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Holymire Bastle, Kirkhaugh

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Holly Myers

In the civil parish of Knaresdale with Kirkhaugh.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY69584851
Latitude 54.83049° Longitude -2.47508°

Holymire Bastle, Kirkhaugh has been described as a probable Bastle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.


Solitary bastle 10.4m long x 5m wide. Side walls 0.86m thick, end wall 1.1m thick. Byre entrance in gable wall. First floor has beamed ceiling. First floor door in long wall (Ryder 1986)
The southern part of the main range of buildings at Holymire is a former bastle, the northern part a 19th century block, formerly in part domestic, but now entirely a barn.
The bastle measures 10.2m by 6.1m externally, with walls 0.85m thick except for the north end of c.1m. Despite relatively recent alterations (two large doorways, one above the other, inserted in the east wall) it retains a number of original features. At basement level the original byre doorway is set in the centre of the north end, and is partly visible (through plaster) from inside the adjacent barn; it is a square headed chamfered opening. Splayed loops remain in the centre of the south end, and at either end of the east wall. The original first floor has been removed (the stub ends of one transverse beam survive) and replaced by one at a considerably higher level, perhaps when the whole building was heightened.
At first floor level, the lintel and north jamb survive of the upper doorway, square headed and with a chamfered surround, set a little north of centre on the east side. In front of the doorway is a block of masonry, presumably the remains of an external stair. North of the doorway are traces of a blocked window (with a slightly projecting dripstone), and there are similar traces to the south of the inserted pitching door.
Internally, the upper floor of the building has not been seen. At basement level the lower parts of fireplaces, at the original first floor level, are exposed; both appear to be of 18th or early 19th century character, with jambs of shallow projection which presumably carry corbelled out lintels (Ryder 1994-5).
The farmstead at Holymire remained in occupation through much of the later 18th and 19th centuries; during this period the original bastle was heightened and extended to the north-west to form a long range, comprising a house and barn (Went and Ainsworth 2013). (Northumberland HER)

Three such buildings are clustered nearby at Whitlow, barely 300m to the south-east of the fort. One of these, termed 'Whitlow I' by Peter Ryder (1994, 125), is contained within the long range of farm buildings to the south west of the 19th-century farm house. The ruins of the second (Whitlow II) lie some 70m to the north-west of the farm house, and the third (Whitlow III), recently restored and partly roofed, lies a further 30m or so to the north-west. A fourth bastle lies in a more isolated location at the core of the Holymire farm building, part-way between Whitlow III and the fort. The low ruins of Whitlow II and the heavily altered walls of the original Holymire bastle are difficult to date, but the earliest phase at Whitlow I has been assigned with some confidence to around 1600, and that at Whitlow III to the latter part of the 17th century (Ryder 1995, 125; 2006, 4-8; 2008, 12-13). All four of these early buildings have similar dimensions, between 6m and 6.4m in width and from 10m to 10.9m in length, and these proportions are mirrored in many other examples throughout the district (Ryder 1995, 116-125).
On the other side of the fort the farmstead at Holymire remained in occupation through much of the later 18th and 19th centuries, during which period the original bastle, mentioned above, was heightened and extended to the north west to form a long range, comprising house and barn (Ryder 1995, 118). Although depicted as a dwelling on the enclosure map of 1862, it has since reverted to the status of a barn with the addition, in the 1960s, of a large byre on the north side. (Went and Ainsworth 2009)

See records for Whitley Castle Bastle 1 and 2; Whitlow bastles 1, 2 and 3
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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