The Steel Bastle

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameThe Steel Bastle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAllendale

The Steel is a building circa 70 feet long which, almost unbelievably started life as a bastle-like building, and built, it is claimed, in 1547. Close inspection reveals some masonry, doors and quoins of the type closely associated with bastles. The oldest wals are only about 2.5 feet thick, but perhaps this was considered sufficient in the very early bastle-building days. (PastScape ref. Dodds 1999)

The Steel was restored from being derelict earlier this century and has been considerably extended.

The old part of the house, an east-west range, measures c.21m by 5.5m externally; there is a 19th century wing extending north from the west end, and a 20th century extension forming a cross wing at the east end. The old part of the building is built of heavy rubble with large quoins, although its walls are of no great thickness (0.6m-0.7m). Midway along the south wall is an old doorway with a flattened four centred head, at basement level, and midway along the north wall a first floor doorway (with a recent external stair) with a chamfered round arched head; both doorways have drawbar tunnels in the jambs. At basement level there are two old loops in the north wall, a little to the west of the position of the upper doorway. Only visible internally, the first is blocked and the second has been partly removed by a doorway into the 19th century wing, only its head remaining. Further west is what appears to be an old partition of studs with flagstone infill. To the east of the doorways is an old cross wall with recent fireplaces. Two fairly rough collar beam trusses are exposed in a bedroom at the west end of the house; another collar beam truss reused a cruck blade, of quite good quality, as one of its principals. If the upper doorway on the north is in situ, it would seem that the Steel is a bastle derivative house, perhaps of later 17th century date

Its relatively thin walls and the character of the upper doorway are very reminiscent of Rowantree Stob (NY 85 SW 16).

There are other old features in the house, but these have been imported; the owner in 1984 said that a dozen or more old buildings, in various parts of the country, had been demolished to obtain materials brought to the Steel (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Dodds comment about thinner walls being considered sufficient in the very early bastle-building days is incomprehensible. It is more probably the 1547 date is erroneous or refers to an earlier building on the site or elsewhere.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY834540
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 429


  • 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. 21