Low Swinhope Shield bastles

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameLow Swinhope Shield bastles
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAllendale

Low Swinhope Shield 1: ruinous, 8.7m x 6.3m overall, side wall 0.95m thick, end wall 1.1m thick. Low Swinhope Shield 2: now a farmhouse and much altered, side wall 0.95m thick (Ryder 1984).

Low Swinhope Shield is situated low on the west bank of the East Allen. When visited in 1984 (see above) the three bay two storey farmhouse was clearly an addition to an older building at its south end, which lay as a roofless ruin.

The southern building (Low Swinhope Shield I) measured c.8.7m by 6.3m; the northern (Low Swinhope Shield II) c.8.25m by 6m; both had walls of massive rubble c.0.95m thick, except for the front (east) wall of Low Swinhope Shield II which has been rebuilt and is only c.0.6m thick. Low Swinhope Shield I had a blocked doorway in the centre of its north gable (only its internal face was visible), a later doorway at the end of its east wall, to the north of the remains of an external stair. There were traces of a first floor fireplace at the north end, with corbels above to carry a chimney stack. Low Swinhope Shield has been heavily altered, perhaps in the late 17th or 18th century; the central doorway and windows on the east front seem to have had chamfered surrounds, with the chamfers later cut away; a fireplace at the north end of the ground floor room, with a corbelled lintel, may date to the same period, as may the rear outshut (which had a door at its north end formerly giving access directly into an adjacent barn). In the 19th century an additional bay was built on to the north end of the house. Since 1984 Low Swinhope Shield has been virtually entirely rebuilt as 'Isaac's Cottage'; the north end wall, with its distinctive long quoins, survives. The front elevation of Low Swinhope Shield II is heavily mortared, and its original northern quoins only just discernible; the only evident bastle feature in this part of the building is the thickness of the west wall, now internal (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY846493
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 426
  • 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)


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 12
  • Ryder, P.F., 1984, The Bastles of Allendale. Unpublished