Low Ardley Farmhouse

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

There are uncertain remains

NameLow Ardley Farmhouse
Alternative NamesNether Ardley
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHexhamshire

House incorporating possibly C16 bastle or tower, remodelled and enlarged C18, altered C19 and C20. Farmbuildings early C19. House rubble, earliest part large rubble with megalithic quoins, farmbuildings rubble with tooled-and- margined quoins and dressings; slate roofs. House T-plan; L-plan range of farmbuildings, with gingang on west, attached to north end of house cross-wing. South elevation in 2 parts: Projecting gabled cross-wing on left with C20 casements (the upper in older doorway opening), coped gable with moulded kneelers and finial. 2-storey, 2-bay block to right has 2 late C19 4-pane sash windows above C20 glazed conservatory. Right gable coped with moulded kneelers; stepped and corniced ridge and right end stacks. Left return shows former 3-light mullioned window (1 mullion removed) with C20 glazing but old moulded label, blocked slit to right and late C19 4-pane sash above; stepped and corniced left end stack. To left farmbuilding range with projecting round-ended gingang; boarded openings with timber lintels, conical roof. Roof of main range hipped to left. Interior; house cross-wing has very thick walls (2 metres on north). Almost square in plan, it may be the remains of a tower or an early bastle. (Listed Building Report)

Solitary form bastle, with walls 2m thick. Present state - house (Ryder 1990)

Low Ardley Farmhouse is an L-plan building consisting of a north-south block with an east-west range running east from its north end. The lower part of the north-south block measures 7.8m by 6.6m and is part of a bastle or some other defensible building, with walls of heavy rubble in excess of 1m thick (north wall c.2m); the megalithic angle quoins are particularly impressive, one at the south west corner measures 1.7m long by 0.5m by 0.45m thick; a boulder plinth is exposed on the south wall

In the west wall are a possible blocked slit (close to the south west corner) and a modern window with an old moulded dripstone (later 17th century?) above. No old features survive internally; at first floor level the walls are much thinner.

The east west range has smaller but irregular quoins in the lower part of its south east corner (early 18th century?); its upper parts look late 18th or early 19th century (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

If it is a pleasant house, three miles north-west of Whitley Chapel, which developed from a tower or strong house - probably the former but there is not enough of the original left to be absolutely sure. What can be seen is to be a square of walls up to six feet thick and with exceptionally large quoins. (Dodds 1999)

Gatehouse Comments

Dodds suggestion this was more probably a tower conflicts with Ryder's description of this as a bastle. It could be the location of a gentry status dwelling and it is, of course, entirely possible any C13-C14 building here could have been altered into a C16-C17 bastle. However the Northumberland County History is not really suggestive of this being anything other than the site of a tenanted farm and Gatehouse consideres it unlikely as the site of a small solar tower.

- 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 ReferenceNY908586
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Les Hull and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Les Hull 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. 430
  • Hodgson, John Crawford (ed), 1897, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 4 p. 54, 55 (tenurial history) online copy


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 97-8
  • Ryder, P.F., 1990, Northumberland Bastles Survey Unpublished p. 7