Stapleton Tower

Country House (19th Century), Garden, Tower House (16th Century)

Site Name Stapleton Tower

Classification Country House (19th Century), Garden, Tower House (16th Century)

Canmore ID 67010

Site Number NY26NW 5

NGR NY 23471 68871

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Dornock
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Annandale And Eskdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NY26NW 5.00 23471 68871

NY26NW 5.01 23555 68837 Stapleton Tower, Corn Drying Kiln

See also:

NY26NW 33.00 2303 6823 Stapleton Grange Farmhouse; Farmsteading

NY26NW 33.01 2322 6832 Stapleton Bar Cottage

NY26NW 33.02 2293 6818 Stapelton Grange Cottages

NY26NW 33.03 22952 68677 Stapleton Lodge

(NY 2347 6887) Tower (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, 1994.

Stapleton Tower, which dates from the 16th century, is a simple oblong building 43 feet by 27 1/2 feet, by 41 feet high to the parapet. A modern mansion abuts on the north east and north west walls of the tower, which has been modernised and is still occupied.


The modern mansion was demolished after the Second World War, but the tower is still entire although derelict.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 1967

No change to previous field report.

Visited by OS (JP) 22 February 1973.

This tower, 13m long by 8.3m wide, was built in the 16th century by the Irvines. The shell of the three storeys over a vaulted basement with a spiral stair in the E corner remains fairly complete.

M Salter 1993.

This 16th-century tower-house stands on a terrace with an open prospect across undulating ground to the Solway. In the 19th century, the tower was incorporated into a mansion which enveloped it on the NW and NE. This house was demolished about forty years ago, and, although the scars still remain and the openings have been built up, the tower still stands to the height of its parapet.

Rectangular on plan, it has three principal storeys and, formerly, a garret, and measures 11.6m from NE to SW by 8.6m transversely over walls up to 1.8m thick. A chamfered plinth extends around the base of the tower and breaks back either side of the doorway at the NE end of the Se wall. The doorway, which has a segmental head, has a moulded surround consisting of a quirked edge-roll and hollow, the latter enriched with a foliaceous stem. Above the doorway, at first-floor level, there is a niche for an armorial with nailhead ornament on the surround. A wide-mouthed horizontal gunloop is set directly above the plinth and others are visible at the same level in the NW and SW walls. The mouldings of the main windows take form of a double roll enriched with a medial band of nailhead ornament. The slit-windows lighting the stair, together with a pair beneath the parapet in the SE wall, are roll-moulded. At the height of the wall-head, there is a continuous parapet carried on a three-strand corbel table with corbelled interspaces. At the corners there are corbelled rounds. The crenellated parapet was probably reconstructed in the 19th century.

Internally, the doorway opens into a vestibule with a combed ceiling (probably vaulted), and the entrance to a newel-stair lies on the right; the stair, which has been accommodated in the E angle, rises to the full height of the tower. On each floor the stair-chamber intrudes upon the living-space. A slab wrought with a stopped roll-moulding has been incorporated in re-use in the SW wall of the vestibule behind the door. The basement is vaulted in ashlar, has a mosaic tile floore, and, on the NE, a 19th-century fireplace. At first-floor level, the tower was provided with opposed window embrasures, aumbries, and, in the SW wall, a fireplace flanked by a pair of windows. Corbels (fillet and half round) supported the joisted floors above. The second floor also has a fireplace in the SW wall and an additional window embrasure in the NW wall. On the third floor, the garret, there are a press and two openings in the SE wall. One of the openings accommodates a turnpike stair giving direst access to the wall-head, while the other may have been a closet; both are lit by slit-windows. A small fireplace contrived in the NE wall was vented through a slab of the wall-walk.

To the W of the tower, in open ground and turf-covered, there are traces of a formal garden.

Visited by RCAHMS (IMS), 14 October 1993.

Listed as tower.

RCAHMS 1997.

Architecture Notes


Demolished c.1950

Site Management (30 October 1997)

16th century rectangular-plan tower house converted for inclusion in later 19th century mansion, latter demolished circa 1950, tower remains a roofless shell. 4 storeys. Roughly-squared and coursed large rubble blocks with ashlar dressings. Original gun ports to elevations at low level and splayed base course, 19th century basement windows now blocked; raggles and joist holes at E and slappings to communicate with mansion. Original doorway towards E end of S wall is segmental-arched and has unusual leaf ornament set in architrave moulding (19th century door and iron gate); panel above and principal window openings have dog-tooth ornament separating double roll-moulding. Corbelled bartizans linked by chequer-corbelled parapets, these with rebuilt crenellations. (Historic Scotland)


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