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Edinburgh Castle, No. 2 Water Tower

No Class (Event)

Site Name Edinburgh Castle, No. 2 Water Tower

Classification No Class (Event)

Canmore ID 187600

Site Number NT27SE 1.49

NGR NT 2511 7352

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/187600

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT27SE 1.49 2511 7352

NT 2511 7352 A watching brief was undertaken in December 2000 and January 2001 while Historic Scotland personnel undertook the excavation of a complex of pipe trenches in and around the No. 2 Water Tower, as part of a programme of replacing and upgrading the pipes to and from the main water tanks.

Both areas under observation in the present works have been massively affected by a continual process of pipe and cable insertions. All the present works seem to follow existing trench lines, and no structures or finds of an archaeological nature were discovered.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Stewart and G Ewart 2001

Activities

Watching Brief (22 September 1998 - 23 September 1998)

A watching brief was carried out over the two days of the 22nd and 23rd of September 1998 while a series of seven test pits were excavated within the confines of the largest of two adjacent water towers situated in the upper part of Edinburgh Castle.

The tower consisted of a reused masonry structure 11.50m along each side forming a roughly squared structure into which had been inserted a vast iron water tank. Following the disuse of this facility the roof of the building had been removed and the tank cut up and lifted out. The result was to expose the foundation of the water containment which consisted of five concentric rings of masonry standing approximately 1m above a soil infill layer and occupying the whole of the interior of the building. A narrow gap existed in each ring of masonry at a point towards the NE allowing access to the underside of the tank for purposes of repair.

The various excavations within the old water tower building have revealed that in order to put in place massive foundations for an extremely heavy water tank it was considered essential that the masonry was founded in all places on bedrock. The extent of the foundations required that all internal deposits in the building be removed prior to construction of masonry. Perhaps a few small areas of original early occupation material survived this activity, as in trench 1, but in general terms the inside of the building was cleared in totality. Following the building of the concentric rings of foundation masonry, dated to the first decade of this century, the gaps between the rings were filled up with imported soil to a level 900mm below the wall tops. This level coincided with the highest point of the natural bedrock as seen in trench 4.

The excavations have proven that there is no great depth of infill to be removed within the square water tower. To be precise the bedrock comes to within 300mm of the general walking surface within the two towers. The greatest depth from the same surface is 1280mm. Consequently any plan to substantially lower the floor level of this building will require quarrying of the bedrock.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology 1998

Watching Brief (29 November 2000 - 18 January 2001)

NT 2511 7352 A watching brief was undertaken in December 2000 and January 2001 while Historic Scotland personnel undertook the excavation of a complex of pipe trenches in and around the No. 2 Water Tower, as part of a programme of replacing and upgrading the pipes to and from the main water tanks.

Both areas under observation in the present works have been massively affected by a continual process of pipe and cable insertions. All the present works seem to follow existing trench lines, and no structures or finds of an archaeological nature were discovered.

D Stewart and G Ewart 2001

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology

Excavation (4 November 2013 - 22 November 2013)

NT 2512 7349 An integrated programme of test trenching,

standing building recording and survey over exposed areas of

bedrock was completed at intervals between 5 June and 25 November 2013.

The earliest features recorded were traces of eroded rock-cut features comprising slots and crudely-squared cuts thought to predate mid-16th century masonry. The masonry and other remnants of defensive features were thought to range from the mid-16th century to the late 18th century, over which the first of the works to install water towers were carried out in the mid-19th century, with further work on new water towers in the early 1900s.

A Radley 2014

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology

Standing Building Recording (20 April 2015 - 5 June 2015)

NT 251 734 A programme of standing building recording was carried out, 20 April – 5 June 2015, at Edinburgh Castle. The work focused on a number of key areas of the castle: the Half Moon Battery (including the walling and masonry below), the bedrock, the Guardhouse Building (and adjacent walling,) the Fore Well Tower, the Inner Barrier, the Curtain Wall, the Eastern Approach Wall, the Lang Stair, the Portcullis Gate, the Dog Cemetery, Mills Mount Wall, and the South

Water Tank.

Between 1450–1573 the upper part of the Fore Well Tower was constructed, alterations were made to the Portcullis Tower (including the turnpike stair), and David’s Tower was modified to accommodate artillery defences. The outwork below the Fore Well Tower was enhanced, the Inner Barrier created and repairs to the Curtain Wall effected. Repairs were also made to the Lang Stair.

From 1573–1610, the Half Moon Battery was constructed, along with the eastern facade of the Portcullis Gate. The N wall of the Portcullis Gate was thickened, and there were repairs to the Curtain Wall.

Between 1610–1780 an upper storey was added to the Portcullis Gate, and a wall was constructed on the gate’s eastern approach.

From 1780–1850, the water tanks below the Half Moon Battery were constructed, a boundary wall was built on Mills Mount, and the Dog Cemetery (as a place of burial) came into being.

Between 1850–1950, the upper part of the Portcullis Gate was restored (including the replacement of the royal coat of arms). A gun port was opened on the Half Moon Battery, and the Kirkcaldy of Grange memorial was emplaced.

Gordon Ewart and Dennis Gallagher 2015

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology

References

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