Moor Houses Bastle

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are major building remains

NameMoor Houses Bastle
Alternative NamesMoor House
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAllendale

Bastle house late C16 or early C17, extended late C17, present house added C19, all now agricultural store. Large rubble with heavy roughly-shaped quoins, stone dressings, stone-slate roof. Rubble stacks to left gable and on ridge, brick gable stack to farmhouse. 2 storeys, 5 bays, irregular. Bastle with extension to right and taller farmhouse far right. Inserted doorway to bastle with remains of original 1st floor doorway above, doorway to extension with chamfered surround, irregular fenestration. Left return (visible inside farm building) shows central byre entrance of bastle with chamfered round-headed doorway. Ruinous outshut to rear. Interior shows corbelled 1st floor fireplace in bastle, 1st floor fireplace in extension with flattened triangular head in square frame, old collar-beam roof truss in extension. Later farm buildings slightly set back to left not of interest. An interesting building demonstrating the development over 3 centuries by successive additions rather than rebuilding. (Listed Building Report)

Measures 6.8m x 6m overall, side wall 0.8m thick, end wall with byre entrance 0.95m thick. Round-headed byre door etc. Extended late 17th century and present house built 19th century (Ryder 1984).

The derelict farm of Moor Houses stands on the east side of Allendale. The bastle form the west part of a ruinous range to the west of the 19th century farmhouse. It measures 6m east-west by 6.5m north-south, and appears to have been built onto the west end of a block 7m east-west by 6.5m north-south, now forming the centre section of the range; to the east of this is the farmhouse with a rear outshut.

The bastle is built of coursed rubble with roughly shaped angle quoins, and has walls c.0.8m thick. In the centre of the west gable is the blocked byre doorway (now only visible from within an adjacent farmbuilding) with a chamfered round headed arch (very like that at Nine Dargue (NY 85 SW 9)); the monolithic lintel is now cracked

Near the west end of the south wall is a blocked slit vent, with further east a blocked window (visible only as a rough area of patching externally) of uncertain date, and a doorway which is clearly an insertion. Above the doorway is the outline of a blocked doorway (without any cut dressings), with to the east of it a window retaining the lintel of its timber predecessor with sockets for mullions and iron bars. In the north wall is a basement loop (blocked) set centrally, and a small blocked opening (a wall cupboard?) near the east end of the wall.

Internally, there are remains of a corbelled out fireplace and stone hood above the byre doorway; that this is secondary can be seen from the manner in which one of the corbels cuts through an earlier rebated locker or bread oven (cf. Haggburngate (NY 85 SW 14)) which was presumably associated with a timber firehood. In the north east corner of the ground floor is a rectangular block of masonry, of uncertain date, which seems to be associated with a former stair which rose northwards from a lobby by the door.

The central part of the range, with walls 0.65m thick and a square headed chamfered doorway on the south, looks at first sight of later 17th century character, but its relationship to the bastle (in particular the quoining on the north) seems fairly unequivocal. Inside there is a fireplace of early 19th century character (with a set-pot) against the west wall, with a small first floor fireplace of late 17th century type above. A crudely inserted doorway gives access to a ruinous rear outshut. The internal face of the east wall is plastered, but its outer face, visible inside the basement of the 19th century farmhouse, has a central area of refacing suggesting a former door position (although this may not be the original end wall).

Both bastle and the central section of the range have two bay roofs with old central trusses, having tie beams and collars, and heavy square section rafters. The first floors of both sections have been removed, although sawn off stubs of beams remain.

The 19th century farmhouse is of byre house type, with the living accommodation (reached through a doorway in the west wall of the outshut) at first and second floor level.

This is an unusual building in that the central section of the range seems to be a thin walled building pre-dating the addition of the bastle. Although the surviving features of the centre section look to be of later 17th century date, it is presumably of 16th century origin. The original extent of the phase I building is uncertain, as to the east the alignments and thickness of its walls are continued by those of the 19th century house, which are rendered externally, making it difficult to ascertain whether they incorporate earlier masonry.

At the time of survey the building is in very poor condition, the roof and sections of the wall being in a state of impending collapse (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 ReferenceNY849565
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Mike Quinn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Mike Quinn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 429
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 119 (slight)


  • Christopherson, R., 2011, 'Northumberland bastles: origin and distribution' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 26 p. 21-33 (listed in appendix)
  • Ryder, P.F., 1992, 'Bastles and bastle-like buildings in Allendale' Archaeological Journal Vol. 149 p. 351-79 (listed in appendix)


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 14
  • Ryder, P.F., 1984, Bastles in Allendale. Unpublished