Ancient Monuments

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Blacklaw Tower, associated buildings and enclosures

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.3455 / 55°20'43"N

Longitude: -3.4962 / 3°29'46"W

OS Eastings: 305211

OS Northings: 606733

OS Grid: NT052067

Mapcode National: GBR 460M.WM

Mapcode Global: WH5V7.8WCZ

Entry Name: Blacklaw Tower, associated buildings and enclosures

Scheduled Date: 15 March 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8659

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: tower

Location: Moffat

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument consists of the remains of Blacklaw tower-house, its outbuildings and enclosures, which together represent a substantial late medieval upland estate centre. The monument is situated in a forestry clearing towards the head of the slope on the right bank of the Blacklaw Burn.

The estate is first documented in the early 14th century when granted by Robert I to David Lindsay. The estate subsequently passed to the Herries of Terregles, to the Maxwells and finally to the Johnstones. During this time the estate appears to have been subdivided with small estate centres at Mellingshaws and Raeclaeuch.

At the core of the estate centre is a tower, measuring 9.7m by 7.5m over walls 1.7m thick constructed of random rubble externally built to a course. It is probably 16th-century in date, and has been reduced to its vaulted ground floor and a fragment of the first floor. The entrance, now obscured by a build-up of earth and rubble, was towards the NE end of the SE wall. It opened to the basement and, immediately on entering, to a newel stair contrived in the E angle of the tower giving access to the first-floor hall. At first-floor level the only visible feature is a mural window recess central to the SE wall. The recess is internally splayed with stone seats and a high-level slit window. To the SE of the tower-house there are the remains of a substantial building, probably a kitchen range. The SE wall incorporates a substantial fireplace.

A substantial stone-walled enclosure is situated to the E of the tower. The enclosure is roughly square on plan (46m by 43m overall) separated from the tower by a hollowed trackway. The enclosure wall, double-skinned with a rubble core, is massively constructed. A natural terrace divides the interior of the enclosure into two levels. A number of buildings, all reduced to their wall footings, are arranged around the enclosure. The most substantial is situated parallel to the NW wall of the enclosure, and may have been a hall.

To the NE of this enclosure, between it and the burn, there are the turf-covered remains of a substantial rectangular building with rounded outer angles and an entrance central to its NW long-wall. To the NE of this building there are the surviving abutments of a small bridge that crossed the Blacklaw Burn.

On the NW side of the tower-house there is a subsidiary enclosure (up to 21m by 18m) defined by a turf-and-stone bank up to 1m thick and 0.3m high. This bears close comparison with the form of barmkin attached to other towers in the area such as Mellingshaw. On the exterior face of the wall there is the remains of a lean-to building which has been terraced into the slope. To the W of this enclosure there are the remains of a two-compartment building, probably a kiln-barn, and further W there are the remains of a bowl-kiln. To the SE, and on the opposite bank of the burn, there are the remains of a large elongated structure (27m by 4m) with a small enclosure to the SW.

The area to be scheduled includes the towerhouse, the associated enclosures and buildings, and a surrounding area, which has the potential for associated archaeology. The area is irregular in shape and has maximum dimensions of 230m from its northwestmost to its southeastmost corner and 215m from its northeastmost to its southwestmost corner, as marked in red on the attached map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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