Whiteley Shield Bastles

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWhiteley Shield Bastles
Alternative NamesWhitley Shield
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishWest Allen

NY 802481 North of Whiteley Shield farmhouse is a ruin representing at least three periods.

(i) A building 22 X 32 feet with walls 3 feet thick has only the lower parts of the two end walls standing.

(ii) Against the east wall of (i) is a two-storey building of bastle type still standing to its full height.

(iii) At the west end of (i) are remains of an addition, 18ft long, which is stated by the farmer to have been a byre with living accommodation above (Ramm et al 1970).

NY 80244815. The remains of a defended house as described by the Commission. It is now impossible to tell which of the three building phases is the original, or to ascribe any sort of date (F1 BHP 23-SEP-1974).

Bastle 1: 9.7m long x 6.7m wide, side walls 0.9m thick. Byre entrance in gable end, first floor beamed ceiling. Bastle 2: 8.2m long x 6.3m wide, side wall 0.9m thick. Byre entrance in gable wall. First floor with beamed ceiling and entrance in long wall (Pers Comm, P F Ryder, 1986).

Since having been surveyed by Ramm the ruin has deteriorated considerably; the upper half of the south wall of the phase II bastle, and the top of its east gable, have fallen; the remainder of the east gable is leaning at an alarming angle which has apparently increased over the last two years, and will either fall or have to be taken down unless major conservation works are undertaken.

The phase I bastle (32 feet by 22 feet) is reduced to lower walls; in the centre of the east wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs, and in the centre of the west wall another central doorway, perhaps an insertion, with an old wooden frame.

The phase II bastle extension has two basement slit vents on the south and a central byre doorway with a triangular head in the east end; above this is a small square headed window. There is an inserted doorway on the north

A second extension at the west end of the phase I bastle, itself with a small block added on the north, is probably of late 18th or 19th century date (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY802481
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 422
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 120 (slight)
  • Ryder, Peter, 1996, Bastle Houses in the Northern Pennines (Alston: The North Pennines Heritage Trust) p. 17, 18
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii (doubtful)
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 349-50
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 93 no. 74


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Nelson, I.S., 1975, 'Whiteley Shield (Northumberland's Architectural Heritage)' Northumbriana Vol. 2


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 158-9