Ancient Monuments

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Overton Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Jedburgh and District, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.4085 / 55°24'30"N

Longitude: -2.4991 / 2°29'56"W

OS Eastings: 368498

OS Northings: 612844

OS Grid: NT684128

Mapcode National: GBR B5ZX.R0

Mapcode Global: WH8YX.LB53

Entry Name: Overton Tower

Scheduled Date: 24 January 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6833

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: pele house, peel tower

Location: Jedburgh

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Jedburgh and District

Traditional County: Roxburghshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a tower probably of 16th century date, situated on an artificial terrace on the S slopes of Overton Hill, some 700m SSW of Overton Bush.

The monument comprises the remains of an oblong tower or bastle some 10.8m E-W by about 7.2m N-S. It was formerly 2 storeys and an attic in height, each floor containing a single chamber. While both gables are mainly entire, its side walls are greatly reduced. The masonry is rubble, with any freestone dressings torn out. The ground floor entrance appears to be at the S end of the E gable.

On the E side of the tower are the footings of a range of buildings, while further E is the outline of another building. These, together with several field banks in the area, probably form the remains of a later farmstead but may be contemporary with the main structure.

The structure has affinities with the group of monuments typified by the nearby pele-houses or bastles of Mervinslaw and Slack's tower. Overton differs from these structures in that it is built in lime mortar rather than being clay bonded, and that each of the principal floors has a fireplace in the W gable.

This tower is presumably the "strong tower house" erected by Robert Frissel (Fraser) in the last quarter of the 16th century "aunempste the head of Read Water".

The area to be scheduled encompasses the visible remains and an area around them in which traces of associated activity may be expected to survive. It is rectangular with maximum dimensions of 140m E-W by 90m as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a relatively well preserved example of a small, late medieval semi-fortified estate centre, the focus of which was a pele house or bastle. The importance of the site is increased by the unusual construction features of the bastle.

The archaeology of this monument has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the construction techniques, defences, domestic life and function of such monuments. The site's importance is enhanced by its later use as a farmstead.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT 61 SE 9.

Bibliography:

RCAHMS (1956) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland. An inventory of the ancient and historical monuments of Roxburghshire: with the fourteenth report of the Commission, 2v, Edinburgh, 221, No. 437.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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