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The Steel Bastle

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: NY83405405
Latitude 54.88075° Longitude -2.26046°

The Steel Bastle has been described as a probable Bastle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.


The Steel is a building circa 70 feet long which, almost unbelievably started life as a bastle-like building, and built, it is claimed, in 1547. Close inspection reveals some masonry, doors and quoins of the type closely associated with bastles. The oldest wals are only about 2.5 feet thick, but perhaps this was considered sufficient in the very early bastle-building days. (PastScape ref. Dodds 1999)

The Steel was restored from being derelict earlier this century and has been considerably extended.
The old part of the house, an east-west range, measures c.21m by 5.5m externally; there is a 19th century wing extending north from the west end, and a 20th century extension forming a cross wing at the east end. The old part of the building is built of heavy rubble with large quoins, although its walls are of no great thickness (0.6m-0.7m). Midway along the south wall is an old doorway with a flattened four centred head, at basement level, and midway along the north wall a first floor doorway (with a recent external stair) with a chamfered round arched head; both doorways have drawbar tunnels in the jambs. At basement level there are two old loops in the north wall, a little to the west of the position of the upper doorway. Only visible internally, the first is blocked and the second has been partly removed by a doorway into the 19th century wing, only its head remaining. Further west is what appears to be an old partition of studs with flagstone infill. To the east of the doorways is an old cross wall with recent fireplaces. Two fairly rough collar beam trusses are exposed in a bedroom at the west end of the house; another collar beam truss reused a cruck blade, of quite good quality, as one of its principals. If the upper doorway on the north is in situ, it would seem that the Steel is a bastle derivative house, perhaps of later 17th century date. Its relatively thin walls and the character of the upper doorway are very reminiscent of Rowantree Stob (NY 85 SW 16).
There are other old features in the house, but these have been imported; the owner in 1984 said that a dozen or more old buildings, in various parts of the country, had been demolished to obtain materials brought to the Steel (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

Dodds comment about thinner walls being considered sufficient in the very early bastle-building days is incomprehensible. It is more probably the 1547 date is erroneous or refers to an earlier building on the site or elsewhere.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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