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Report - - Riddlehamhope Hall, Northumberland - January 2017 | Residential Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Riddlehamhope Hall, Northumberland - January 2017


Max298

28DL Member
28DL Member
First report (please go easy on me!)

The Explore
On a bitter but beautiful January day four years ago my father and I stumbled upon Riddlehamhope on a dog walk and proceeded to spend about 2 hours noseying about. Access was easy thanks to the ferocious weather having seen to it a while ago that the hall was to no longer have any windows or doors. The year following, sadly, the Hall was pulled down and is now nothing more than a pile of stone and broken timber, so, noticing that it appears to not have featured on here before, thought I should chuck up the (amateurish, I know) photos I took on the day for posterity, if nothing else. I know the quality isn't great but all I had with me was my phone!

The History
The ruins of Riddlehamhope Hall (used to) stand at the head of the Beldon Burn, which plunges down toward the village of Blanchland, across the Nookton and Newbiggin Fells. Just before it reaches the village, the Beldon joins the Nookton Burn and becomes the River Derwent. Prior to it falling out of use Riddlehamhope appears to have been a Victorian Hunting Lodge, most likely servicing the grouse moors in which it sits, though there were features which suggest that the house had much more humble (and historic) beginnings. To the western end there stood the ruins of the oldest apparent section of the building which measured 12m x 7m built of a rubble stone fabric with large roughly shaped angle quoins making up walls which were over one metre thick. One of the walls had the remainder of a slit-vent, formed by large slabs set diagonally through the wall-face. All of the aforementioned suggest that this was a Bastle; a fortified farmhouse synonymous with the area around the Anglo-Scottish border. It is likely that this part of the building dated from the mid-late 16th Century.

Built with security in mind, Bastles were designed as a means of protecting a farmers most valuable stock and (more importantly, surely) his family, from the hordes of Border Reivers who were commonplace in the area between the 13th and 17th Centuries. These were formed of both English and Scottish 'gangs' who pillaged and plundered the largely lawless region in a time when Anglo-Scot relations were at a particular low. The ground floor would have been used to house the livestock, with a substantial wooden floor forming the next level, where the family would reside. Usually, there would be no fixed stairway to the first floor; access being made instead by way of a ladder which would be lifted up at night. Bastle houses were often surrounded by a defensive stone wall known as a Barmkin, inside which other cattle and livestock unable to be fitted inside were kept overnight.

The Eastern portion of the Hall was the only part remaining in any semblance of a building-like state when we visited. Appearing to be of a Victorian construction and covering three storeys, it would certainly once have been a fantastically salubrious residence sited in a tremendous location with far-reaching views. However, its remoteness surely contributed to its ultimate demise, with harsh uninterrupted winds and driving rain (and snow) battering the structure for many years. That and, of course, that someone had seen fit to remove the sizeable stone slabs making up the roof covering...

Sadly, not a shred of information other than that garnered above can be found online. Similarly absent are any photographs of the Hall from before approx. 2010, so this observer can but imagine it in its heyday. Though apparently well beyond saving, I couldn't help but be disheartened by the demolition and loss of such a wonderful structure which, with some (read: s**t loads!) TLC and a shed load of cash thrown at it would have unquestionably made a beautiful home in a stunning location.

The Photos

The OS map from circa 1900:
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Google Earth screenshot showing the extent of the footings:
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Approaching from the East:
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Crumbly...:
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The old kennels for the house - where the shooting/hunting guests retrieving/scenting dogs would have stayed!
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Any ideas anyone?:
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The inside:
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A room with a view:
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And a room without...
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This might have stopped less-determined explorers!
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But not us!
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The view:
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The farm buildings to the right were still in use and so we didn't look round these:
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And Riddlehamhope in Early 2018... such a sorry sight (pilfered from google images, the questionable editing wasn't me, honest!)
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Thanks for looking! Feedback welcome :cool:
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Firstly thank you for posting and following format. Welcome to 28DL. Your report is good & your photos also very pass able. Sad to see such a long history for a building turned into rubble. The stone you asked about looks like a mile stone, telling people how long til next place.

As we`ve had some trouble with the residential sites, properties being complete wrecks, or not abandoned, or up for sale etc, plenty are being removed. If this happens here, please dont be disheartened. Or be put off posting. There is a pinned link in residential section for guidance. It wont be personal.

I hope this doesn't get removed as it does have history from the 16th century, but its admin & mods choice. Anyway lovely views, well formatted report & big welcome
 

clebby

( . Y . )
Regular User
Well I enjoyed the report. It was in surprisingly good condition inside given that it didn’t have a roof!
 

Jane Doe

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Lovely report and great you managed to get your photos before it disappeared ... stunning views :)
 

Max298

28DL Member
28DL Member
Firstly thank you for posting and following format. Welcome to 28DL. Your report is good & your photos also very pass able. Sad to see such a long history for a building turned into rubble. The stone you asked about looks like a mile stone, telling people how long til next place.

As we`ve had some trouble with the residential sites, properties being complete wrecks, or not abandoned, or up for sale etc, plenty are being removed. If this happens here, please dont be disheartened. Or be put off posting. There is a pinned link in residential section for guidance. It wont be personal.

I hope this doesn't get removed as it does have history from the 16th century, but its admin & mods choice. Anyway lovely views, well formatted report & big welcome
Thanks for your kind words! I did have a read through the guidance for Residential but thought thought this place had enough history to be classed as a worthwhile post! Predominantly I just wanted to document the Hall due to the lack of anything about it online already.

Hopefully it stays and can be appreciated by those interested when they come a-looking too!
 

Max298

28DL Member
28DL Member
Well I enjoyed the report. It was in surprisingly good condition inside given that it didn’t have a roof!
Thanks! It was, though I got the impression that it hadn't been roof-less for long.. probably salvaging anything of value before it was demo'd! There were also a few big holes cut into the rafters which looked the right sort of size to crane a bath or two out of...

Personally very surprised it wasn't done up to serve its original purpose - the area has some of the most lucrative grouse moors in the country (Middle-East owned)!
 

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