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Hawick, Kirkstile, Drumlanrig Tower, Heart Of Hawick

Coaching Inn (18th Century), Hotel (19th Century), House (18th Century), Tower House (16th Century)

Site Name Hawick, Kirkstile, Drumlanrig Tower, Heart Of Hawick

Classification Coaching Inn (18th Century), Hotel (19th Century), House (18th Century), Tower House (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) High Street; Tower Knowe; Tower Hotel; Tower Dykeside

Canmore ID 55397

Site Number NT51SW 9

NGR NT 50226 14444

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 Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Hawick
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Roxburgh
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT51SW 9 50224 14440.

(NT 5022 1444) Tower (NR) (Remains of).

OS 25" map (1877)

Tower Hotel, Hawick. This large three-storeyed tenement, situated on Tower Knowe at the S end of the High Street, was extended and reconstructed in 1677 as a dwelling for the Queensberry family. It was contrived from the remains of the "hous and toure of Hawick", on record at the end of the 16th century (Hist MSS. Commission, Buccleuch and Queensberry, i, 5), and its plan strongly suggests that a considerable part of the fabric of the tower still remains incorporated in the present building.

The tower seems to have been L-shaped, having a main block measuring 37 ft. by 25 ft. and a wing of about 23 ft. by 20 ft. which together formed a re-entrant angle opening to the SW. In the reconstruction the S wall and gable of the wing were rebuilt while the re-entrant angle was filled in ; at the same time the frontage was extended some 60 ft.

N in an L-shaped addition, the wing being at the back, away from the street, and abutting on the tower and extending in continuation of its SE end. The masonry is rubble with ashlar dressings throughout. The front is divided by pilasters and penetrated on the ground floor by two archways, of which only one remains open. Internally, the property has been entirely modernised, but a vaulted cellar still survives on the ground floor within the main block. Externally, the remains of the parapet-walk on the SW gable of the main block are still visible above the flat roof of a modern extension.

HISTORICAL NOTE. When the English entered Hawick in 1570 the inhabitants unthatched their houses, burnt the thatch in the streets and fled under cover of the smoke, which impeded the invaders. Nevertheless, the whole town was burnt, "saving a castle called Davlamoryke" (J Bain 1887).

If this name is a corruption of Drumlanrig, as it seems to be, it is this building, in its earlier form, that escaped destruction in 1570. The charter of 1511, in which the town was set up as a burgh of barony, was granted to Sir William Douglas of Drumlanrig, whose family had acquired the barony of Hawick some years earlier (Reg Magni Sig Reg Scot 1984).

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1931

This site is generally as described by RCAHMS. A tablet on the west wall states: "Included within these walls is the Black Tower of Drumlanrig, Hawick, residence of the Douglas family and later of the Scotts of Buccleugh. This tower built in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan almost certainly replaced a still earler tower which in its turn had been preceeded by the late 12th century wooden tower of the Lovells on the Mote" (Roxb 24 NW 5 ).

Visited by OS (RDL) 10 January 1963

In March 1989 trial trenching was carried out during demolition here as part of Phase 1 of the redevelopment of the site. A ditch system was identified , part of which predated the tower. In addition a post-hole was located adjacent to the tower on one side and the ditch on the other which contained the larger part of a white Gritty Ware jug of later 12th or 13th century date.

Sponsor SDA.

P Dixon 1989.

Removal of post-medieval roofing at the Tower Hotel revealed mutilated remains of a stepped walk around this L-plan tower. The remains were mostly those of the S and N gables and E side of the tower, as the western side had largely been, and the NW wing entirely, remodelled during 18th-century enlargement of the building. Much of the garret had been rebuilt following removal of most of the paving from the battlement walk, and only one crow step survived ex situ in the N gable. The remains were surveyed in detail by the Regional Archaeologist.

The tower is built of local Silurian greywacke with Old red sandstone dressings, and fragments of roofing slates appear to be of local stone. Some preserved sphagnum moss may have been used to cure leaks in the roof. The wall walk was built of well-cut sandstone falgs shaped to overlap as a sequence of saddles, pitchers and troughs, of which the last would have led rain water through the parapet wall to discharge through gargoyles. Troughs at the S gable corners projected at 45 degrees. No trace of the parapet wall survived, but the wall core showed that this can have been no more than c0.35m wide.

Drumlanrig Tower is being restored to house an exhibtion on local history. Internal features including a gun loop, fireplaces and windows came to light at an earlier stage of the work. It is intended to restore the wall walk on the evidence of the survey.

Sponsor: Borders Regional Council.

J Dent 1993.

Restoration of the medieval core of the Tower Hotel exposed much of the stonework of the 16th-century Drumlanrig Tower of the Douglas family, which was converted into a comfortable town house by Anna, Duchess of Monmouth in 1701-2. The L-plan tower had been considerably altered by later additions and insertions, not least the infilling of the angle to square off the block, but much of the original layout survived. Floors in the wing matched those in the main block and had been reached via a corridor from a spiral stair between the two. The ground floor had ben vaulted and guarded by at least two splayed gun loops, with the entrance in the re-entrant angle. The hall at first floor contsined a wide fireplace with monolithic lintel, and there was evidence of a small room in the wall thickness above the entrance. Accommodation at second floor levels had been divided into smaller chambers each with a window, press and fireplace. In the thickness of the wall was a small guarderobe closet, and a well-preserved wall cupboard. Masonry in the wing suggested some early rebuilding at this level. The step batflement previously noted existed around the garret of the main block only, but around the wing the corbel course had been re-laid over a truncated stair vandow, and a rebuilt gable re-used earlier dressed stone. The cap house, and possibly the whole wing, may have risen a further storey above battlement level.

Sponsor: Borders Regional Council.

J Dent 1994g.


Publication Account (1980)

Today, with the exception of the Tower Hotel and other features, virtually nothing has survived of the pre-Victorian town (RCAM, 1956, 45). The Tower Hotel is a large three storeyed tenement situated on the Tower Knowe at the south end of High Street. It was reconstructed in 1677 as a dwelling for the Queensberry Family derived from the remains of the 'house and tower of Ha wick' which was on record in the second half of the sixteenth century (RCAM, 1956, 135, 6).

Information from ‘Historic Hawick: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1980).

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding building.

Information from Scottish Borders Council.


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