Underbank Bastles, Kirkhaugh

Has been described as a Possible Bastle

There are major building remains

NameUnderbank Bastles, Kirkhaugh
Alternative NamesUnderhaugh Farm
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishKnaresdale with Kirkhaugh

Bastle houses, late C16 or early C17, remodelled as farm building C19. Rubble, with massive roughly-shaped quoins and stone dressings, stone slate roofs. Elevation to farmyard in 3 parts. Left section is barn, probably C19; large cart entrance with timber lintel. Central section is earlier bastle, 2 storeys, 4 irregular bays, largely rebuilt; 2 boarded doors, the left with jambs and re-set lintel with double roll moulding (lintel inscribed TB? 1691) right with chamfered jambs and re-set roll-moulded lintel. To left small 4-pane window with re-set window head over inscribed GT. SEP : XX. Right section is second bastle, 2 storeys, 2 bays. Boarded door with 2-pane overlight in tall chamfered surround; small boarded window to right and chamfered window with old iron bar above. Right return has external stair to inserted door, blocked chamfered attic loop above and to left. Rear elevation; left section, second bastle, has small ground floor loop, 1st floor blocked chamfered window and 2-light chamfered mullioned window with diamond glazing; blocked chamfered attic window above; central section with 2 chamfered loops to ground floor, wall above obscured by ivy; C20 barn hides right section. (Listed Building Report 1985)

At the farm of Underbank, on the east side of the South Tyne, a long range of bastle like buildings stands close to the north side of the 19th century farmhouse.

The range measures approximately 29.7m by 6.7m externally, with walls of rubble and massive roughly shaped quoins at the west end. The westernmost part of the range, 6.7m square, appears to be an addition from the remainder (see the quoining adjacent to the dividing straight joint on the south); it has side walls 0.75m thick, and an end wall of c.1.1m, whilst the remainder of the range has walls only 0.62m thick.

The westernmost part of the range was originally of three storeys, although the upper floor has been removed internally

On the north there is a chamfered doorway, its head renewed at some time, with a small chamfered window above, retaining an old iron bar. The west end has a stone stair to a central first floor doorway, neither of which looks of any great age, but in the gable are two blocked chamfered loops, the southern having lost is lintel. The south wall has a number of chamfered windows, a single-light one to both basement and second floor, and a single-light and a two-light to the first floor.

The remainder of the range has been partly rebuilt, probably earlier in the present century; a number of old features have been reset, making the extent of rebuilding difficult to ascertain.

On the north of the range is a large barn door in a section of wall that has clearly been completely rebuilt; to the west of this are two doorways, one with chamfered jambs and a reset moulded lintel and the other with roll moulded jambs (clearly reset) and a modern lintel, with above this an old lintel reset. This has three sunk panels; the central, with a triangular top, has the initial 'B' above 'T' followed by an illegible letter, the right had has the date '1691' and the left hand is too worn to decipher. Closer to the barn door is a plain window with the head of an earlier window reset above, also with an inscribed panel, 'GT.SEP.XX'; this seems to be another example of the local tradition of dating buildings to the exact day. To the east of the barn door is one section of wall that does seem unrebuilt, with a blocked chamfered doorway and pair of features - half of an opening with a relieving arch over, containing a bricked up recess - to the west of it that are difficult to interpret.

The south side of the range has far fewer features; the only two that seem to be of any age are two chamfered single-light windows at ground floor level.

At the east end of the range the ground level rises so that access is at what would be first floor level (although this section of the range is now an open barn); then end wall, with a central doorway and a slit above, seems to have been completely rebuilt.

Internally, there is almost a total lack of features of interest; the two internal cross walls are both thin and of no great age, and the king post roof trusses look of early 20th century date.

A large block, that has formed the lintel of a bastle period doorway, lies in the rear yard of the present farmhouse. It has a roll moulded surround and a harr socket.

The range probably represents a series of extended bastles, of rather superior quality from the reset architectural fragments and the various roll moulded surrounds. It is much more rebuilt than appears at first sight (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 ReferenceNY700493
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  • Pevsner, N., Richmond, I., Grundy, J., McCombie, G., Ryder, P. and Welfare, H., 2001, The Buildings of England: Northumberland (London: Penguin Books)┬áp. 365 (mention only)
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 385
  • Ryder, Peter, 1996, Bastle Houses in the Northern Pennines (Alston: The North Pennines Heritage Trust) p. 20, 21


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


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 122-3