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Maple Lodge, Birkshaw

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY77526569
Latitude 54.98521° Longitude -2.35278°

Maple Lodge, Birkshaw has been described as a probable Bastle.

There are major building remains.


Maple Lodge lies on the west side of the hamlet of Birkshaw. At first sight it appears wholly of Victorian date; a closer examination shows that it is rather more complex. The earliest part, at the west end, is a bastle remodelled and extended in the early 19th century, then remodelled again and heightened around 1900. The bastle, like that at Birkshaw House (NY 76 NE 74), is built into quite a steep slope so that the ground level at the rear is approximately at the internal first floor level.
The bastle measures c.9.5m by 6.6m externally, with walls of coursed rubble around 1m thick on a boulder plinth. The byre doorway is set a little east of centre in the south wall and is square headed, with a chamfered surround; internally a recess in the east jamb is probably the drawbar tunnel, partially blocked. Behind the stone doorhead are several timber lintels, the outermost with a harr socket. West of the doorway is a small window which is probably an enlargement of an original slit vent; an unmodified slit vent, now blocked, can be seen externally in the centre of the west wall.
Internally the basement is plastered and whitewashed; there is a large projection at the west end (blocking the slit vent), where removal of plaster has exposed walling of large reused squared blocks (Roman?) themselves coated with a very hard white plaster. The basement is ceiled by transverse beams, three of which are of heavy scantling and may be contemporary with the bastle, although probably not in situ. No bastle period features are exposed at first floor level, except for part of the original gable line visible externally on the west wall; the metre thick north wall also retains bastle period fabric, but the south and east walls have been rebuilt in the early 19th century.
The house is quite an instructive example of how early origins can be concealed. The rather unusual position of the byre doorway, in the south wall, is probably a result of the steeply sloping nature of the site. The position of the east end of the bastle is not quite clear (there are indications that the end wall has been completely rebuilt), which might imply that the surviving bastle was built onto an earlier building, which has been in turn completely removed (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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