Woodhouses Bastle (Harbottle)
Woodhouses Bastle, Harbottle, before restoration. Photo by Northumberland County Council.
Woodhouses Bastle (Copyright © Don Brownlow)
Woodhouses pele (map in NCH 15 shows 'Dues Hill Grange' as 'Woodhouses') was probably the last erection of its kind in Coquetdale, and belongs to the class of fortified dwellings sometimes called bastle houses.
Although 1602 is cut on the doorhead, the pele was probably started a hundred years before, and the date probably refers to completion or additions by a family named Potte, whose initials also appear.
The pele's measurements are 35 feet east to west, and 28 feet north to south. It is built on a south-east slope about 300 yards from the Coquet. The walls are 5 feet thick at the basement, about 22 feet high to the eaves and are of freestone ashlar work. There is a steep-pitched roof. The basement has a barrel vaulted roof. In the south-east corner are remains of a newel stair. The upper windows are deeply splayed. The original doorway is on the east gable and has bar-sockets either side. (2)
D D Dixon suggested that Woodhouses pele, was the same as the unfinished tower at Harecleuch/Harehaugh (see NY 99 NE 14) but there seems to be no ground for the identification beyond the fact that Woodhouses is not mentioned in 1541 and that there is now no trace of of the tower at Harehaugh or Harecleuch.
In 1904, the late F W Rich most carefully restored and re-roofed the pele, the necessary new portions being in keeping with the old. The plan of the pele was that of the usual late Tudor strong house. (3)
The old pele, or bastle-house, in an excellent state of preservation, is now used as a byre. The arched vault, spiral staircase and stone spout above the doorway for pouring melted lead may still be seen. Over the door is carved, WP - BP - 1602 TAM. (4)
The Peel stands upon a south-east slope, within the grounds of a large private house. The site commands the valley of the River Coquet to the north, east and south-east and the valley of the Harehaugh Burn to the south-west. The ground floor rises to the west to open moorland.
The Peel, orientated north-east and south-west, measures overall, 11.6m by 7.5m. The walls, 1.5m thick, are constructed of large rough fashioned stones, without coursing or bonding, raised upon foundations of packed boulders, and with massive quoins at the corners. The original entrance is in the north-east end and is equipped with bar-holes. In the south-west end is a widely splayed ventilation aperture, and in the south-east side a small opening, giving light onto the steps which rise from within the entrance to the upper storey, in the east corner. A doorway, inserted in the north-west side, has been blocked up.
The ground rises either side of the Peel towards the south-west end, and the original entrance to the upper storey is less than 1m above ground level, with the little aperture to the basement beneath it. Upstairs, are two 3-light mullioned windows in the north-west wall, and two small square headed windows, once fitted with iron bars, in the opposite wall. The gabled roof is covered with stone flags.
The basement has a barrel-vaulted roof, which springs from 1.5m above ground level to approx 2.5m height at the centre. (5)
This fortified house, known locally as Hepple Woodhouses or Woodhouses, is of the type now commonly accepted as a pele house or bastle. It is falling into disrepair, the north-eastern half of the roof having collapsed. (6)
NT 965004 Bastle. (See Type-site NY 88 SE 14). A bastle stands on a spur close to Holystone grange. It has a datestone dated to 1602 over the doorway, but this may not be in the original position. The whole of the upper storey was rebuilt in the early C20, but part of the roof fell in 1964-5. Vaulted ground floor with doorway in the middle of the east side. (7)
The three-light mullioned windows referred to in report of 29/5/57 are obviously of modern origin, probably added during the restorations of 1904. The majority of the roof has now collapsed only a small section remaining in the south-west. Surveyed at 1:2500. (8)
Grade II* Woodhouses Pele
This pele, or more correctly bastle, is late in date, 1602, but well preserved and it was roofed and conservatively restored by the late F.W. Rich, F.R.I.B.A., whose property it was. Illustrations in NCH 15. (9)
Rectangular building 11.5m x 7.5m, of massive roughly-coursed rubble with squared quoins. Doorway in centre of NE gable end is square-headed with rounded arris to head and jambs, with slab above inscribed 'WP.BP.1602 TAM'. At first floor level two original windows, with holes for iron bars, on south east side and loop in north east end; later doorway in south west end and windows on north west. Steeply pitched gables, with attic loop at north east end. Basement has barrel vault and stair (partly restored) at east corner; first floor has wall cupboards in gable ends and slopstone beneath window on south east. Consolidated and re-roofed c.1900 by F W Rich. The gables are in poor condition; coping partly fallen. Repair works, especially to gables is urgently needed. In the long term this important building may be best preserved by re-roofing. Surveyed in January 1990 for National Park. (10)
Rectified photographic survey undertaken by Northern Archaeological Associates in October/November 1990. Results in SMR, County Hall, Morpeth; report in the shelves of event reports. (11)
Bastlehouse, Grade II*. Dated 1602, though building may be 16th century and datestone an insertion. Mainly roofless - some slates. Two storeys, 37ft x 25ft. Interior: tunnel vaulted ground floor. (12)
Woodhouses Pele. A long narrow one-storeyed thatched cottage was built at one end of the house in 18th century. Both in ruin in 1886, restored in 1904. (13)
Bastle, 100m south-west of Holystone Grange. Scheduling revised on 23rd February 1994, new national monument number 20952. A bastle and associated circular structure on the left bank of the River Coquet. The bastle was originally lower and was raised to its present height in the 18th century when an attic above the first floor was added. The bastle was restored and re-roofed in 1904, but is now once again roofless. Attached to the SW end of the bastle is a turf-covered circular structure, the probable remains of a stack stand associated with the use of the bastle. (14)
In the summer of 1993 the bastle was re-roofed in order to safeguard the building with minimum disturbance to its original features. Conservation involved consolidation of the upper walls, extensive repointing of the stonework, erection of new roof timbers, and reslating using salvaged stone slabs. The work was grant aided by English Heritage. (15)
Originally a typical bastle 35 feet by 28 feet with 2 storeys. Stone stairs were added to the SE corner of the ground floor after it was built. The top floor was rebuilt in 1904, but the roof collapsed in 1964-5. Restored in 1992-4. Listed by Cathcart King and by Dodds. (16a, b)
FIELD OBSERVATION, Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigation 1970; D Smith
FIELD OBSERVATION, Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigation 1976; S Ainsworth
ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY, Woodhouses Bastle, Harbottle 1990; Northern Archaeological Associates
BUILDING SURVEY, Woodhouses Bastle 1990
HISTORIC AREA ASSESSMENT, Holystone Village Atlas ; The Archaeological Practice Ltd
Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.