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Carsluith Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Galloway and Wigtown West, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.8595 / 54°51'34"N

Longitude: -4.3467 / 4°20'48"W

OS Eastings: 249469

OS Northings: 554156

OS Grid: NX494541

Mapcode National: GBR HHMV.ZN2

Mapcode Global: WH3V2.63DZ

Entry Name: Carsluith Castle

Scheduled Date: 31 December 1921

Last Amended: 29 September 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90062

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Kirkmabreck

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Mid Galloway and Wigtown West

Traditional County: Kirkcudbrightshire


The monument comprises the remains of Carsluith Castle, surviving as a substantial stone structure, along with the courtyard area to the front. The monument is in the care of Historic Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. Carsluith, now beside the A75, stands on a promontory in a commanding position overlooking Wigton Bay to the south, and protected by a natural ravine to the east. The reason for this rescheduling is that no adequate documentation can be traced from the time of the original scheduling in 1921.

At first glance the castle appears to be one of the many L-plan tower houses built by the landed gentry in the years soon after the Reformation in 1560. Its building history however, is more complex, with a probable origin around 1500, as a simple oblong tower owned by the Cairns family, with an original stair within the thickness of the north-west corner. The projecting stair-tower jamb was added around 1568, when the new owners, the Brouns, decided to mark their arrival with a programme of improvements. The arms of the Brouns are carved on a panel above the entrance.

The tower house had four storeys of accommodation, with the hall on the first floor. The addition of the stair tower increased the accommodation and improved circulation within the house. Other improvements at this time included alterations to the battlements, and the construction of a timber gallery on the outside of the north wall, entered from the laird's private apartments on the second floor of the main block. The corbels for this are still visible. The top floor provided additional private chambers. The west jamb of the door leading from the farm court to the castle incorporates a fragment of a medieval grave slab.

Carsluith stayed with the Brouns until 1748, when the estate was sold to Alistair Johnston. The lands passed through several hands before coming into State care in 1913.

The absence of a kitchen within the tower, along with the need for the provision of other ancillary buildings, highlights the archaeological importance of the present courtyard area to the north of the Castle. In this context, the tower itself only represents one half of the picture of the lordly complex. An enclosed barmkin is likely to have existed here, with ranges of buildings including a kitchen and possibly an outer great hall, necessary for the execution of estate business and for entertaining on a more lavish scale. The location of these buildings is now occupied by standing farm steading structures, which do not form part of the scheduling.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described, together with the open courtyard to the north-east. The area proposed for scheduling is larger than that of the property in the care of Historic Scotland. The area is sub-rectangular on plan with maximum dimensions of 33m NE-SW by 22m E-W, as marked in red on the attached map. The modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, as are the upper 250mm of all surfaced paths, yards and garden ground.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well preserved example of a late medieval laird's house. This importance is reinforced by its completeness, allowing a clear understanding of the planning and functioning of such defended houses. The courtyard is likely to contain buried archaeology which has the potential to inform an understanding of the development of associated barmkin structures. The national importance if further underlined by the Castle's status as a property in the care of Historic Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NX45SE1.


Brann J 2001, ?Carsluith Castle, Dumfries and Galloway (Kirkmabreck parish), watching brief?, DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 2, 2001, 26-27.


Stell G 1996, EXPLORING SCOTLAND?S HERITAGE: DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY, Exploring Scotland's Heritage Series, Edinburgh, 113, 2nd ed.

Tranter N 1962-70, THE FORTIFIED HOUSE IN SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 107-8.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Carsluith Castle
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Related Designations

Former steading pavilions flanking Carsluith Castle, including L-plan building to northwest, excluding Scheduled Monument SM90062, Carsluith LB10104
Designation TypeListed Building (C)StatusDesignated

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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