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Hope Head Bastle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Allendale.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY83074735
Latitude 54.82072° Longitude -2.26492°

Hope Head Bastle has been described as a certain Bastle.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


The farm buildings next to Hope Head farmhouse have their origins in the late 16th or early 17th century when they were built as a bastle. The farm house was built in the late 18th or early 19th century. Although the bastle was altered in later centuries there are still many original features. They include walls over one metre thick, the byre entrance doorway with a massive stone lintel, a small window, an original beam carrying the first floor, an upper doorway. This is one of the best preserved bastle houses in Northumberland. (Keys to the Past)

Hope Head (NY 831473) is the highest settlement in the valley of the Swinhope Burn, one of the higher tributaries of the East Allen, and is located on gently sloping ground about 30m above and 200m from the steam, commanding a wide prospect across and down the valley. As often happens, a later farmhouse has been built on to one end of the bastle.
The original building measures 9.6 by 6.5m externally, with walls c. 1.0m thick, of rubble with large roughly-cut quoins. The byre entrance doorway in the northeastern end has a flattened triangular head cut into a megalithic lintei, with a narrow continuous chamfer of head and jambs. The lintel bears weathered remains of a roughly laid-out incised inscription; the letters 'A' and ' W in the centre, and a figure V are all the remains legible. The only other original opening at basement level is a small loop in the centre of the southwestern end, below a corbelled out projection carrying the first-floor hearth. Only one of the original transverse beams that carried the first floor remains in position, at the southwestern end. At first-floor level the upper doorway, partly obscured by plaster, is typically placed right-of-centre in the long southeast wall. The windows on either side of it are now blocked; from their proportions it seems likely that they are eighteenth-century enlargements of the original openings; a small square window in a chamfered surround, at the northeastern end of the northwest wall, seems more likeiy to be contemporary with the bastle. The stacks built against both end walls appear to be eighteenth- or nineteenth-century insertions, although the outline of the original firehood is clearly visible on either side of that at the southwestern end. The bastle is unusual in having a low second floor, marked internally by a setback of c. 20m in the internal faces of the side walls. It seems likely that this is an addition (although one that pre-dates the substitution of stack for firehood at the southwest end); at this level there are two square chamfered windows on the southeast. The surviving roof truss, of upper truck form (with the tie-beam from which it springs sawn away) presumably also belongs to this phase, which may date to the earlier eighteenth century. (Ryder 1992)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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