The Riding Farmhouse bastle, Bellingham

Has been described as a Certain Bastle, and also as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameThe Riding Farmhouse bastle, Bellingham
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBellingham

House, formerly bastle house. Late C16 or early C17. Extended and altered C18 and early C19. Window sashes and doors and porch C20. Random rubble with massive quoins. Stone slate roof to bastle, Welsh slate to rear extension. Double-span roof. 2 storeys, 3 bays. Front span left 2 bays represent bastle. End walls of bastle 4½ ft thick, side walls slightly thinner. Original ground floor entrance now blocked on left return but visible in fireplace inside. Probably early C18 doorway with rounded jambs now in front wall. Blocked upper door directly above. One later window left of door and 2 on 1st floor. Slightly recessed C18 right bay. To rear mainly late C19 or C20 sashes but one 16-pane sash. Gabled roofs with 2 rebuilt brick gable stacks.

Inside has large C17 or early C18 fireplace with old bressumer. (Listed Building Report)

(NY 82608413) An old Pele tower has been converted into a portion of the farmhouse 'The Riding'. It still retains many of its old features (Clarke 1956).

The remains of an ancient building are contained within the fabric of the modern farmhouse. Overall measurements of the remains are 11.2m x 5.4m, they stand to an approximate height of 9m and the walling has a thickness of 1.4m. There are no dateable architectural features to be seen, all windows and doors being modern insertions, and the roof being tiled, there is no evidence of ground floor vaulting or of an outer staircase to the upper floor - as might be expected if the building were a Pele tower as affirmed by Clarke. The dimensions of the remains indicate the probability that it is a 'strong-house' of the 16th/17th centuries, of which there are many examples in the neighbourhood. The present owner has no knowledge of the history of the building (F1 FDC 11-JUL-1956).

NY 825842 Bastle, modernised and enlarged as a farmhouse. Original building 36-1/2 X 19-1/2 feet with walls 4-1/2 ft

thick (Ramm et al 1970)

Bastle c.11m x 6.4m, with later additions. Walls of massive rubble, with galleting; side walls 1.2-1.3m thick. South door (inside 20th century porch) has rounded arris to head and jambs; may be original first floor door moved down wall. Other features of house all 19th century except old fireplace in ground floor west room; this has a roughly chamfered bressumer. Late 18th/19th century additions to north and east. Farmbuildings also 19th century (F3 PFR 20-Jun-1990).

The Riding is situated on the north side of the River North Tyne at the foot of the steepest part of the valley side. The oldest part of the farmhouse is a bastle house, about 11m by 6.4m externally, with late 18th and early 19th century extensions to the east and north. The bastle is constructed of massive rubble with some galleting, somewhat obscured by heavy pointing; the front wall is 1.17m thick and the rear wall 1.3m. The south elevation is of two bays; the present windows are 19th century sashes, but the doorway in the east bay (within a 20th century porch) is a square-headed opening with a heavy and irregular block surround, with a slight rounding to the arris of jambs and lintel. The form of the doorway suggests it may be an original bastle-period feature; a disturbance in the masonry on either side of the first floor window above the porch suggests that this may have been the original site of the doorway. No other early features are visible; the western ground floor room has a large fireplace recess spanned by an old bressumer, but all its stonework is concealed by modern plaster (Ryder 1990). (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 ReferenceNY826841
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 286
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 120 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 356
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 84 no. 30


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)


  • Ryder, P.F., 1990, Bastles and Towers in the Northumberland National Park (Report for Northumberland National Park Authority) p. 9
  • H F Clarke Esq 5.7.56 Essex Arch Soc (Author of The Towns & Fortified Houses of Northum 1905-1956. Private work unpublished)