Bradley Hall Bastle

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are masonry footings remains

NameBradley Hall Bastle
Alternative NamesBraydley
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHenshaw

The house and adjacent outbuilding form a rectangular block, 17.9m x c.7m. There are some megalithic squared quoins at the south west corner, and the W wall is 1.4m thick. The south wall, of coursed squared rubble (re-used Roman material) is 0.90m thick, but all its architectural features are late 18th century/early 19th century. House empty at time of survey, may merit full survey (Ryder, P F 16-JUL-90 Field Investigation).

Stands on south side of the Military Road (B6318) on west bank of narrow valley of the burn which flows from Crag Lough to join Brackies Burn at Chesterholm. Unclear how much pre-18th century fabric survives. Remnants probably represent a bastle house or possibly a pair of bastles built end-to-end. Alternatively there could be elements of a medieval structure present, known Richard I {sic} stayed at Bradley 6th and 7th September 1306 (Ryder 1990).

Situated on the W bank of Bradley Burn, c.200m south of the Military Road. Noted in the 1541 survey, 'at Braydley ys a stone house of the inherytaunce of Nycolas Carrow and lyeth waste and unplenyshed'.

The present farmhouse and adjoining outbuilding retain substantial remains of a medieval or sub-medieval defensible building. The outbuilding was being converted to domestic accommodation at time of survey. The whole structure measures 18m x 7.2m externally, with a later outshut on the north. The walls consist of large, roughly-coursed squared stones (probably re-used Roman material) and vary in thickness from 1.35m at the west end, 0.9m-1m for the long wall, to 0.65m at the east end.

The angle quoins survive in their original state to a height of around two-thirds of the present wall height, the masonry above is clearly later. The door and window openings on the south face (front) of the house relate to two separate building phases. The remains of three openings which predate the present ones are visible

The outshut to the north may contain earlier fabric.

The interior of the house has been remodelled in the 20th century and no features of interest are visible. In the west outbuilding two features have been exposed at first floor level during the course of alterations. One, a small wall cupboard or locker, was constructed in the thickness of the wall and is of a type common in bastle houses of the 16th and 17th centuries. The second feature was probably a window and comprises a splayed recess. Dating relies on the character of the building and the thickness of the walls, placing it c.1600 or earlier. Its large dimensions distinguish it from other bastles in the area. The shell of the present house is probably that of the 'stone house' mentioned in 1541. The remains of a chamfered doorway west of the present front door also probably dates to the 16th or early 17th century (Ryder 1991)

Bradley Hall, early 19th century, built of coursed stone with Welsh slate roof. House with carriage house and granary all under one roof. Two-storey, three-bay house with original six-panel door, 20th century casements on the ground floor in original openings, and small 16-pane sashes above. The carriage house has boarded double doors and a pitching door above. (Grundy Grade IV) (Grundy 1987). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

A survey of 1541 mentions a stonehouse at Bradley. There are other bastles and possible bastle sites in the area but on the bases of status and early date (ruinous in 1541) this is arguably the most likely location for that house. There do not appear to sufficient enough remains to have any certainty of the form of the C16 'stonehouse'. Indeed the fact it is recorded as ruinous in 1541 may suggest it was an old building by that time and therefore predate the period of bastle buildings (and therefore a stone building of some other form ? hall house) however it may have been a new building recently damaged by a raid or through accident. Neither of these would exclude a post 1541 rebuilding as a more typical bastle (or range of bastles) as suggested by Ryder. Although this does appear to have the site of a house of some status (?manorial) in the C14, when Edward I stayed here, its later history seems to be that of a farmstead leased from the manor of Thorngrafton and Ridley. King and Dodds mention one bastle and presume it was either at Bradley Hall or Bradley Hall Farm. See also Bradley Greenbyre, where there is a bastle, and Bradley Hall Far.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY777674
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Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 374
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 46
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii, Vol. 2 p. 346
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 82
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 74
  • Hodgson, J., 1840, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 3 p. 326n, 329n online copy


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Dixon, P.W., 1972, 'Shielings and bastles: a reconsideration of some problems' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 50 p. 249-58

Primary Sources


  • Ryder, P.F., 1991, Bradley Hall, Henshaw, Northumberland
  • Ryder, P.F., 1990, Bastles and Towers in the Northumberland National Park (Report for Northumberland National Park Authority) p. 25
  • Grundy, J., 1987, The Historic Buildings of the Northumberland National Park HEN1