Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Blacket House Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.0581 / 55°3'29"N

Longitude: -3.1862 / 3°11'10"W

OS Eastings: 324330

OS Northings: 574378

OS Grid: NY243743

Mapcode National: GBR 696Y.0M

Mapcode Global: WH6Y2.1426

Entry Name: Blacket House Tower

Scheduled Date: 28 October 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10431

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Middlebie

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises Blacket House Tower, also known as Blackwood House, which is of medieval date, visible as an upstanding ruin. The monument is situated on a plateau above the W bank of the Kirtle Water at about 80m OD.

John Bell of Blackwoodhouse is on record in 1459 and 1465, the Bell family having settled near Middlebie at the beginning of the 15th century. Blacket House Tower appears to date from the second half of the 16th century; William 'Red-Cloak' Bell is documented as being of 'Blacathous' in 1583/4. Its situation provides commanding views along the Kirtle Water from Old Kirkconnel to Wyseby and Bonshaw, which allowed the Bells to keep a watchful eye on their Irving and Graham neighbours. The tower is depicted on the Aglionby's Platte as 'Ye Blacketthowse' in 1590, and on the Pont map as 'Black-wood hous' in c.1595-96.

Evidence suggests that the building was originally rectangular in plan, comprising three storeys and a garret; the ground floor and a substantial portion of the S wall appear to date from the original construction. The walls are 1.2m thick and the ground floor was most probably vaulted. Atypically, the entrance appears to have been located at the SW end of the SE wall rather than as part of the wheelstair at the E corner.

The stair wing is likely to date to the early 17th century, forming an L-plan and superseding the original entrance with an unusual double rebate for an iron yett and wooden door and also a substantial drawbar slot. Part of a parapet remains, but it is unclear if it followed the form of the 16th century tower. One of its openings on its SE elevation was probably enlarged at this time. Some linear features are visible beneath the lawn to the SW which may indicate the presence of further ranges.

It is likely that the tower was enlarged in 1663: a lintel bearing this date, with the initials IB and II for John Bell and Jean Irving, was later re-used. Only part of the S wall of the extension remains, set at an angle to the W corner. Further work appears to have taken place in the early 18th century given the existence of a 1714 datestone. The tower was sold in 1775 and changed hands on a number of occasions subsequently. When Blacket House was built to its immediate SW in 1835, the tower was described as being 'ruinous'. It was then converted into a folly and the datestones built into a 'doorway' situated to the W of the tower. Later, pigeonholes were added to the stair wing to create a doocot, whilst a study conversion dates to about 1950.

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 67.5m WNW-ESE and 64.5m NW-SE, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The NE side is defined by the cliff edge, the SW side and SW part of the SE side by the gravel driveway and the NW side by a slight boundary feature in the lawn. The surfaces of all paths, to a depth of 300mm, is excluded from the scheduling to allow for routine maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.