Tecket Farmhouse, Simonburn

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameTecket Farmhouse, Simonburn
Alternative NamesTekett
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishSimonburn

Bastle at Teckett (Hadcock 1939).

At Tekett is a strong stone house of the inheritance of Wyll'm Rydley in good repair (Hodgson 1828 quoting 1541 survey). 'Teckitt farm was the property and residence of a branch of the Ridley family about the 15th century, and their arms still remain above the front door' (Tomlinson 1902).

'The present house has been built upon the site of a large building, as the foundations of walls have been discovered at some distance around it' (Mackenzie 1825).

NY 865672997 A farmhouse and outbuildings situated on a promontory, flanked on the east and south sides by a bend in the steep sided ravine of the Simon Burn, and separated from rising ground to the north by a small steep sided grassy vale. The ground to the west rises gradually. The farmhouse is a two storey stone building of rough-dressed stone. The upper half of the south side is a later reconstruction probably contemporary with the extensions on the north side. The west side is obscured by a range of adjoining farmbuildings. In the east wall are two small square blocked windows. In the south wall, the original doorway, placed centrally, has some arms inscribed on the lintel stone. To the left of the door two windows share a fragment of hood moulding, which appears to date the building circa 15th century. The stonework overall, has recently been repointed and the farmhouse is in good condition. No traces of foundations can be seen nor has the owner, Mr G Keen, come across any during the past 25 years. He knows nothing of the history of the farmhouse, other than that it was formerly a residence of the Ridley family. The extant remains do not resemble other Bastles, Peles or Defended Houses encountered in West Northumberland (F1 ASP 15-OCT-1956).

Uncertain form bastle. Present state - house (Ryder 1990).

Tecket Bastle or Pele. A strong house was mentioned in survey of 1541 (Long 1967).

Tecket Farmhouse. Grade II listed building

Possibly 15th century, altered early 17th century and first floor rebuilt in later 19th century. Interior: 1.75m thick gable and end walls and 1m thick front wall on ground floor (Listed Building Report).

The farmhouse consists of a two storeyed block c.15.5m by 6.8m externally, with a 19th century rear outshut. The lower parts of the south wall and ends are of large roughly coursed blocks, and are c.0.9m thick; the upper parts are of more regularly coursed squared stone and look to be of 19th century date.

The south doorway, set more or less centrally, has a quadrant moulded surround, it has been heightened at some time (by the insertion of a single block, simply chamfered instead of moulded, at the head of each jamb), and the head has been modified from a flattened triangular arch to a simple straight lintel. To the west of the door war a single-light chamfered window and what has been a three-light mullioned window (which has both lost its mullions and been reduced in width); these openings share a common label or string course, chamfered above and quadrant moulded below, with a turned back end to the west. To the east of the doorway is another window, with a partially chamfered surround, which has clearly been modified at some time. At the east end of the block are traces of a possible loop set centrally at ground floor level with, to the north of it, another small window that looks like a modification of an earlier opening; there is also a blocked single-light window with a recessed and chamfered surround at first floor level, set south of centre.

The west end is partly obscured by a later farmbuilding; at ground floor level (and visible from a passage through the farmbuilding) are a small recess or wall cupboard near the south end of the wall, and a blocked opening, apparently with a segmental arched head, near the north end of the wall; the latter is partly concealed by whitewash, it may relate to a bread oven at the rear of the hearth.

Internally, the ground floor has old transverse beams with stopped chamfers and there have been large fireplaces at each end of the block; the square head and chamfered surround of the western are visible. During renovations some years ago three small arches - perhaps wall cupboards with arched heads - were exposed in the north wall of the western room; they are now concealed again.

It is not at all certain that the older parts of the present building can be correlated with the 1541 'strong house'; the character of the moulding on the string course seems likely to be of 17th century date, as do the surviving windows and doorway. It also appears that the building was of a single storey (with attics, as evidenced by the window in the east end), and had quite large windows, both features unusual in a defensible structure. However, the walls are of reasonable thickness. The reference to foundations of walls mentioned by Mackenzie suggests that there may have been some form of defensible enclosure around the house (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

There was certainly a defensible building in Tecket in 1541 and this is, by far, the most likely location for that C16 building. However it is not possible to be certain what the form of the building was. If the older parts of the building date back as far as the C15, as suggested in the Keys to the Past online record, this would imply the building was a small tower house. However the term 'strong stone house' used in the 1541 survey would suggest a larger 'pele-house' type bastle of only two storeys (the term 'bastell' is used in that survey but probably for larger two and half or three storey buildings). It is, of course, entirely possibly that an earlier tower had been converted into a bastle in the same way the bastle was later coverted into a farmhouse.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceNY865729
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 361-2
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 115 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii, Vol. 2 p. 354
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 322
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 161
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1902, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (Newcastle) p. 203
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 47 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1828, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 2 p. 216 online copy
  • Mackenzie, E., 1825, A historical and descriptive view of the county of Northumberland: and of the town and county of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with Berwick upon Tweed, and other celebrated places on the Scottish border Vol. 2 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 241 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
  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 184
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 47 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 134-5
  • Ryder, P.F., 1990, Northumberland Bastles Survey Unpublished p. 10