Ancient Monuments

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Lee Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Tweeddale East, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6461 / 55°38'46"N

Longitude: -3.0685 / 3°4'6"W

OS Eastings: 332848

OS Northings: 639692

OS Grid: NT328396

Mapcode National: GBR 7304.GV

Mapcode Global: WH6V6.TBZY

Entry Name: Lee Tower

Scheduled Date: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10861

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: pele house, peel tower

Location: Innerleithen

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale East

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

Description

The monument comprises the lower one and a half storeys of a defensible structure that may have been either a small tower house, or perhaps more likely a bastle. It is a rectangular structure of about 9.75m from north-east to south-west and about 7.25m from north-west to south-east, with relatively thin walls of about 1.15m in thickness.

The lowest storey was covered by a barrel vault, of which the springings remain along the side walls, and there was a stair to the upper floor along the east wall, rising to one side of the main entrance through that wall. On the upper storey there is evidence of the partition that separated off the head of the stair from the main body of the hall. Traces of a number of narrow windows are to be seen at the upper level.

The building is now enveloped by farm buildings on three sides, the fourth side, on the west, being largely collapsed. It is possible that the single-storeyed range on the north side of the tower incorporates parts of a barmkin wall.

The structure appears likely to be of late sixteenth century date, and may have been built in the decades after it was granted to Alexander Hume of Coldinknowis by Mark Ker Commendator of Newbattle in 1559, and before ownership of the castle was resumed by the Kers towards the end of the century.

The area to be scheduled corresponds to the ground area of the upstanding part of the monument, being four-sided and measuring a maximum of 10m by 8m, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a fine representative example of the type of small fortified residence that was developed to meet the needs of lesser land-holders in the Borders in the later middle ages and early modern period, at a time when cross-Border raiding encouraged all with property to make some provision for defence of both household and cattle.

As a consequence of the circumstances under which they were built, and the specific evidence they afford for the unsettled conditions of the time, it is important that as many are preserved as possible, so that patterns of distribution as well as architectural forms can be more completely understood.

The tower derives added significance from the fact that it is preserved within a working farm steading, because of the way this illustrates continuity of domestic and agricultural usage.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record this monument as Lee Tower, NT33NW 11.

References:

Buchan J W 1925, HISTORY OF PEEBLESSHIRE, 387-9.

RCAHMS 1967a PEEBLESSHIRE: AN INVENTORY OF THE ANCIENT MONUMENTS, 2v Edinburgh, Vol. 2, 239.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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