St Oswalds Cottages, Wall

Has been described as a Certain Bastle, and also as a Certain Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameSt Oswalds Cottages, Wall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishWall

Possible bastle, form uncertain. Present state - house (Ryder 1990).

On the north side of the village green at Wall is a detached range of three buildings, to the east of the 18th century farmhouse of North Farm. The western part of the range is an 18th century farmbuilding belonging to the farm, but the central and eastern parts are separate two storey two bay cottages which both appear to be remodelled bastles.

WESTERN COTTAGE: This measures c.6.9m by 6.5m externally; its front wall is of heavy rubble with large roughly shaped quoins, and appears to be c.0.9m thick. The front door, in the eastern bay, is set in a shallow gabled porch, in tooled and margined stone of early 19th century character (cf Greenhead House, NY 96 NW 51); west of this is a window with a recessed and chamfered stone surround, that again looks to be of 19th century date; between this and the porch is a bricked up slit vent, apparently and original bastle feature. West of the window two upright stones may be the remains of a second slit. At first floor level are two 12-pane Yorkshire sashes in 19th century openings; adjacent to the western jamb of each are the remains of earlier windows; in each case the western jamb and a fragment of the square head survives. It is not clear whether these were single-light or mullioned windows, but their dressings are heavily weathered; they may be original bastle features. The external face of the west end of the cottage, now inside the adjacent farmbuilding, is featureless; the rear elevation and west walls are covered by later additions.

EASTERN COTTAGE: This measures 6.95m by 6.5m externally, its front wall has been completely rebuilt relatively recently in snecked stone. All its features are modern, except for old quoins at the east end, which look to be of 18th century character, as does the coursed rubble of the east wall

The rear (north) wall is clearly much older, and part of another bastle; whilst its openings are all of 20th century date, its fabric is heavy rubble with large roughly squared quoins at the west end (showing it to be the earlier of the two adjacent bastles). The wall looks to be of considerable thickness.

Neither interior seen (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

One of a number of strongly built houses and bastles around the original large green, now somewhat encroached upon, of Wall village which, as a group, make the whole village defensible.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY917690
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Grint, Julia, 2008, Bastles an introduction to the bastle houses of Northumberland (Hexham: Ergo Press) p. 137-45
  • Ryder, Peter, 2004, 'Towers and bastles in Northumberland National Park' in Frodsham, P., Archaeology in the Northumberland National Park (CBA Research report 136) p. 262-271
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 353


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 150
  • Ryder, P.F., 1990, Northumberland Bastles Survey Unpublished p. 11