Fallowlees Bastle, Hollinghill

Has been described as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry footings remains

NameFallowlees Bastle, Hollinghill
Alternative NamesDod Heugh
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHollinghill

The bastle 80m north east of Fallowlees survives in reasonable condition and retains significant archaeological deposits. It will contribute to any study of the settlement pattern during this period.

The monument includes the remains of a bastle situated among farmbuildings at the headwaters of the River Font and now largely surrounded by the plantations of Harwood Forest. The bastle, constructed of large roughly squared blocks, measures approximately 13m long by 8.5m wide and survives up to 2.5m high at the western corner. The standing remains comprise the north west wall which has partially collapsed near the centre, and a 5m length of the south west wall; the outline of the remaining sides are visible as foundations. In the centre of the north west and south west walls there are slit windows. The entrance is believed to have been in the centre of the south east wall, where there is a slight gap in the outline of the wall. The interior is uneven and comprises areas of tumbled masonry, now covered with turf. At the northern corner of the bastle a bank of earth and stone almost 0.3m high runs for 6m north eastwards before turning at right angles for a further 10m; it is interpreted as an enclosure wall. Its date is uncertain but it may be contemporary with the bastle and is included in the scheduling so that the relationship with the bastle is preserved. Further sections of wall extend beyond the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

A bastle built some time after the 1541 survey at Fallowlees. The foundations can still be traced (Dodds 1940).

At Fallowlees are the ruins of a substantial pele or bastle house which has not been recorded but which no doubt was the refuge of William Veitch the Covenantor (Honeyman 1929-30).

A message, now ruined, situated on a dodd, or conical hill, about half a mile south-east of Fallowlees (Hodgson 1827)

NZ 01999435 The remains of the building are incorporated into the garden wall and outbuildings east-north-east of the cottage called Fallowlees. Only the north and part of the west walls remain, but there are surface indications of the buried foundations of the south and east walls. The building was 12.9m long with an approximate width of 8.5m. The entrance appears to have been centrally placed in the south wall. The remains of the north and west walls are 1.1m thick and constructed of very large undressed stones. The only architectural feature remaining is in the west wall where there is a slit window, splayed internally and constructed of four massive stones occupying the whole thickness of the wall. The two remaining walls have a maximum height of 1.9m and are in fair condition.

The remains are those of a defended house similar to others in the region and dating from the late 16th to early 17th centuries.

NZ 02679419. The ruin referred to by Hodgson is a steading 38m long and 6m wide with five cross divisions and a garth attached to the north-west corner. It appears to have been a row of small cottages of no great age or architectural interest (F1 EG 18-FEB-1957).

The remotely sited farm of Fallowlees lies in the headwaters of the River Font, above the Fontburn Reservoir and is now largely surrounded by the plantations of Harwood Forest. The ruins of the bastle lie a short distance to the north east of the present farmhouse. The bastle has been a rectangular structure c.13m long with walls 1.15m thick; the lower parts of the north west wall and the adjacent half of the south west end survive. The width of the building is no longer discernible, although if the slit in the end wall were central (as usual) this would have been c.7.2m. There are also remains of a tapering slit in the centre of the long north west wall; both slits have single large sandstone slabs for jambs, lintel and sill. The bastle has large and quite well squared quoins and walling of large roughly squared blocks with some galleting. The western corner stands to 2.5m high. There are remains of a later building attached to the south west end and the footings of an enclosure wall running from the northern corner. There are no visible indications of either entrance or any other part of the south wall (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ020943
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 195-7
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii, Vol. 2 p. 348
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 157
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 102
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1940, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 15 p. 386
  • Hodgson, J., 1827, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 1 p. 289n 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
  • Honeyman, H.L., 1929-30, Proceedings of the Society of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser4) Vol. 4 p. 83


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 1 Alnwick District p. 33