Alton Side Bastles

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameAlton Side Bastles
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHaydon

Pair of bastle houses, C16, altered C18 and C20. Rubble with large roughly-shaped quoins, slate roof, squared stone stack on right gable. Left gable stack rebuilt in brick on old base. Front elevation shows remains of original ground floor door to right of Cl9 boarded door. Other openings C18 and C20. Rear elevation with blocked 1st floor door to east bastle, square-headed with moulded surround, and blocked single-light window in chamfered surround. Wall of west bastle set slightly forward. C20 windows. Range of former farmbuildings adjoining west bastle not of interest. (Listed Building Report)

Extended bastle, 9.3 x 6.4m, with side walls 0.95m thick and end wall 1.15m thick. First floor door positioned in long wall. Second bastle measures 6.3 x 6.1m. Present state - house (Ryder 1990).

Alton Side, remodelled in the 19th century and altered and extended in the 20th century, consists of a pair of bastles. The older western one measures c.3.3m by 6.4m; the phase II extension is c.6.1m square. Both are constructed of the usual coursed rubble with elongate roughly shaped quoins.

The phase I bastle has probably been heightened at some stage. The two ground floor windows in the south wall both occupy earlier door positions, but neither may be original; the eastern has jambs of cut blocks of 18th century character; between them is a blocked slit vent. At first floor level the eastern window replaces an earlier opening, the west jamb of which is visible; between the two windows is a blocked window with a timber lintel, and close to the west end of the wall is a blocked upper doorway, also with a timber lintel. In the north wall are traces of a ground floor door, set more or less centrally; its surviving east jamb is made up of large blocks, and may be original to the building. Above, traces of an earlier jamb can be seen east of the western first floor window

High in the west gable, south of the chimney, is a small blocked window with a surround of large blocks. The south wall of the phase II bastle has a concrete plinth, presumably concealing boulders. Near the west end of the south wall the west jamb of an early doorway (of large blocks) is visible; at first floor level are traces of an earlier opening replaced by the eastern of two windows. The east gable end shows no old features, and has been partly rebuilt in recent years. On the north there is a central blocked doorway with a timber lintel; at first floor level there is a blocked square headed doorway close to the east end of the wall, with an unusually elaborate moulded surround consisting of an edge roll and a hollow. Further west, beyond a sash window with a timber lintel (set directly over the blocked ground floor door) is a small blocked window with a chamfered stone surround.

The interior (not inspected) is said to have no old features, other than wall thicknesses (external walls c.1m, the east end wall of the phase I bastle c.1.2m), and a pronounced batter to the internal wall faces (Ryder 1994-5). (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 ReferenceNY856651
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Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 397


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


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 82
  • Ryder, P.F., 1990, Northumberland Bastles Survey Unpublished p. 6