Birks, Greystead

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

There are no visible remains

NameBirks, Greystead
Alternative NamesChirdonbirks
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishGreystead

In C19 a pele tower is said to have stood at Birks. A sketch was made in 1833 when the tower had already been partly demolished and was possibly being used as a shepherd's shelter. However, the present house is entirely C19 and does not seem to have any medieval features and there are no traces of the tower nearby. (Keys to the Past)

This small Pele tower appears to have been partly demolished prior to 1833, and adopted to the use of a dwelling for some shepherd or hind. The remains were sketched by T M Richardson in 1833. No remains now exist (Oral information).

The present house of Birks is 19th century. It contains no structural evidence of a pele and there are no surface indications of one anywhere in the vicinity (F1 ASP 05-JUL-56). (PastScape)

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 and MacLauchlan presumably failed to understand the varied use of the term 'pele'. Given the closeness of Dally Castle the location is more likely to be that of a bastle rather than a gentry status solar tower. The given map reference is for the C19 farmhouse although there is a suggestion on the 1861 six-inch OS map this was built on the site of an older square building.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY780848
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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 356 (possible)
  • 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. 73 online copy