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Torwood Castle

Garden (17th Century)(Possible), Tower House (16th Century)

Site Name Torwood Castle

Classification Garden (17th Century)(Possible), Tower House (16th Century)

Canmore ID 47026

Site Number NS88SW 3

NGR NS 83590 84368

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Falkirk
  • Parish Dunipace
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Falkirk
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS88SW 3 83590 84368

(NS 83590 84368) Torwood Castle (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map (1967)

Torwood Castle appears to have been built in 1566, the date carved on a stone panel found about 1918 in a stone dyke some 200 yds NW of the building, and now in Falkirk Museum. It is L-shaped on plan.

The main building is roofless, but is of particular interest in view of its evident transitional character between castle and mansion; it comprises a vaulted ground floor, a principal floor and an attic. The wing, a square tower with gables at N and S, contains the main stair. The cobbled courtyard was evidently enclosed by three ranges of building, but much of the structure has now vanished.

S of the castle there are traces of what was probably a large kitchen-garden, with some remains of stone foundations, as of a small enclosure, within its W side.

In the Middle Ages the Tor Wood was an area of Royal forest, the office of forester being held from the second half of the 15th century until the mid-17th century by the Foresters of Garden.

RCAHMS 1963, visited 1955

A number of structural features - gateway, door and window openings were uncovered in 1958 by Mr Millar of Torwood, who replaced fallen stones, where they could be identified. Small finds, mainly very late medieval pottery, included a key from an internal door.

D M Hunter 1958.

The castle is as described and planned by the RCAHMS There are several scatters of stone to the S of the castle, but no trace of enclosures. Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (DWR) 22 January 1974

Possible 17th century garden.

N Hynd 1984.

NS 8359 8436 Two rooms in the N range of courtyard buildings of the castle (NMRS NS88SW 3) were excavated down to the levels of the latest floor make-up. The make-up formed part of the extensive terracing of this part of the site. The courtyard was entered through a neatly cobbled pend in the centre of the wing. Room 1 lay to the E of this. In its initial phase Room 1 had an oven of brick construction in its NW corner, surrounded by a paved floor. An internal N-S wooden partition had divided the room in two. This partition was subsequently rebuilt in stone, and the oven moved to its E. Mortar floors covered the earlier stone paving.

Room 2 contained a rock-cut well with an arched head. Once into bedrock the shaft expanded to 1.8 x 2.2m. A turner of 1632 was found in the floor make-up associated with the well-head. A stone trough or drain occurred in the SE corner of the room. The S wall of the room was located further S than depicted on earlier plans.

Sponsors: Falkirk Local History Society, Torwood Castle Trust.

G Bailey 1999

Site Management (10 January 1995)

3-4 storey L-plan tower house with a short wing set at right angles to the main block. The small square tower which sits in the re-entrant angle contains the entrance, which is framed by a moulded doorway with a decorative panel and carved shell motif. A large courtyard with a well is situated to the North.

The main building of the castle is assumed to have been built in the years around 1566 on the basis of an inscribed stone found in the vicinity, and now in Falkirk Museum. It was the home of the Forrester of Garden family, who derived their name from their hereditary role as royal foresters. The estates passed to Lord Forrester of Corstorphine in 1635, and it is thought that it was he who reconstructed the rectangular forecourt of ancillary buildings on the north side of the castle. The castle is particularly remembered as the place captured by the Earls of Angus and Mar in 1585 as they prepared to take Stirling castle (Historic Scotland)


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