Nine Dargue Bastle, Allendale

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are major building remains

NameNine Dargue Bastle, Allendale
Alternative NamesNine Dargues
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAllendale

Bastle house, late C16 or early C17. Massive rubble with roughly shaped quoins. 2 storeys, 2 bays. Front (south) has external stone stair to off-centre 1st floor door with window to left, largely fallen. Right return has central round- headed door with drawbar tunnel and socket for harr post. Left return shows boulder plinth and central chamfered loop. Rear elevation with one small 1st floor window. Although ruinous the building still displays some interesting features, notably the doorway to the ground floor byre. The name 'Nine Dargue' refers to the amount of land which went with the house, i.e. that which could be tilled in 9 day's work. (Listed Building Report)

A ruin on the east side of Allendale 2 km south of Allendale Town, on the north bank of the small Steel Burn (NY 830540). The name refers to the time taken to work the land attached to the house (Watson 1970, 129-30).

The bastle stands alone (except for slight remains of a thin-walled building, clearly secondary, attached to its east end), and measures c. 9.2 by 6.4m externally, with walls just under 1.0m thick except at the east (entrance) end which is 1.1 m. The byre doorway, set centrally, has a round-arched head cut into a megalithic lintel; there is a continuous narrow chamfer of head and jambs. Internally there are three lintels, two of stone and one of timber, the latter having a circular socket for the head of the harr post. There are two drawbar tunnels, one above the other, in the southern jamb. The basement has splayed slit vents in north, south, and west walls; as at Hope Head there has been a corbelled-out hearth above the vent in the opposite (here west) end wall to the doorway. Close to the west end of the south wall, and only visible externally, is the chamfered jamb of an infilled opening which from its position can hardly relate to the present building, and can only really be explained by its being an in situ remnant of an earlier structure

The majority of the first floor beams remain in situ although now in parlous condition; there have been eight in all, measuring on average 0.20 m wide and 0.15 m deep, supporting a series of neatly cut stone slabs; much lighter timbers, more fillets than joists, covered the interstices of the slabs, but are of too slight scantling to have played any structural role.

Collapse of the upper walls (within the last quarter of a century) has destroyed most of the features of the upper floor. A stone external stair on the south (clearly an addition in that it blocks one of the byre vents) led up to the upper door, in the conventional bastle position. Little of this survivies in situ, but until recently its doorhead, of segmental-arched form, lay at the foot of the wall. There are remains of narrow windows at the west end of the north wall, and in the west wall to the south of the hearth. There appear to have been three principal rafter roof trusses, one set centrally and one close to each end wall; decayed timbers lying amongst the debris allow the truss form to be reconstructed as having a collar, and a roof pitch of c. 45 degrees. (Ryder 1992)

Adjoining the east end of the bastle is a structure measuring 7m long by 6.2m wide. Its north wall is of quite neatly-coursed masonry and stands to about 1.8m high; a gap at its west end (adjacent to the north-east angle of the bastle) may be an original entrance, but is filled with loose stone. The quoins at the east end of the wall are large and fairly well-squared, and quite reminiscent of those of the bastle. The east wall is in poor condition and only stands to about 1m high; towards its south end it has tumbled outwards. The south wall of the enclosure is formed by a single line of much larger blocks of gritstone, a continuation of the wall further east; it lines up with the south-east angle of the bastle, although its eastern section is largely buried in rubble. Adjacent to the outside face of this section of wall is a line of upright slabs which have heeled over to the south, and there is a second similar line about 1m to the south, similarly inclined (left). It is not clear what type of structure these lines of blocks indicate. The western half of the interior of the enclosure is encumbered by fallen stone from the upper part of the east end of the bastle; in its eastern half are remains of a well-constructed paving of large square flagstones. Beyond the east end of this enclosure (followed by a modern wire fence) the south wall, two courses of heavy gritstone blocks, is continued for another 12m and then returns north for about 8m, this section standing three courses high. A tongue of large blocks extending out from the south-eastern angle is probably simply collpased material. The eastward return ends abruptly; there is no sign of a north side to this third part of the range, although the area within is overgrown and footings could be concealed. Nine Dargue is in many ways a very typical bastle, although of unusual interest in that appears to incorporate remains of a still earlier building. The two structures to the east of the bastle remain rather enigmatic. It would appear that the one adjoining the bastle, with its good quality flagged floor, was probably a roofed structure rather than an open yard. Its south wall, now largely gone, seems to be part of a longer wall which continues further east, and is made up of large roughly-shaped or unshaped gritstone blocks (little more than boulders) which give it an archaic appearance. It is possible that this wall (which returns north at its east end) is part of some structure, perhaps a long house, that pre-dates the bastle (Ryder 2006). (Northumberland HER)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY829539
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  • Grint, Julia, 2008, Bastles an introduction to the bastle houses of Northumberland (Hexham: Ergo Press) p. 43-8
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 429
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 119 (slight)
  • Ryder, Peter, 1996, Bastle Houses in the Northern Pennines (Alston: The North Pennines Heritage Trust) (plans and reconstructions)
  • Watson, G., 1970, Goodwife Hot and other places. Northumberland's past as shown in its place names. (Newcastle upon Tyne: Oriel Press) p. 129-30


  • 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 esp 356-7 < >


  • Ryder, P.F., 2006, Nine Dargue, Allendale: the bastle and adjacent structures. Archaeological assessment and survey. Unpublished
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 15
  • Ryder, P.F., 1984, Bastles in Allendale. Unpublished