Rattenraw Bastle, Otterburn

Has been described as a Certain Bastle, and also as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameRattenraw Bastle, Otterburn
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishRochester

The north west and north east walls of the tower stand to a max height of 1.5m on the interior, 2.5m on the exterior. There are no traces of the other two sides. The walls are of massive stones, and indicate an original thickness of approx 1.6m. The tower was approx 8.5m long east-west, and 7m wide north-south. The remains are now incorporated into a field stone dyke. The site is at approx 570ft above OD and commands the valley of the River Rede to the north and south east. The Rattenraw Burn provides some natural defence upon the west and north sides at a distance of 20m. The open moorland to the west rises gently. There is no evidence for dating, but pele towers in Northumberland are usually medieval or late medieval (F1 ASP 13-JUL-1956).

The north west wall has now partially collapsed, otherwise as described. From the existing remains it is impossible to decide whether the building was a tower or a bastle (F2 DS 08-OCT-1970).

No architectural features survive (F3 PFR 05-JUL-1990).

Walls built of massive roughly-coursed rubble. North-east of the present farmhouse parts of two walls of a bastle are incorporated into a later field wall. Each wall is about 8.5m long and has particularly impressive roughly-coursed masonry, on the outer face only (Grundy 1987). (Northumberland HER)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY850952
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 336
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 119 (slight)
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 52
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 359
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 305
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 90 No. 58
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 148


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Graham, A., 1945-6, 'Notes on Some Northumbrian 'Peles' Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Vol. 80 p. 37-43 (mention - dismissed as a tower) online copy
  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 167


  • Grundy, J., 1987, The Historic Buildings of the Northumberland National Park ROC31