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Mortley Bastle, Wark in Tyndale

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY82427738
Latitude 55.09056° Longitude -2.27697°

Mortley Bastle, Wark in Tyndale has been described as a certain Bastle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


NY 82427738. In the east of the farmstead of Mortley are the remains of a Pele. The foundations, of massive boulders, are built on to living rock, and measure overall 10.3m east-west and 6.9m north-south. The walls are 1.5m thick, and are approximately 4m high, except along the south side, where in places the masonry has collapsed. There is a small window in the west end, and a doorway, in perfect condition, in the east end equipped with bar-holes. The interior is filled with fallen masonry and rubbish. The springing of a barrel vaulted roof to the basement is clearly visible along the interiors of the north and south walls (F1 ASP 10-OCT-1956).
The present farmhouse is apparently of 19th century date and forms part of an east-west range, the easternmost part of which is a ruined bastle. The bastle measures c.10.4m by 7m externally and is built of large roughly squared and roughly coursed blocks, with quoining of the same size. The walls are 1.3m-1.4m thick and stand to a height of 2m-3m; the south wall, somewhat patched, only survives to a height of 1.2m, the north wall to c.2m, and both ends to 3m-4m. The byre doorway is set centrally in the east end; it is unchamfered, with a square head, and megalithic blocks in the jambs; above is a crude relieving arch. There is a rebate for a single door; the lintel is a flat slab, extending for two thirds of the wall thickness, containing a circular socket for a harr against the north jamb; there are two drawbar tunnels, one above the other, in the south jamb.
The interior of the ruin is largely infilled with debris; the springing of a barrel vault remains on both side walls. There is a tapering slit vent set centrally in the west end; above it the internal face of the wall slopes outwards - it is not clear whether this is an original feature (perhaps connected with the support of a hearth above) or the product of structural movement.
Parts of the ruin are in poor condition; the north east corner is leaning outwards (Ryder 1994-5).
Bastle immediately east of Mortley. Scheduled on 21st October 2003, national monument number 32801. The monument includes the remains of a bastle, a form of defended farmhouse of late 16th or erly 17th century date, situated on an elevated site on the north side of the valley of the Warks Burn.
The bastle, rectangular in shape, measures 10.4m east to west by 7m north to south externally, with walls of large roughly squared and roughly coursed blocks between 1.3m to 1.4m thick. Now roofless, it stands generally to between 2m to 3m high, although the west gable of the bastle and part of its south wall survive as buried foundations. There is an original byre doorway in the centre of the east gable giving access to the ground floor basement. The square-headed doorway is unchamfered with a relieving arch above. Its door jambs contain very large blocks and the lintel is formed by a large, flat slab, which projects into the wall of the bastle for about a third of its thickness. The doorway contains a rebate for a single door and the remains of two drawbar tunnels are visible in the south jamb. Within the basement of the bastle, the springing stones, which carried the stone vault, are visible on the north wall of the bastle at a height of approximately 1.75m. Despite the fact that it survives as a ruined structure, the bastle retains much original fabric and important original features including a fine doorway and evidence for the stone vaulted basement. Despite some disturbance to the upper levels of the interior, significant archaeological deposits, including earlier floor and occupation levels are thought to survive. These will provide important information about the lives of the people who occupied the bastle and indicate its main phases of occupation. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of further bastles in the vicinity which, taken together, will add to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and society at this time (Scheduling Report). (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.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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