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Barrhead, Stewart's Rais Tower

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Barrhead, Stewart's Rais Tower

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Tower Of Rais

Canmore ID 43860

Site Number NS55NW 1

NGR NS 5090 5944

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Renfrewshire
  • Parish Neilston (Renfrew)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Renfrew
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS55NW 1 5090 5944

(NS 5090 5944) Stewart's Rais Tower (NR) (Site of)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1974)

The Tower of Rais, later known as Stewart's Rais, was built some time between 1437 and 1449 by the Stewarts of Darnley. It was square in form with very thick walls. In the centre was an archway like that at Crookston Castle (NS56SW 4) which extended over the whole breadth of the interior. It was used as a hunting lodge by the Darnley family. Taylor (1832) notes that several years before 1832, it was partly demolished to provide material for houses in the vicinity. It was completely removed in the 1930's, the remainder of its stones being used for road bottoming.

Welsh (information from T C Welsh to OS, 13 September 1973) notes that the farmer at Dubbs (NS 516 590) states that stones from this tower are incorporated in the farm buildings.

C Taylor 1832; R Murray 1942; J McWhirter 1970.

The site of this tower is represented by a flat, circular area, approximately 13m in diameter, in a naturally undulating field.

No surface finds or traces of masonry were found.

Visited by OS (J F C) 31 March 1954.

NS 508 594. During June 1999, a watching brief and trial evaluation were carried out at Dovecothall, Barrhead, along

the route of a new foot/cycle path connecting Barrhead with Pollok. The proposed area of the Levern Water Cycle/Walkway contains the remains of a 15th-century tower house known as Stewart's Rais Tower. The cycle path's construction slot partially exposed the base of the tower house. This was recorded in detail and carefully backfilled. The cycle route was diverted to avoid the area of archaeological significance. (GUARD 744).

Sponsor: East Renfrewshire Council.

M Donnelly 1999.


Publication Account (2008)

The name ‘Rais’ was first recorded in the thirteenth century and it seems likely that some form of defensive structure was present by this time. This structure seems to have been replaced by the Darnley family with a tower, built as a hunting residence between 1437 and 1449, that stood until the beginning of the twentieth century. It was a square structure of several storeys and is likely to have been accompanied by ancillary buildings such as stables. An excavation before the construction of a cycle route in 1999 exposed a corner of the tower’s foundations. The excavations suggested that the building may have been accompanied by a smithy.

Information from The Scottish Burgh Survey, Historic Barrhead: Archaeology and Development’, (2008).


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