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Snabdaugh Bastle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Snabdough; Chirdon; Snabdurgh

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY78688464
Latitude 55.15598° Longitude -2.33610°

Snabdaugh Bastle has been described as a certain Bastle.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


(NY 78688468) There was formerly a pele at Snabdaugh (MacLauchlan 1867).
The present Snabdaugh, an L-shaped stone farmhouse, is of three periods, the south part being probably 17th century, the southern half of the east wing, is certainly of the 18th century, and the north half is about a 100 years old. The oldest part has walls 5 feet thick, offset at first floor level to about 4 foot 6 inches thickness.
As the walls rise about 5 feet above the ceiling of the second floor, the building almost certainly had three storeys originally, and the roof, now gabled, has been lowered at some time. Since no pele of this small size ever had three floors, this building is probably a 'strong house' built sometime after the Union with Scotland.
The many shaped and carved stones incorporated in the outbuilding came either from the pele at Birks (MY 78 SE 6) or Dally Castle (NY 78 SE 9) (F1 ASP 05-JUL-1956).
Main block measures 11.3 x 7.8m, walls 1.6-1.9m thick, except at west end (2.5m - includes stack). There are two sash windows on the south at ground floor level and a segmental-headed opening (now internal) in the east wall. Two similar sash windows at first floor level on the south, and a smaller window on the north. Masonry only exposed in the attic, where there is a pointed tunnel-vault of squared and coursed stone. Present roof 19th century. Main block is oldest part of the house and the tunnel-vaulted attic makes it an extreme rarity. Overall dimensions and wall thicknesses comparable with many bastles. Possibly had a basement vault which was removed, as internal faces of walls bulge inwards up to first floor level and then batter outwards.
Attic vault unique amongst medieval domestic buildings in Northumberland (Ryder 1990).
A probably 15th or early 16th century building with 18th and 19th century additions. Built of squared stone, rendered, and later parts dressed stone; Welsh slate roofs. Snabdaugh is undoubtedly the architectural surprise of the National Park. It is rendered in grey cement and has large ordinary 20th century sashes. Yet even from here there are clues. The central section of the house has a very square, vertical quality which immediately suggests a tower, and there is a broad and unexpected offset above the ground floor. Above the first floor windows the render is curiously disturbed providing a slight suggestion of arched window heads. The surprise though is completed inside. The walls are f feet thick on the ground floor and slightly thinner above, so it is a tower. It has moreover a pointed tunnel vault on the top (second) floor and this is, as far as is known, a feature unique in England, at least in domestic buildings. Boltongate Church in Cumberland is similarly vaulted, though in a more polished manner, but no other houses are known. The vault is, in addition, continuous from floor to roof, the walls sloping gradually outwards like a stone tent. The beams of the second floor or attic, rest on stone corbels projecting from the vault. There are eight pairs of corbels but now only five beams. In the attic, the arched heads, or rer arches, of the first floor windows can be seen, also in the gable ends a large window embrasure with seats at one end, and at the other a huge chimney breast and an empty stair well beside it. This is a building that deserves detailed investigation and research (Grundy 1987). (Northumberland HER)

Recorded by MacLauchlan in a list of local 'Pele Towers' given to him by an old resident - most of these 'towers' actually were bastles or pele-houses. A bastle of the bastle-house type rather than a pele-house.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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