Dale House and Dale Cottage, Humshaugh

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are major building remains

NameDale House and Dale Cottage, Humshaugh
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHumshaugh

Pair of houses, dated 1664 with initials TD ND on lintel; altered late C19; and later C20. Rubble with large roughly-shaped quoins, cut dressings; Welsh slate roof. South elevation 3 wide bays. Doorways between bays: left door boarded, in moulded surround with flat-pointed head and dated lintel, in later rustic wood porch; right door C20 glazed, in chamfered surround of large irregular blocks. 3-light chamfered mullioned windows, some renewed, in left bays, hold small-paned metal casements. Right bay partly rebuilt, with C20 fenestration. Low stone end stacks. Left return shows 2 C19 2-light mullioned windows. C20 extensions to rear not of interest. (Listed Building Report)

Dale House is the larger of the pair and forms the western part of the block. It is constructed of sandstone rubble with roughly cut quoins; the quoins forming the lower part of the south east corner are very large and of bastle character, but a change at the level of the first floor windows shows that the wall has been heightened at some time. Externally the south wall of the House is of two bays, with a doorway set rather east of centre; this has a flat-pointed head within a wave moulded square frame and the incised inscription 'TD MD 1667'. This is quite worn and the last figure might possibly be an '8'. The western bay has a four-light mullioned window on the ground floor and a three-light above, each in a recessed chamfered surround. The eastern bay has a three-light window of the same type on each floor, but both of these are of more recent stone and must be 19th century or early 20th century work. At the rear of the House is an added outshut.

Internally, the ground floor of the House is now a single room, with a 19th century stair (formerly enclosed) in line with the front door; the first floor timbers have mostly been replaced, although one heavy old beam survives, with its ends exposed in the external faces of both walls (that at the rear within the added outshut)

At the west end of the ground floor is a fireplace with a corbelled out flat pointed head within a square frame; the frame carries quite a complex moulding, with a single large dog-tooth ornament at the foot of each jamb. At the east end of the room is an inserted chimney stack, with the internal jamb of a blocked door (having a timber lintel) visible immediately to the south of it. The walls of the House are c.0.72m thick except for that at the east end (between the House and the Cottage) which would seem to be over a metre thick. Dale Cottage comprises a single broad bay. Its south wall is built of roughly coursed squared stone (the upper part is of similar fabric, but clearly a later addition), but its east end is of much larger roughly coursed blocks with heavy quoining. The front door is at the west end of the south wall, its west jamb being formed by the adjacent angle quoin of the House; the door has a simple chamfered surround, with the base of its east jamb being formed by a single large lock. The east gable end shows a blocked first floor slit window set centrally (lintel, sill and jambs each being formed by a single slab). Above this, near the apex of the original gable end (which has been heightened) is a projecting stone that seems to have carried a cantilevered chimney stack.

Internally, parts of the blocked central doorway in the east wall of the House are exposed; it appears to have a single large block serving as a 'relieving arch', although its actual surround seems to be formed of relatively small stones. The south wall of the Cottage is 0.72m thick but the rear wall (between the body of the building and the added outshut) is 0.8m; the east gable end appears to be considerably thicker than this.

The structural history of the two properties is not clear in every detail, but may be:

i) Dale House was built as a bastle, probably in the early 17th century. The central position of the blocked byre doorway in the east wall, and the nature of the south east quoin, are typical of bastles;

ii) Dale Cottage was first constructed as a second bastle at the east end of the first. The east gable and north wall survive from this; the present south door may represent the byre door of the second bastle (perhaps heightened at some later period), possibly reusing dressings from the byre door of the first bastle;

iii) In 1667 (or 1668) Dale House was completely rebuilt with the exception of its east wall, which formed a structural part of Dale Cottage. The fine western fireplace is undoubtedly contemporary with the rebuilding. The western quoins of the house may be reused from the preceding bastle, although the walls seem to have been completely rebuilt; the outshut is a later addition;

iv) At a later date, possibly in the later 18th century, the eastern bastle (Dale Cottage) was remodelled as a single storey cottage, its south wall being rebuilt. The cantilevered chimney stack on the east gable may date to this phase. Dale House may have been heightened and given a new roof at about the same time;

v) Dale Cottage was remodelled a two storey dwelling, relatively recently (in the earlier 20th century) (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 ReferenceNY919715
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 364


  • 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. 112