Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset


Bastle (Medieval)

Site Name Bite-about

Classification Bastle (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Printonan Hill; West Printonan; Bite-about Pele

Canmore ID 58483

Site Number NT74NE 2

NGR NT 7838 4673

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Eccles
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Accessing Scotland's Past Project

The remains of a fortified house dating from the sixteenth or seventeenth century are situated in a field on Printonan Hill, north of West Printonan farmsteading.

All that remains of this rectangular building are fragments of lime-mortared walls, which stand to a height of approximately 2m. At the west end, traces of the barrel-vaulted ceiling can be seen, and a small projection for a staircase is visible on the north side.

This bastle house would originally have been two or three storeys high, with the ground floor used for storage or for housing animals. The name Bite-About reportedly comes from a time when the house was under siege, and the occupants shared their meagre provisions by taking alternate bites of what food was left.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project

Archaeology Notes

NT74NE 2 7838 4673.

(NT 7838 4673) Bite-about (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6"map, (1957).

Only fragments of the basement walls, showing no sign of vaulting, remain of a keep or bastel house, measuring 64' by 23', with 3'6" thick walls, with a projecting wing on the N near the NE end, 11' square. According to the ONB, this is supposed to have been a peel, deriving its name from an occasion when, beseiged by the English, its occupants ran short of provisions, and to divide what little they had equally, they took 'bite-about'.

RCAHMS 1915; Name Book 1857.

The remains of Bite-about, name confirmed locally, probably a late bastel-house (cf. Queen Mary's House, Jedburgh) of 16th century date, measure 17.8m NE-SW x 5.0m transversely within walls 1.1m thick. The wing shows indications of a stairway. The remains consist of roughly coursed lime-mortared masonry standing to a maximum height of 2.0m. At the west end is the springing of a barrel vault.

Revised at 1/2500.

Visited by OS(RD) 26 November 1970.


Field Visit (23 October 1908)

139. ‘Bite-About’, Printonan Hill.

At the north-east end of Printonan Hill, and some 500 yards north of West Prilltonan farm, are the scanty remains of a keep or bastel house. Its dimensions have been 64 feet long by 23 feet wide, with a projecting wing on the north near the north-east end 11 feet square. Only fragments of the basement walls remain, showing no signs of vaulting. The walls are 3 feet 6 inches thick.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 23rd October 1908.

OS Map: Ber., xxii. SE.

Sbc Note

Visibility: Upstanding building, which may not be intact.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions