Ancient Monuments

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Buckholm Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Galashiels and District, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.632 / 55°37'55"N

Longitude: -2.8229 / 2°49'22"W

OS Eastings: 348286

OS Northings: 637905

OS Grid: NT482379

Mapcode National: GBR 83Q9.NY

Mapcode Global: WH7WG.LPYV

Entry Name: Buckholm Tower

Scheduled Date: 26 January 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8715

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: tower

Location: Melrose

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Galashiels and District

Traditional County: Roxburghshire


The monument consists of a late 16th century tower-house with a later two storeyed addition to the S elevation. The tower was attached to a rectangular barmkin wall, of which only the S wall now survives. However this stretch preserves the entrance, a wide gateway with a semi-circular arched gateway, moulded with a quirked edge-roll and surmounted by a hood-mould.

In 1547 the lands of Buckholm, once the property of Melrose Abbey, were given by the commendator in liferent to James Hoppringill (Pringle) of Tynnes. In the following Robert Hoppringill of Blyndley and others were charged with treasonably assisting the English and 'keeping' the house of Buckholm. This may refer to an early structure, as a dated lintel believed to have come from Buckholm is dated 1582, with the initials I.P. and N.P., refering to the Pringles. The tower only became ruinous this century, and stands at Old Buckholm on the W side of Buckholm Hill, overlooking Gala Water.

The tower is constructed of whin rubble with numerous pinnings. The dressings of the doors and windows are freestone, on occasion a deep red sandstone. Two of the windows have a have a pilastered detail, similar to the windows at nearby Colmslie tower. A third window has a shaft at each side returning on the lintel to make an ogival head.

The tower is oblong with a shallow wing, which projects E in alignment with the N gable. It is three storeys and an attic in height and measures 10.5m NS by 7m EW. The SE corner of the wing has been chamfered off. The wall head of the tower is simply treated, without a parapet and without crowsteps on the gables.

Originally, the tower had two entrances. The ground floor entrance situated in the re-entrant angle of the wing, leads directly to a vaulted cellar, which still retains its hooks in the vault. There does not appear to have been internal communication between the cellar and the rest of the tower. The first floor entrance would have been reached by a timber forestair. From the entrance lobby, the first floor is reached by a short flight of steps, but from this level upwards the stair has been timber. The accommodation has been subdivided by wooden partitions at a late date, but these may reflect an earlier arrangement of rooms.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular in shape, with maximum dimensions of 40m N-S and 30m transversely to include the upstanding masonry and an area around it, within which associated remains are expected to survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example of a well-preserved 16th century tower house. The archaeology of this monument has the potential to contribute to our knowledge of the construction techniques, defences, domestic life and function of such monuments. Its importance is accentuated by the rare survival of a stretch of barmkin wall containing the gate, and the addition of a later block to the tower.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 43 NE 9.


MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5 Vols., Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 551-552.

RCAHMS (1956) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. An inventory of the ancient and historical monuments of Roxburghshire with the fourteenth report of the Commission, Edinburgh, 2 vols. 294-1, No. 573.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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