with side walls 0.9m thick and end walls 1.3m thick, constructed of roughly coursed rubble with large roughly squared quoins; the surviving eastern gable end has massive triangular shaped coping stones. The only features in the earlier part of the building are a centrally set first floor slit in the east end, a set-back 1.5m above ground level on the internal face of the same wall, and ragged holes for transverse beams in the internal face of the north wall. The west end has been completely removed and only a few footings remain of the south wall.

The western part of the building, 9.5m long by 6m wide with side walls 0.65m thick and a west end of 0.9m, is also of rubble but with less massive quoins. Again, few features remain; there are traces of a firehood against the internal face of the west gable end, with wall cupboards in the adjacent side walls; the sill of a two-light mullioned window lay amongst the tumbled remains of the south wall.

Low Bishop is one of a group of small, almost square, bastles (cf. the earliest phase at Monk (NY 75 NE 6)), which may be of slightly earlier date than the majority; the extension is apparently of later 17th century date, and would appear to have been a conventional ground floor house

The present Bishopside is an 18th century farmhouse; built into an internal wall of one of the adjacent farmbuildings is a stone dated '1667', said to have come from the old house; this would seem likely to date the extension rather than the bastle (Ryder 1994-5).

Bastle and attached building photographed and recorded in 2006. The building is shown in photographs as unroofed in a partially ruinous condition. The standing remains - two long side walls - and gable ends largely survives to gable end roof height, having undergone a number of alterations. Features of note include blocked doorways, and hatches (northwest external elevation), beam sockets (northeast internal elevation), cupboard and window slits (southwestern elevation and external faces respectively), and blockings. The photographs also show the slumping and partial collapse of parts of the building. A set of the photographs and correspondence from the owners is within the parish source file (Kemsey 2006). (Northumberland HER)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY807582
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  • Grint, Julia, 2008, Bastles an introduction to the bastle houses of Northumberland (Hexham: Ergo Press) p. 41-2
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 423
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 118 (slight)


  • 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)


  • Kemsey, P., 2006, Low Bishopside Bastle. Architects Report and Schedule of Conservation Works. Countryside Consultants, 23-July-2006
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 11
  • Ryder, P.F., 1984, Bastles in Allendale. Unpublished