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Horneystead Bastle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Hornestead; Wark in Tyndale 2

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: NY81487730
Latitude 55.08983° Longitude -2.29168°

Horneystead Bastle has been described as a probable Pele Tower, and also as a probable Bastle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The bastle at Horneystead survives reasonably well and is a good example of its type. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of other bastles in the vicinity, taken together they will add to our knowledge and understanding of post medieval settlement.
The monument includes the remains of a bastle, a form of defended farmhouse, situated in a commanding defensive position on a rocky elevation above the Warks Burn to the south. The bastle is rectangular in shape and measures 11.9m by 7m externally with walls of large roughly coursed rubble 1.3m-1.5m thick. Only the lower parts of the bastle are standing with walls up to 4.5m high. The original square headed doorway giving access into the ground floor basement is situated in the centre of the west wall. It has a rebated surround with a relieving arch over and is furnished with a draw bar tunnel and a hanging socket for a door. A slit window, now blocked, is visible in the western end of the south wall. The first floor of the bastle which has now collaped into the interior was carried on a barrel vault, traces of which can be seen within the rubble. A drawing of the bastle in 1940 shows the western part of the vault still standing. The bastle was apparently inhabited until the mid 19th century when the present farm complex surrounding the bastle was built. The two stone walls which adjoin the bastle at the east and west sides and the fence line which runs from the north wall are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included. (Scheduling Report)

The pele at Hornestead was occupied in 1658 (Dodds 1940)
NY 81477730. Remains of a pele-tower situated on a rocky elevation and separated from overlooking ground to the north by low-lying ground. The walls measure 11.8m east to west by 7.1m north to south and up to 4.5m in height. They are 1.5m thick (F1 ASP 15-OCT-1956).
Late 16th-early 17th century bastle, massive rubble, roughly coursed. A ruined bastle in a position carefully chosen for defence. It stands on the very edge of a rocky outcrop. The west gable end stands to about 15 feet but the other sides are much lower. The ground floor doorway is in the west gable; it has a rebated surround with a relieving arch over. The interior is largely filled with rubble but the springing of the collapsed vault can be seen. On the north side there are two window slits (Grundy 1987).
Solitary form bastle, measures 11.8 x 7m, with walls 1.3m thick. Byre entrance in long wall; first floor form - vault (Ryder 1990). (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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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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