Ancient Monuments

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Windydoors Farm, Bastle

A Scheduled Monument in Tweeddale East, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.6488 / 55°38'55"N

Longitude: -2.9043 / 2°54'15"W

OS Eastings: 343187

OS Northings: 639843

OS Grid: NT431398

Mapcode National: GBR 8353.0W

Mapcode Global: WH7WF.C87X

Entry Name: Windydoors Farm, Bastle

Scheduled Date: 16 May 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13691

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: bastle

Location: Caddonfoot

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale East

Traditional County: Selkirkshire



The monument comprises the remains of a bastle likely to date to the late 16th century. The bastle is built into a 19th century steading located in the Tweed Valley, on a south-facing slope above Caddon Water and Stantling Crag Reservoir.

The building is rectangular, measuring about 15m by 8m externally, orientated east-west. The gable walls stand to two storeys in height and the ground floor is vaulted. The upper storey has been dismantled over the long walls, and a row of flat stone slates suggests that the vault was covered by a secondary roof at some point. At ground floor level, towards the western end of the southern wall, is a doorway with a surround decorated with roll moulding which may have been moved to this location from elsewhere in the building. Internally, the door opening has a socket to take a draw bar, and is recessed to allow the door only to open inwards. Also at ground floor level, towards the eastern end of the building, are two vertical slit openings, one in the southern and one in the northern wall. A hatch opening is present in the top of the vault. Later openings in the eastern and western gable walls open into adjacent sheds. At first floor level, there is a small, square window in the eastern gable, again with a simple roll moulding. 

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the more modern farm steading buildings which abut the bastle and the top 30cm of the track to the north to allow for maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The monument is a rare example of a well-preserved bastle, which retains many original features despite being incorporated into post-medieval farmsteading. Although the first floor is fragmentary, the structure retains features typical of bastle construction including the ground floor slit openings, small gable window at first floor level, vault and vault hatch and roll-moulded door with a draw bar socket. It also provides evidence of the use, reuse and development of the building, illustrating political and economic changes in the Borders during the late medieval and modern periods.

The building shows some structural evidence of multiple phases of use and alteration. The walls appear to have been of one consistent build, but differences in the masonry around the ground floor doorway suggests that the door surround is secondary. It may originally have come from a first floor entrance which would have been reached by a forestair. The surround was presumably relocated when the upper storey was lowered. Similar moulding fragments built into the shed to the east of the bastle suggest that the incorporation of the bastle into the steading may have involved re-using of other architectural details of the same period, and could have been the date of the insertion of the door. Further analysis of the structure could provide important information on the chronological development of the site.

To the north of the building, the farm road is around 1m higher than the internal floor level of the building, potentially preserving stratigraphic relationships between the bastle and surrounding archaeological deposits. Within the interior of the building and under the later surfacing of the farmyard, there is potential for stratigraphic survival, although archaeological deposits in these areas may be truncated by later clearance and cleaning.

Although the architectural details suggest that the bastle dates from the late 16th century, documentary references and map evidence demonstrate the importance of the settlement from the 15th century onwards, with a sharp decline in its eminence in the 18th century. The earliest record of Windiduris dates from 1456, when it was held in feu by William Kerr of 'Sesford' (modern Cessford), and the site was mapped from the early 17th century, by Robert and James Gordon, probably based on Pont's late 16th century survey.

Contextual Characteristics

The building is a rare Scottish example of a well-preserved bastle, which has not been incorporated into a later domestic building. Although bastles are relatively common south of the border, there are few surviving examples north of the border, and only six scheduled examples, all of which are ruinous, for example Wintercleugh (scheduled monument reference SM5279) and Windgate (scheduled monument reference SM5257). Other bastles survive incorporated into later domestic buildings, for example Old Gala House (listed building reference LB31973), but these are much altered. Despite the downtaking of the long walls of Windydoors, and its incorporation into a later agricultural steading, the structure retains many of the original and typical features of a bastle.

The site is located close to the highest point of a natural north – south route leading from the Tweed Valley to the Gala Water, strategically placed with clear views to the south and west. It is in a rural upland location which is unusual for a Scottish bastle.

Its late medieval importance is emphasised by the fact that it was held in feu directly a prominent Borders family, the Kerrs of Cessford, presumably to ensure control of a key route in the landscape. Following the Act of Union in 1707, its importance clearly diminished, and this would appear to be reflected in the construction of a planned farm and the incorporation of the bastle into the steading, as shown on the 1st edition 6" to 1 mile Ordnance Survey map of 1863.

Associative Characteristics

Windydoors has associations with the Kerr family who, according to the Old Statistical Account of Scotland were granted a charter to Cessford, one of the strongest and most important Border castles, in 1446. The Kerr family went on to become the Dukes of Roxburghe and one of the most important land owning families in the Scottish Borders. Ten years later, by 1456, they are on record as holding the three 'stedes of Windidurris' (Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol. VI, 223-5).

The settlement is first mapped as Windidurrs on Gordons' map of the Clyde and Tweed Basins (1636-52).  It then appears on Blaeu's Atlas of Scotland (1654), and

Moll's map of the North Part of Roxburgh and the Shire of Selkirk (1745).  However, although marked as a settlement, it is not named on Roy's Military Survey of Scotland (1747-55). It is shown and named on Ainslie's map of Selkirkshire (1773) as a small settlement, not marked as a large house or tower, suggesting that by this time, the bastle was no longer used as a residence.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national important as it contributes to our understanding of late medieval and post-medieval fortified houses, as well as the wider society of the Borders during this period of significant change. The site is a well-preserved example of its type and retains significant architectural features which allow for a good understanding and appreciation of the form and function of the building. Windydoors is a modest structure in comparison to most contemporary tower houses, and demonstrates the importance of even small-scale fortifications in the control of the Border areas. There are few such structures surviving in Scotland, and the monument's location some distance to the north of the Border itself, and distant from Cessford Castle, to which it was linked, indicates the extent of the Kerrs' land holding and influence in the Borders. It therefore has the potential to contribute significantly to our understanding of the nature of lordship in this area and also the changing relationships between Scotland and England, prior to and around the period of the Union of the Crowns. Due to the rarity of this monument type in Scotland, the loss of, or damage to, the monument would impact on the ability of bastles as a monument type to contribute to our understanding of the past, particularly in relation to the Anglo-Scottish Border in the late medieval and early modern periods.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number 54398 (accessed on 05.03.18).

Anderson, M L. (1967) A history of Scottish forestry, 2v. Edinburgh. Page(s): Vol. 2, 595 RCAHMS Shelf Number: C.2.1.AND

Ainslie, J. (1773) Map of Selkirkshire or Ettrick Forest, National Library of Scotland (accessed 05.03.18)

Blaeu, J. 1654 Tvedia cum vicecomitatu Etterico Forestae etiam Selkirkae dictus, [vulgo] (accessed 05.03.18)

Coventry, M. (2008) Castles of the Clans: the strongholds and seats of 750 Scottish families and clans. Musselburgh. Page(s): 308 RCAHMS Shelf Number: F.5.21.COV

Cruft, K., Dunbar, J. and Fawcett, R. (2006) The Buildings of Scotland – Borders. London: Yale University Press. Page(s): 49, 762-3.

Gordon, R. 1636-52 A Map of the Clyde and Tweed Basin, National Library of Scotland, (accessed 05.03.18)

Moll, H. 1745 The North Part of ye Shire of Roxburgh and the Shire of Selkirk called also Etterick Forrest (accessed 05.03.18)

RCAHMS. (1957) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. An inventory of the ancient and historical monuments of Selkirkshire with the fifteenth report of the Commission. Edinburgh. Page(s): 37, No. 15 RCAHMS Shelf Number: A.1.1.INV/15

Roy, 1747-55 Roy Military Survey, British Library Maps C.9.b 7/4f (accessed 05.03.18)


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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