Whitlees Bastle

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are major building remains

NameWhitlees Bastle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishElsdon

Bastle house now used as store. C16 or early C17; reduced in height and re- roofed C19. Massive random rubble with boulder plinth; Welsh slate roof. c.38 x 20 ft. C18 or early C19 double door to right of centre. To left on ground floor a small square window with chamfered surround and grid of 4 iron bars. Small square blocked window above.

Blocked ground-floor doorway on right return has slightly chamfered alternating- block-surround and lintel with relieving arch over.

Interior: walls c.54 inches thick up to c.7 ft then offest by c.9 inches to support the 1st floor. Blocked gun loop on west wall. Vestiges of 1st floor fireplace at east end. 2 square recesses in west end. (Listed Building Report)

The remains of a strongly built structure originally of two stories now converted into a barn, measures overall 11.5m by 7.4m. The walls are 1.3m thick at ground level, narrowing to 1.1m at first floor level. They are of uncoursed, unbounded stones with massive quoins at the corners. The original entrance, now blocked, is in the east end. The plan of the building and the absence of barrel vaulting suggest the structure to be a defended house rather than a Peel tower. Similar structures have been dated to the Tudor period (F1 ASP 17-MAY-1957)

In south wall is 19th century cart entrance, with small iron-grilled window to west; smaller blocked window above. Gables reduced (in 19th century although side walls seem to remain to their original height. This seems to be a defensible farmhouse with ground-floor accommodation, rather than a true bastle (F3 PFR 06-AUG-199).

A late 16th or early 17th century bastlehouse. Built of large roughly-coursed rubble, with Welsh slate roof. Reduced in height and now used as a store. Large 19th century or early 20th century double door cut through south wall

Original features include the dramatic masonry, one small square window with a chamfered surround and its original grille of iron bars (a very rare feature), and the blocked ground floor doorway under a relieving arch on the gable end. Walls are about 4 feet thick. There is an 18th or 19th century byre attached to left (Grundy 1987). (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 ReferenceNY959926
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  • Ryder, Peter, 2004, 'Towers and bastles in Northumberland National Park' in Frodsham, P., Archaeology in the Northumberland National Park (CBA Research report 136) p. 262-271
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 330
  • 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. 361
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 3349
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 86 No. 38
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 172


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 167


  • Grundy, J., 1987, The Historic Buildings of the Northumberland National Park ELS23