Starsley Pele, Kielder Water

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

There are no visible remains

NameStarsley Pele, Kielder Water
Alternative NamesStarslee
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishFalstone

The remains of a small farm with ruined stone buildings now lies submerged beneath Kielder Water reservoir. When it was first recorded it was suggested a ruined small square stone building might be a pele. Further work in the 1970s, before the site was demolished and flooded, showed that the building was larger with several enclosures nearby, and was most probably a small post-medieval farm. The building did not seem to have been built for defensive reasons, with walls only 0.8m to 1.1m thick. (Keys to the Past)

(NY 70168824) Starsley Pele (remains of) (Forestry Comm 6" and antiquity records).

The apparent remains of a small square stone building with associated garths set in dense afforestation. Apart from one angle, the whole is little more than a overgrown mass of rubble, and it is impossible to tell whether or not the building was of defensive type (F1 RWE 13-AUG-70).

NY 70178825 Starsley Remains of a four-roomed stone building with slight traces of enclosures to the north and south. Surveyed by Society of Antiquities, Newcastle Upon Tyne. No dating evidence (Harbottle and Newman 1973).

The dense afforestation surrounding this site has now been cleared revealing a steading, which appears to have been principally a two-roomed building measuring 13.2m by 6.0m with walls now 2.0m high maximum, with smaller, slighter annexes to the west and east. The wall thicknesses vary between 0.8m and 1.1m and although not of modern origin, the building does not appear to have been erected as a defensive structure. No traces of the enclosures to the north and south mentioned by F1 RWE.

This site now falls within the limits of the Kielder Reservoir Scheme (now under construction) due for completion early 1980's and is due for demolition in the near future (F2 SA 30-MAR-77). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Clearly not a gentry status chamber block tower. However, if this building was of late C16 early C17 date it could have been a modest pele-house type bastle (all other farmsteads of that date in this valley are pele-houses). However it may have been a later successor to the nearby Gordon Walls pele-house, a site which it may be confabulated with in some accounts and to which late medieval early modern references to Starsley may well refer.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY701882
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 290
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii, Vol. 2 p. 361
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 160


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Harbottle, B. and Newman, T.G., 1973, 'Excavation and survey on the Starsley Burn, North Tynedale, 1972' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser5) Vol. 1 p. 137-75
  • Dixon, P.W., 1972, 'Shielings and bastles: a reconsideration of some problems' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 50 p. 249-58