Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Our online mapping services, aerial photography and satellite imaging layers are undergoing scheduled maintenance on Sundays in June. Service might be intermittent or unavailable on 6, 20 and 27 June. Thank you for your patience.


Hillslap Tower

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Hillslap Tower

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Glendearg; Langshaws

Canmore ID 55601

Site Number NT53NW 5

NGR NT 51315 39375

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Melrose
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT53NW 5 51315 39375.

(NT 5132 3936) Hillslap Tower (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map (1967)

Hillslap Tower, which crowns a small knowe, was built in 1585, the date inscribed on the lintel above the entrance. Though roofless, it is fairly complete to the wall-head. Built on the L-plan, it has been four storeys in height, with the wing rising a storey higher, and a stair-turret projecting in the re-entrant angle above first floor level. The main block measures 30ft by 22ft, while the wing, to the NW, measures 10ft by 11 1/2 ft. The entrance, in the re-entrant angle, is protected by gunloops.

The property was also known as Calfhill, as mentioned in a charter of 1586.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1933; A M T Maxwell-Irving 1974; N Tranter 1962

The remains of Hillslap Tower are as described.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 25 January 1961

Now restored and occupied.

N Tranter 1990.

Descheduled (formerly no. 1714).

Information from Historic Scotland, Certificate of Exclusion from Schedule dated 17 August 1992.

Excavation within the barmkin prior to renovation of the tower and its environs revealed part of the flagged and cobbled surface of the courtyard and the fragmentary remains of a building abutting the tower. It is thought that this outbuilding belonged to the original, late 16th century layout associated with the tower.

J Cannel and J Lewis 1995


Watching Brief (24 April 2017 - 27 April 2017)

NT 51315 39375 An evaluation and watching brief were undertaken, 24–27 April 2017, prior to and during excavation works in the vicinity of a 16th-century tower house, which had been converted into a family home in the later 20th century.

During earlier work some rescue excavation was undertaken to the N of the tower and to the immediate S of the current work. This recorded a series of well-preserved cobbled surfaces, with some evidence for associated structures. It was considered highly likely that the excavation in 2017 would uncover more deposits, which would help to define the ground plan and history of the tower and associated structures.

Only a limited amount of archaeology survived within the area excavated in 2017 and it was clear that extensive ground reduction had occurred across the site in recent times. A small area of metalled surface was recorded in the western part of the excavation area. A clay bonded wall, which showed evidence of dismantling/extensive stone robbing, was recorded running parallel to the wall of the tower. The heavily degraded remains of a clay bonded building were recorded to the N. The structural remains recorded during the two excavations can be extrapoloated to suggest the presence of ranges around the the tower, which were possibly built against the Barmkin wall or formed it.

Due to the absence of artefacts from in situ deposits the structures remain undated. A limited number of finds, which probably date from the late 18th to early 19th century, were recovered from within the demolition deposits for the ranges, or from redeposited material in modern service cuts.

Archive: NRHE and OASIS

Funder: Private individual

Kenneth Macfadyen – Addyman Archaeology

(Source: DES, Volume 18)

Watching Brief (24 April 2017 - 27 April 2017)

In advance of an extension to a range of 20th C buildings next to 16th C Hillslap Tower, a watching brief was undertaken during ground works to form foundations for the new structure. Some evidence was uncovered relating to former ranges of structures around the Tower.

Information from Oasis (addymana1-289146) 12 October 2018

Watching Brief

NT 5132 3936 A watching brief was conducted during excavation of foundation trenches for a new circular tower, to adjoin a recently constructed wing at Hillslap Tower. No archaeological finds or features were revealed.

Archive to be deposited with RCAHMS.

Funder: The Mercer Trust.

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding building.

Information from Scottish Borders Council.


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions