The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Old Evistones Peels and Defended Village

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY83009691
Latitude 55.26483° Longitude -2.26822°

Old Evistones Peels and Defended Village has been described as a certain Bastle, and also as a certain Urban Defence.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


(Name centred NY 83099674) Peels (Remains of) (Centred NY 83039678) Old Evistones (Applies to a group of what appear to be the remains of houses, possibly a small village) (OS 6 inch 1921-47).
Pele and strong houses at Evistones (Hadcock 1939).
At Evistones there are the ruins of six or seven small peels, the vault of one of which is still (1827) used as a cow house. They are all rudely built of heavy sandstones. On the east side of this deserted village long lines of stones, taken up in tilling, lie between the cultivation ridges. At one place in particular, called Carnheads, querns have been found among the many heaps and rows of stones (Hodgson 1827).
Evestones, the deserted village built some time in the 15th century, was inhabited at least as late as 1693, and now consists of a ruined tower with ruined houses and walls, for Evestones was a strongly-walled place. Part of the old tower still stands, built of roughly trimmed stones, and with a vaulted chamber (Brown 1934).
Area centred NY 83029677. The remains of a deserted village situated upon an area of level ground against a north-east facing slope of pasture moorland, and just below the highest point, overlooking the valley of the River Rede to the north-west, north-east and south-east. The remains comprise a pele tower, cottage steadings, garths and enclosure banks. The walling is in all cases well preserved, ranging in height from ground level to 0.8m and having a varying thickness of 0.8m-1.6m. The pele tower, situated at NY 83059677, has ground dimensions of 7.5m by 10.7m, and a maximum height of 3.5m. The walling averages 1.6m thick. The ground floor is tunnel vaulted. Half the roofing has collapsed and the intact portion has been walled-off, a doorway inserted and the interior used for a cow byre. It cannot be ascertained how many storeys the original building contained. No stairway is visible without the pele, or within its walls.
The surrounding area to the village is covered with rig and furrow plough lines, and cultivation demarcation banks, doubtless contemporary with the village.
The excellent condition of the remains suggests this to be a late desertion, the reason for which has not been ascertained but is possibly industrial. There is an adequate water supply 150m to the north-west, a small stream, 400m to the north-east the River Rede.
The field name Carnheads, does not appear to be used. Local enquiries revealed no knowledge of the name. The present location of the querns was not ascertained. Adjacent cultivation terraces are visible centred at NY 93089672 (F1 ASP 27-JUL-1956).
The size and construction of the remains of 'B' and 'C' suggest a similar type of building to 'A' (that to which RCHM refers at NY 83059677), but too little exists for positive classification. Due to the close proximity of these substantial remains the classification of 'A' as a bastle rather than a peel would appear more likely (F3 SA 25-MAY-1977)
Evistones 1, bastle. Rectangular building, 10.5m x 7.5m; walls of coursed roughly-squared stone with some galleting, 1.5-1.6m thick. Jambs of byre entrance with checks for two doors and a drawbar tunnel in centre of east end. West half of semi-circular barrel vault survives; a later cross-wall divides this off from the more ruinous east part of the building. Part of a deserted medieval village.
Evistones 2, probable bastle, 60m north-west of Evistones 1. Rectangular building c.10.5m x 8m, walls of large roughly-squared stone 1.7m thick. Footings and lower courses only. Byre entrance apparently in centre of east end. Part of a deserted village. Evistones 3, probable bastle, 60m north-east of Evistones 1. Rectangular building 12.6m x 7.4m with walls of large roughly-squared stone 1.4m-1.5m thick. West end stands 1.5m high; east part largely grassed over footings. Part of a deserted medieval village (Ryder, P F 5-Jul-1990 Field Investigation).
Evistones 1 survives to a height of 2.8m at the west end, with a semi-circular barrel vault - now utilised as a sheep shelter. Nothing survives of the upper floor. Evistones 3 is a ruin strangely detached from the main group, set further down the hillside. The north end only is represented by a slight mound. There is no clear sign of any entrance (Ryder 1990).
Deserted medieval village at Evistones (NY 830978) was photographed from the air in 1978 (Gates 1978).
Amended on the DCMS Schedule, to SM 32719, on 7-July-1999. The monument includes the remains of a medieval and post-medieval settlement, situated on a north east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Rede. The settlement is visible as remains of a series of rectangular buildings of longhouse form and at least 3 bastles, linked together by walls and placed around a central space, interpreted as an irregularly shaped village green. More than one phase of settlement is represented by the remains at Evistones.
The first bastle, the most prominent feature of the monument, is situated at the north eastern end of the central complex at NY 8305 9677. It is visible as a vaulted, rectangular building measuring 10.5m by 7.5m with walls 1.5m to 1.6m thick of roughly squared stone. The jambs of an original doorway in the centre of the eastern wall are clearly visible. The western half of the original barrel vault remains intact , standing 2.8m high.
The cross wall with a central doorway which is visible today is a later construction related to the re-use of the bastle as a sheepfold. Some 60m north west of the first bastle , forming the north-western edge of the central complex of buildings there is a second bastle, visible as the lower courses of a rectangular building 10.5m by 8m with walls 1.7m thick, constructed of large roughly squared stone. In between the 2 bastles , ranged along the north side of the green are the remains of at least 2 partially overlapping long houses , standing on average 1m high with walls between 1m and 1.5m wide. The remains of at least six further long houses are ranged around the eastern and southern sides of the green; these buildings stand to a maximum height of 1m with walls on average 0.8m thick. Those at south eastern end generally stand less high and are more denuded than the rest. A single building is situated on the village green in a central position with walls 0.3m high and 1.2m thick. The bastles and some of the longhouses have irregularly shaped enclosures attached to them representing the remains of gardens or small fields. These are bounded by stone walls on average 1.5m high.
Some 60m north east of , and detached from, the central complex of the settlement there is a third bastle. This is situated at NY 8308 9680 at the north east corner of a rectangular enclosure. The building is visible as the lower corses of a rectangular building measuring 12.8m by 7.4m and standing to a maximum of 1.5m high. There is a smaller rectangular structure attached to the southern gable of the bastle. The remains of a least 2 additional rectangular structures are visible at the southern end of the enclosure. Surrounding the settlement complex on all sides are the well preserved remains of associated field system. Visible as a series of small fields or furlongs, bounded by low banks (headlands) and ridge and furrow within these fields measuring on average 0.8m between furrows. The furlongs are grouped into at least three larger blocks of land defined by large prominent earthen banks. Within the field system there are the remains of at least 5 further rectangular buildings, some thought to be the remains of agricultural buildings such as barns and hemmels. Evistones settlement and field system survive well and retain significant archaeological deposits.Several phases of settlement are represented and will contribute to our understanding of medieval and later settlement in the Cheviot Margins. The later phase of bastle construction enhances the importance of the monument (Scheduling Report).
A remarkable ruin. It seems to have been a fortified village in the late medieval period. All of the surviving fragments of buildings show signs of having been bastle houses. There are at least six or seven of them, it is difficult to be sure exactly since the ruins are jumbled and somewhat overlaid. Only one stands to more than two feet. One end of it stands to first floor level and half of the ground-floor vault survives. It is a segmental tunnel vault and the broken end of it has been walled in at a later date to form a little shelter. Apart form the footings of all the other bastles, the village ruins reveal that the whole settlement was walled around also. It is a setting which deserved further examination. (Grundy 1987).
Brief building recording of the main standing bastle house at the village site. The wall tops and edges are noted as having vegetation on already; with weak mortar, irregular stones utilised and sheep using the inside of the bastle as a shelter, stone loss already occurring and further likely to continue in the establishment of large-scale vegetation (e.g. trees). General erosion of parts of the village area is also noted in the report (The Conservaton Practice 1999). (Northumberland HER)

Clearly called peels by Hodgson in the sense of peel-houses (what are normal called bastles in modern English archaeological databases). The best preserved had a barrel vault and was probably the best quality house in the hamlet but was not a gentry status peel-tower.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact