Low Leam Farm Bastle, Corsenside

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are major building remains

NameLow Leam Farm Bastle, Corsenside
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishCorsenside

NY 87638615 Incorporated in the farm buildings at Low Leam is a building of similar dimensions and characteristics to the 16th/early 17th century bastle or pele house situated 600m to the NNE.

The building is rectangular 10.6m x 6.9m, of two stories, with walls 1.1m to 1.3m thick of undressed stones, some very large, with roughly squared quoins. On the ground floor at the west end is an original square headed door with chamfered surround, two sets of drawbar holes, and large pivot holes in lintel and threshold. All other doors and windows are later insertions. Corbelling at the east and west ends helps support the wooden floor. Local tradition is that the building was a 'pale'. It is in good condition and is now used as a cattle byre and grain store (F1 EG 06-APR-1956).

Bastle incorporated in farmbuildings at Low Leam. Rectangular building 10.6m x 6.8m externally with walls 1.2m thick of massive rubble. Byre doorway in centre of west end has square head, rounded arris to jambs and lintel, relieving arch over, two drawbar tunnels and harr socket. Later doorways in east end and north wall; blocked slit on south. In south wall at first floor level, only visible from adjacent farmbuildings, are blocked chamfered doorway, small window and inscribed stone (damaged, probably reset) with initials 'M C' (or G) and date (?) '1602'. Interior: basement has corbelled out course on side walls to carry first floor timbers and heavier corbelling for hearth at west end. At first floor level blocked cupboard(?) in centre west end wall. Walls heightened in 19th century; modern roof. 19th century farmbuildings adjoin to north and south (F4 PFR 26-JUN-1990).

Bastle at Low Leam Farm. Scheduled on 31st March 1994, national monument number 25035. The bastle, a defended medieval farmhouse, is situated among farm buildings 12m to the north of the present farmhouse

The structure, composed of blocks of roughly squared stone, and surviving in original form to eaves level, is roughly rectangular in plan, measuring 9.4m by 5.6m within stone walls 1.2m thick. The basement, or byre, was entered through a doorway in the west gable; this is square headed and displays a relieving arch over the lintel and two draw bar tunnels. The doorways in the east and north walls are later additions. There is an original slit window in the south wall of the byre which has been blocked at a later date. The top stone course of the byre projects outwards in order to carry the heavy timbers which supported the upper storey. The upper storey was used as the main living area of the farm and access was gained through a door placed in the south wall, now blocked and only visible from a later farm building built against the south wall; also visible is a blocked slit window and an inscribed stone carrying the initials 'M C' and a date thought to read '1602'. The walls of the bastle were raised in the 19th century and it has a modern roof. The bastle at Low Leam Farm survives in a very good state of preservation and is a good example of its type (Scheduling Report). (Northumberland HER)

Farmbuildings incorporating a bastle house. C16 and C18. Random rubble with Welsh slate roof. One 2-storey range with C18 store and granary on left and bastle on right. Bastle is c 35 ft by 23 ft with walls 4 ft thick. Original ground floor doorway on short wall to rear has massive lintel under relieving arch, rebates and holes for drawbars and harr-hung door. Old wood lintels within. Similar but later door on opposite end. Blocked original upper door with chamfered surround on left return. Later door and stone outside stair on same side. Interior has original beams on ground floor. Attached to left is C18 store and granary. Door with alternating jambs and ½- slatted window. (Listed Building Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceNY876861
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  • Carlton, Richard and Rushworth, Alan, 2004, 'Low Cleughs A bastle in its landscape' in Frodsham, P., Archaeology in the Northumberland National Park (CBA Research report 136) p. 295-305 (mention)
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 320
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 118 (slight)
  • Pevsner, N., 1992 (revised by Grundy, John et al), Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 632
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 357
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 230
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 84 No. 35


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Graham, A., 1945-6, 'Notes on Some Northumbrian 'Peles' Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Vol. 80 p. 37-43 online copy