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Elibank Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Elibank Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Eliburn

Canmore ID 53125

Site Number NT33NE 9

NGR NT 39694 36308

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Caddonfoot
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Selkirkshire

Archaeology Notes

NT33NE 9 39694 36308

See also:

NT33NE 43 3959 3633 Farmstead

(NT 3969 3631) Elibank Castle (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map (1964)

Elibank Castle: This late 16th century house occupies a commanding position overlooking the River Tweed. It stands on a small plateau enclosed by stone dykes and terraced on all four sides; the hillside on the SW seems to have been excavated to obtain a level surface, while in other directions the ground seems to have been made up.

The castle itself comprises an oblong main block measuring externally 69ft 3 ins by 22ft 6 ins; to its E corner is attached a wing about 25ft square. It is all very much dilapidated; apart from its SE gable and the lowest portions of the other walls the wing no longer exists, while the adjoining half of the main block is in a similar condition.

What has survived, however, shows that the main block held at least four storeys below its wall-head. Walls extend from either end of the building to form a forecourt, and at the E corner of this, just opposite the wing, there seems to have been a gatehouse. On the E and SE of this gatehouse, if such it was, and of the wing, there are heaps of debris, the last vestiges of two late outbuildings.

A ruin built in clay mortar stands about 70 yds W of the castle, separated from it by a deep, rocky hollow which has been extended by quarrying. This building was probably a farmhouse (NT33NE 43).

On the slope immediately below the castle, to the NE, there are the remains of a hanging garden and a walled lane, leading to the castle.

Elibank was formerly known as Eliburn. In 1511, James IV granted a Crown charter to Catherine Douglas, widow of John Liddale, and their son, also John, of the whole lands and forest stead of Aleburne. In terms of this charter the Liddales were obliged to build upon their property an adequate house of stone and lime, with a hall, chamber, barn, cattle-shed, stable, dovecot, garden, orchards and beehives.

The house that they built was certainly not the castle now in ruins. This castle was presumably built by Sir Gideon Murray of Glenpoit, who acquired Elibank from John Liddell in 1594-5. In 1722 the castle was already in ruins.

RCAHMS 1957, visited 1934

Elibank Castle is generally as described by the RCAHM. The farmhouse W of the castle (NT33NE 43), noted by the RCAHM, is now hidden by thickly planted coniferous trees.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 27 June 1961

No change to previous field report.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 18 January 1966.


Field Visit (29 May 1987)

Site visited by Scottish Borders Council Archaeology Service.

Information from SBC

Ground Survey (November 2008 - November 2008)

Survey of the garden at Elibank Castle

Note (2 November 2015)

This monument was delisted and was removed from the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

The structure is still designated as a scheduled monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

Information from Historic Environment Scotland, 2 November 2015

Scottish Borders Smr Note

Main block originally had at least four storeys. Probably built by Sir Gideon Murray of Glenpoint c1594. In 1722 castle was already in ruins.

Information from Scottish Borders Council Historic Environment Record


Sbc Note

Visibility: Upstanding building, which may not be intact.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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