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Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Snar

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 46452

Site Number NS82SE 8

NGR NS 8625 2000

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Crawfordjohn
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS82SE 8 8625 2000.

(NS 8625 2000) Peel (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1957)

Carlisle notes that the remains of an old castle (referred to by Murray as a peel or tower), two vaults of which were still inhabited in 1813, stand on a peninsular rock at Snar. By 1858 nothing remained except a portion of an old wall of great thickness and about 3ft in height which forms part of a wall around a sheep fold (Name Book 1858).

G V Irving and A Murray 1864; Carlisle 1813

This alleged peel, situated on a small spur overlooking the burn, is now almost completely overgrown. All that remains is a small chamber, 4.0m square with lime mortared walls 0.6m thick and 1.0m maximum height. There are slight traces of an extension of the west wall, possibly forming a second chamber, and 5.0m to the north west is a further fragment of a mortared wall. Immediately to the east is a ruined wall, certainly later in origin and probably part of the sheepfold mentioned in the Ordnance Survey Name Book (ONB).

The building of the sheepfold and the possible collapse of walling into the burn would appear to account for the poor state of preservation of this feature and should it be the remains of a peel-tower as supported by the documentary evidence, its period is likely to be of the 15th or 16th century.

Visited by OS (BS) 2 August 1978

Limited excavation of this much disturbed site produced no conclusive evidence as to its architectural style. The plan at ground level was established showing two phases of construction.

(1) A rectangular building 7.9m by 5.9m, the walls 1.2m thick standing to a height of 1.2m above the floor surface. A possible entrance on the SE corner of the E wall.

(2) An additional room built on the S end, the E walls of both phases being in line, this room measures 4m by 5m, the walls are 1m thick and 1.2m high, and an entrance exists in the NE corner. The floor surface in phase 1 is the natural bedrock but in the phase 2 area two separate cobble types are noted, an irregular patch and a level patch which leads to a drain which discharges through the W wall.

The existing structure is random rubble greywacke; no dressed sandstone is evident. The OSA notes that both chambers were barrel vaulted and were entire in 1793. There are associated enclosures and other foundations nearby.

T Ward 1983; 1986.


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