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Whitlow Bastle 1, Kirkhaugh

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: NY69784838
Latitude 54.82928° Longitude -2.47183°

Whitlow Bastle 1, Kirkhaugh has been described as a Bastle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Uncertain.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.


South of Whitlow Farmhouse lies a long range of farmbuildings; the central section of which (with a ruinous rear outshut) has been an earlier farmhouse.
This building has been so much altered that its original form is uncertain. The oldest part has been a rectangular block 11m by 6.05m, with side walls 0.75m thick and end walls of 0.9m, with quite large roughly shaped quoins. Most of its openings are secondary; on the west (within the ruinous outshut) is a small single-light basement window with a chamfered surround. This house has a southern extension 6.2m long, with quoins of very similar type; this section retains, on the east, quite a large first floor window with a recessed and chamfered surround, retaining old iron bars. Pieces of window surrounds of the same type have been reused in the rear outshut.
It seems likely that the two phases of the original house are of later 17th century date; the large and stoutly barred first floor window in the phase II part suggests that the principal accommodation was at this level (Ryder 1994-5).
Whitlow I is a linear farmstead of a central house, with additional later ranges to all sides. The farmhouse is with a central door, within an alternating block surround and other openings all of gritstone. To the right is a 19th century barn of roughly-coursed rubble, with a cart entrance, also having undergone alterations. This building is noted in a poor, dangerous, state of repair. A further barn is also present on the other side of the farmhouse. An outshut is present behind the farmhouse of roughly-squared stone.
The interior of the building has been much altered, and has lost its floor. Traces of the internal features survive including possible fireplaces and the remains of a bread oven. Doorways have been blocked, and plaster survives. The walls are noted as heavily white-washed, with a four-bay roof surviving.
The range has been considerably altered, and is of considerable interest in displaying the development present. The original farmhouse is probably of the mid-17th century; it is not thought of as a bastle, but defensible potential is noted (and compared to other North Pennine, Weardale, examples). A tentative origin as a longhouse is suggested. The additions are of late 18th or early 19th century date, the whole set being abandoned about 1850 (Ryder 2006). (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). (Went and Ainsworth)

Although Went and Ainsworth identify this as a bastle Ryder (their sources) suggests an origin as a long house, although possible one with some defensive potential. It is recorded as a bastle in the HER. It seems likely this started as a defensible house of the early C17, having the same function and social status as most pele-house type bastles (of which there are many local examples) but of a slightly different form (?the brye element adjacent rather than underneath the residential chamber, although this was still on an upper level, and a ground floor entry) so as to not be considered a strict bastle by Ryder. Forms a group with Whitlow bastles 2 and 3 and it is in that context that the defensibility, and function, of the house has to be considered.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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