Ivy Cottage, Ridley

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameIvy Cottage, Ridley
Alternative NamesRidley Bastle
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBardon Mill

Bastle House, late C16 or early C17, altered and extended C20. Heavy rubble, massive quoins, slate roof, stone gable stacks. 2 storeys. Ground floor small square window, C20 door, old slit window. 1st floor 2 large C20 windows with remains of original 1st floor door with massive jambs below the left one. C20 attic dormer. Right return has C20 door and lean-to. Pair of corbels for earlier gable stack above. Left return has central boarded door with massive chamfered jambs and lintel turned on edge showing door check and socket for harr. Pair of corbels for earlier gable stack above.

Interior: cobbled byre floor, original rear slit window visible internally, rough transverse beams carrying 1st floor include an unusual forked timber. 1st floor original window to rear is now an alcove. Attic floor beams include another forked timber. Central heavy principal rafter truss, largely concealed in C20 partition.

Although the exterior is extensively altered, the bastle retains a considerable number of original features. Formerly known as Ivy Cottage. (Listed Building Report)

NY 79336384 Discovered during field investigation: A small, modernised bastle house, comparable with others in the area which are generally ascribed to the 16th/17th centuries (F1 DAD 31-OCT-1956).

Ridley Bastle. Watching brief in October 1992 during internal alterations. Bastle measures 9.65m x 6.55m externally, side walls c.0.83m thick, and end walls c.1.13m thick. north side of building mainly covered by extension of c.1960. 18th/19th century outshut on east end with modern conservatory. Ridley bastle is a typical example of the type found south of the Tyne Gap and Allendale. Despite remodelling c.1960 some original features remain. Unusually thin side walls (although common south of Tyne) and first floor doorway positioned to the left rather than right of centre

Have been stacks at both ends - usually a feature of larger bastle-like buildings, but may not be contemporary with each other. Also surviving is the beamed ceiling to the first floor - few bastles retain structural evidences at this height - and the roof truss. Probably dates c.1600-1650. The watching brief was observed whilst part of the eastern basement wall was removed for a new staircase to be inserted. Removal of plaster revealed a possible blocked recess. Removal of a short wall revealed an original splayed loop 0.66m x 0.47m high (Ryder 1992).

The bastle is a roughly rectangular structure 9.65m by 6.55m externally, with side walls c.0.83m thick and end walls c.1.13m thick. The walls are of large roughly coursed rubble, with roughly shaped quoins and dressings; the present roof is of Welsh slates. The north side of the building is largely covered by an extension of c.1960; there is a single storey outshut addition, perhaps of late 18th or early 19th century date, on the east end, extended south as a modern conservatory. The house stands on rising ground so that the ground level on the north side and at the east end is considerably higher than on the south and west.

BASEMENT: The original byre entrance door is sited in the centre of the west gable; it is a square headed opening with roughly chamfered jambs (each made up of three large blocks) and a lintel which appears to have been turned on its side; what is now the external face shows a raised door check and a circular harr socket. Internally the doorway has a metre deep drawbar tunnel in the south jamb and a short socket opposite.

The basement is lit by a small square window near the west end of the south wall; the skew angle of its jamb suggests that it is an original splayed loop widened, and an original splayed loop at the east end of the same wall; to the west of this loop is a square headed doorway which is clearly a later insertion. In the north wall (now concealed externally by 20th century additions) is a blocked splayed loop (near the centre) and, at the east end, a blocked square window of similar dimensions to that in the south wall and also of 18th or 19th century date in its present form. The basement is now divided by a transverse wall with a central doorway; this is clearly a later insertion, being built directly beneath one of the ceiling beams. These are on average c.0.3m square, and set about 0.4m apart. All are very roughly shaped, and one, just west of the traverse wall, forks close to its north end.

The smaller eastern division of the basement was, until alterations in 1992, sub-divided by a short east-west wall which, together with a modern buttress further south, carried the hearth of the fireplace above. During the alterations an original splayed loop was exposed in the centre of the east wall of the basement, with its lintel formed by a projecting hearth slab.

FIRST FLOOR: At first floor level there has been a doorway in the south wall, set slightly west of centre. The lintel and upper part of the west jamb have been destroyed by a large window of c.1960, replacing a smaller square window which was probably of late 18th or early 19th century date, but may well have been an enlargement of an original opening. The surviving sections of the jambs of the doorway appear to have borne a similar rough chamfer to the basement doorway. Prior to the c.1960 alterations this doorway was blocked, but its internal recess served as a wall cupboard; this too has been erased. To the east of the doorway is a second large window of c.1960, also replacing a smaller 18th or 19th century window of the same type as that to the east. There is another large window of c.1960 in the west gable, set on the north of a shallow internal projection which formerly contained a fireplace. In the north wall are two splayed recesses, probably small windows, now blocked midway through the thickness of the wall; between these is a doorway of c.1960 leading into the extension. The east wall contains two openings set on either side of a fireplace (late 20th century in its present form, but probably incorporating an earlier one); the southern communicates with the adjacent outshut, whist the northern formerly performed a similar function, but in 1992 was altered so as to carry a stairway from the outshut into the basement of the bastle.

The first floor room has a ceiling carried by transverse beams of similar dimensions and character to those in the basement, but rather more widely spaced (0.8m-1m apart); here too there is a beam which bifurcates just short of the north wall.

ATTIC AND ROOF: At attic level the only old internal feature visible is the north end of a roof truss, set more or less centrally; this has a heavy tie beam 0.3m square, carrying a substantial principal rafter, and a common rafter, also morticed and pegged into the tie, on the back of the principal. Architect's drawings made in 1959 show the truss as having a collar at mid-height and carrying two purlins on each roof slope. The exteriors of both gable end walls show a pair of rough corbels, just below the apex; these have carried the external faces of cantilevered stacks, which presumably were served by firehoods at each end of the building. The present end stacks are more recent. The gables have a raised coping formed of large roughly triangular blocks.

DISCUSSION: Ridley bastle is very much a typical example of a bastle of the type found south of the Tyne Gap, and in some numbers in Allendale; despite the unsympathetic remodelling of c.1960 which has drastically affected its external character it retains a surprising number of original features. There are some slightly unusual features - the side walls are relatively thin (although this is quite common south of the Tyne) and the first floor doorway is positioned to the left rather than right of centre, whilst there have been stacks at both, rather than one end of the house. This is usually seen in larger bastle related buildings (such as West Side in Allendale); there is no proof, however, that both of the cantilevered stacks were contemporary, although it would be difficult to place them later than c.1700. Another unusual survival is the beamed ceiling to the first floor (showing that the attic functioned as something more than a storage loft; not many bastles preserve structural evidences at this level) and the surviving roof truss. The heavy scantling of the timbers of the truss (which is very similar to those at Haggburngate, Allendale and the bastle at The Grange, Bardon Mill) suggest that the original roofing material may have been stone slates, which would have afforded some degree of fireproofing (Ryder 1994-5). (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 ReferenceNY793638
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  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 118 (slight)
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  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • 1992-93, Archaeology in Northumberland Vol. 3 p. 15


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 30-2
  • Ryder, P.F., 1992, Ridley Bastle: An Archaeological Account and Watching Brief