Ancient Monuments

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Lennox Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Pentland Hills, City of Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.89 / 55°53'24"N

Longitude: -3.3226 / 3°19'21"W

OS Eastings: 317375

OS Northings: 667109

OS Grid: NT173671

Mapcode National: GBR 507B.GF

Mapcode Global: WH6SX.X6ZZ

Entry Name: Lennox Tower

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6200

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: tower

Location: Currie

County: City of Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Pentland Hills

Traditional County: Midlothian

Description

This monument consists of the remains of a 15th-century tower house on a small promontory with associated defensive ditches and banks. The remains stand to the top of the first storey on the NW and SW sides only, the other two sides remaining as footings only. The ground floor of the tower is entered by a round-headed door with holes for a draw bar to the north end of the NW wall.

Three barrel-vaulted cellars, connected by doors at the NW end of each, lay side by side filling this floor. Access to the upper floors was provided by a turnpike stair at the N corner. The first floor consisted of a large barrel-vaulted hall with a fireplace at the SW end. In the NW wall there is a window recess and an aumbry with a shelf. The SW wall contains two flues.

These may have been for a twin-flued hall fireplace or one may have continued down to the ground floor. Around the tower, there are traces of banks at the top of the slope down to the Water of Leith and a 2m deep ditch to the SE to defend against attack from the S. The area thus enclosed on the promontory is likely to be archaeologically rich with traces of other buildings probably lying below the ground level.

The area to be scheduled is bounded on the SW and the NE by small streams, to the SE by the garden boundary and to the NW 2m beyond the top of the slope down to the river. The area is irregular in shape measuring a maximum of 80m N-S by 100m E-W as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because, although missing two walls, it gives a clear indication of the layout of the lower two floors of a fine 15th-century tower house. The masonry is of a very high quality, approaching ashlar rather than the usual rubble build. This quality is echoed in the fine barrel vault which covered the hall and the barrel vaults over the window and door recesses. The corner staircase rising to the first floor is not common for a building of this size and date when an external stair is more common in linking the ground floor with the hall above.

The tower is said to have been a popular residence of the Stewart King up to James IV, a story which is consistent with quality of the masonry. In addition to the building's architectural merits, the surrounding area may well contain evidence of ancillary buildings and defences which could contribute to the understanding of the domestic and defensive arrangements of a prestigious late-medieval stronghold.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT 16 NE 14.

Reference:

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Vol. 3, 224, Edinburgh.

RCAHMS (1929) Inventory of Midlothian and West Lothian, 57, No. 67, Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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