Ash Cleugh Farmhouse, Hartleyburn

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameAsh Cleugh Farmhouse, Hartleyburn
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHartleyburn

Farmhouse dates back to the late C16 or early C17 when it was probably a bastle. Although the building is now in ruins, there are still a few original features. These include the east wall which is over 1m thick, the square-headed byre doorway and a possible narrow window known as a loop. The bastle was probably altered and added to in the later C17 as well as in C19. By then the building had become a rather superior farmhouse in Tudor style. (Keys to the Past)

Probably bastle house, late C16 or early C17, remodelled later C17 and again in second quarter of C19. Rubble with dressings, stone slate roof. 2 storeys, 3 bays. Central boarded door with overlight in moulded Tudor-arched surround with hoodmould, flanked by tall 3-light mullioned windows with hoodmoulds (some mullions removed). At 1st floor level 2-light windows flank a single light, in similar style. Each window is accompanied by a small rectangular chamfered opening, to right or left of the window head. Some of the stone dressings (hoodmoulds, window sills, doorhead etc) appear to be genuine C17 work re-set on C19 remodelling of the facade. Coped gables. Left return has C17 large projecting stepped stack carrying C19 corniced stone chimney. Right return has blocked bastle door, square-headed with heavy dressings. C19 corniced stone stack on gable above earlier corbels. Outshut to rear has boarded door in stop-chamfered surround and windows similar to front. Interior; C18 ground-floor fireplace with chamfered surround set within C17 predecessor with segmental arch partly cut away. Stone stair in outshut. 2 principal-rafter roof trusses with collars. Used as barn at time of survey. (Listed Building Report)

Solitary form bastle, side walls 0.8m thick and end wall 0.95m thick. Byre entrance in gable end (Ryder 1990).

Ash Cleugh is a remotely sited farm. Some of the farm buildings remain in use but the farmhouse is in a ruinous and fast deteriorating condition

The main body of the farmhouse, 11.9m by 6.55m externally, is a remodelled bastle, constructed of coursed rubble with large roughly shaped quoins; the front wall (probably rebuilt) is only 0.6m thick, the east part of the rear wall 0.9m and the west part (probably thinned) 0.7m, the west wall 0.8m and the east wall 1.1m in thickness. The square headed byre doorway of the bastle, with heavy irregular dressings, is now blocked, and is set in the centre of the east end. Above can be seen possible remains of a loop (obscured by heavy pointing) and some of the large triangular stones of the original gable coping, before the house was considerably heightened in the 19th century. The opposite (west) end has a massive projecting multi-stepped stack, now breaking away from the building and on the verge of collapse. The lower portion of this is of some age, but the upper section, and the ashlar stack, 19th century. No other features are clearly of the bastle period, but the 19th century openings of the south wall (a central doorway flanked by three- light mullioned windows, with above a single-light window flanked by two of two-lights) seem to reuse some older dressings, such as hoodmoulds, sills, and possibly the flat pointed head of the front door. Inside, the southern jamb of an older fireplace can be seen alongside its plain 19th century successor in the western ground floor room; this has a wave moulded section (similar to that of the surround of the front door) and the curve of an arched head, apparently later replaced by a timber lintel, the sawn off stub of which remains. Most of the windows in the front elevation, and one in the rear outshut, are accompanied by small square openings in chamfered surrounds, set to one side or other of their heads; these are clearly of 19th century date and their function must have been as ventilators (they are closed by small doors on the inside). The rear outshut of the house, containing a stone stair, looks to be of early 19th century date. Heavy footings, overbuilt by the east wall of the farm building range west of the house, suggest another 'early' structure more or less in line with the bastle.

It seems most likely that Ash Cleugh originated as a conventional bastle, remodelled as a ground floor house, with the addition of the western stack, perhaps in the later 17th century (the manner in which the stack is today breaking away from the wall hints that it is secondary). Alternatively, the house may have had ground floor accommodation from the first, but have had its doorway set bastle style in the end gable. A second remodelling took place in the early or mid 19th century, resulting in a rather superior farmhouse in an 'Estate Tudor' style, now decayed (Ryder 1994-5).

The farmhouse was occupied until the 1950s and then abandoned. In 1986 the front wall of the house fell in. A watching brief and building assessment was carried out between 2007-10 during renovation works. Worked stone retrieved during restoration works hint at a previously unsuspected 18th century phase when there was some architectural detail of unusual sophistication, including modillion cornice and stone frieze. The present character of the house is the result of extensive remodelling between 1850-75. The watching brief recorded the internal and external faces of parts of the house and roof. Some 2.80m in front of the front door, excavations for service trenches revealed a former garden gate threshold and part of a monolithic gate pier (Ryder 2000). (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
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY648612
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  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)


  • Ryder, P., 2010, Ash Cleugh Farmhouse, Hartleyburn, Northumberland: historical and archaeological assessment/archaeological watching brief 2009/2010
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 81
  • Ryder, P.F., 1990, Bastles and Towers in the Northumberland National Park (Report for Northumberland National Park Authority) p. 6