Donkleywood Bastle

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameDonkleywood Bastle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishFalstone

A pele formerly stood at Donkleywood (MacLauchlan 1867).

According to an indenture of 1684, this tower was in the possession of William Dodd. It stands on the north side of the road through the village (F1 FDC 05-JUL-1956).

NY 74598638. Remains of a strongly built tower formerly of at least two storeys in height, situated upon a slight rise in the centre of the village of Donkleywood, with a commanding view of the valley of the River North Tyne to the west, south and east, and overlooking gently-rising open moorland to the north.

The building measures overall 12.1m east-west, 7.6m north-south and stands to a maximum height of 4.5m at the east end. The walls at ground level are 1.5m - 1.9m in thickness, except the west wall, which appears to have been rebuilt and is 0.7m thick. The north wall is stepped in on the exterior at 1st floor level to a thickness of 0.7m, the east wall, on the interior, to 1.4m thickness, providing support for a floor. There is a ground floor entrance (now blocked) on the south side, an upper floor entrance (remains of) on the north side (F2 ASP 20-JUL-1956).

The remains have been greatly reduced by the construction of a farm building. Extant portion now measures 3m long and averages 3m high (F3 BHP 22-JUL-1970).

A modern farm building has been erected on the north west of this bastle destroying much of it but the west gable is retained in the building and the east gable and foundations of the south wall are still extant (F4 ISS 04-MAY-1977).

Ruined bastle among farmbuildings. Rectangular, 13.3m(?) x 7.65m. Walls of large roughly-squared blocks 1.55m-1.7m thick. East end stands to 2.9m, with internal set-back 1.9m above present ground level; stubs of side walls - remainder of south wall traceable as footings in roadside grass verge. Rubble cleared from interior and some consolidation in late 1980s (F5 PFR 21-JUN-1990).

A late 16th or early 17th century bastle, built of random rubble

Among the farm buildings on the north side of the road, one end of a bastle stands about 6 feet high. The walls are about 5 feet thick and 14-1/2 feet wide. (Grundy Grade III) (Grundy 1987). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Recorded by MacLauchlan in a list of local 'Pele Towers' given to him by an old resident - most of these 'towers' actually were bastles or pele-houses.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY745863
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 288
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 117 (slight)
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 42
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 358
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 91 no.63
  • MacLauchlan, H., 1867, Notes not included in the memoirs already published on Roman roads in Northumberland: taken during a survey made by direction of the Duke of Northumberland (London) p. 73n online copy


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


  • Grundy, J, 1987. The Historic Buildings of the Northumberland National Park, TAR7
  • H. F. Clarke, Essex Arch Soc (Author of The Towers & Fortified Houses of Northum 1905-56. Private work. Unpublished