Ancient Monuments

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Gillesbie Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.2147 / 55°12'52"N

Longitude: -3.3033 / 3°18'12"W

OS Eastings: 317170

OS Northings: 591933

OS Grid: NY171919

Mapcode National: GBR 58C4.MH

Mapcode Global: WH6X7.7676

Entry Name: Gillesbie Tower

Scheduled Date: 1 November 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10433

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Hutton and Corrie

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises Gillesbie Tower, also known as Gilsbie Tower, which is of late medieval date, visible as an upstanding ruin. The monument is situated on the W bank of the Dryfe Water at about 142m OD.

A branch of the Grahams of Mosskeswra appear to have settled in Gillesbie, 5km to the SSW of Mosskeswra, by the second half of the 15th century; John de Graham 'of Gillenbie' first appears on record in 1474. By the early 16th century the Gillesbie Grahams had become clan leaders and James Graham of Gillesbie acquired Mosskeswra in about 1540. 'Gilsbie' tower is first recorded on Aglionby's Platte in 1590.

The monument is situated upon a steep, rocky bank. The SE approach was defended by the Dryfe Water; on all other sides the tower was protected by a D-shaped rampart (which survives to a maximum height of 3m) and outer ditch. These defences are likely to date to the 15th century, associated with the first tower on this site which was most probably constructed of timber. It is also possible, however, that the earthwork represents the remains of a 12th century motte.

Gillesbie Tower is representative of lesser masonry towers from an early period, and was built possibly in the very early 16th century. It is unusually large and has very thick walls (some 2m wide), when compared with other towers from this period. In this it is more comparable to smaller towers of the preceding century. It is subrectangular on plan, being provided with rounded corners built of additional rubble. This was probably due to the difficulty of fashioning quoins from the local greywacke. The basement may have been vaulted, but this cannot be determined given its present condition. The maximum height of the extant walls is about 4m at the S corner, in which survives a garderobe chute. The faint remains of an outbuilding or inner court are visible to the NE of the tower.

The last Graham on record is James of Gillesbie in 1635 and the tower was abandoned shortly thereafter. The road, which bisects the mound, probably dates from the 19th century, and a plantation abuts the NE side of the ditch. A medial cut across the bank midway around its NW circuit is the result of modern disturbance, but may be on the site of the original entrance.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is irregular in plan with maximum dimensions of 65m NNE-SSW and 41m ESE-WNW, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The SE side of the area to be scheduled is defined by the bank edge, the N side by the plantation boundary, and the NW and SW sides by a 10m buffer zone from the outer edge of the ditch. The top 300mm of all road surfaces is excluded from the scheduling to allow for routine maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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