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Stoneypath Tower

Dovecot (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Stoneypath Tower

Classification Dovecot (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 56401

Site Number NT57SE 11

NGR NT 59575 71347

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/56401

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Whittingehame
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT57SE 11 59575 71347

(NT 5958 7134) Tower (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map (1969).

Location formerly entered as NT 5958 7134.

For (successor and present) farmhouse and steading (to SE, at 59631 71241), see NT57SE 67.

Stoneypath Tower: The 15th century tower of the Lyells of Stoneypath is now a crumbling ruin. It is L-shaped on plan, built of rubble with irregular freestone dressings. Between the first floor and wall head levels were apparently three storeys, the uppermost ceiled with a stone vault. the upper floors are now completely ruined. At ground level, the walls are 9ft thick. The entrance was in the S wall at first floor level, where a modern doorway has been inserted. The basement of the main block contains a single apartment, 26ft by 14 1/2ft, with a chamber of similar dimensions in the mezzanine floor above. There are mural chambers in the lateral walls and a narrow window in the E wall; most of the vaulted ceiling has fallen. The wing contains two chambers. The hall occupied the full extent of the first floor of the main block.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887; RCAHMS 1924, visited 1913; C McWilliam 1978.

Clearance work in advance of restoration work has cast new light on the building history of this building. Discoveries include: (a) the fact that the original entrance doorway was at ground level in the re-entrant angle on the NW, and that this was blocked up at an early date and replaced by an entrance slapped through the W wall, again at ground level, and (b) that the ground-floor chamber in the wing has also been greatly modified at an early date. There is growing evidence that the tower house was subjected to a violent explosion at some time. Work continues.

C Tabraham 1993.

(Former index no. 777). Descheduled.

Information from Historic Scotland, Certificate of Exclusion from Schedule dated 25 November 2009.

Stoneypath Tower

(restored) [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, January 2010.

Activities

Standing Building Recording (June 2001)

NT 5958 7134 A programme of building recording and trial trenching were undertaken in advance of the restoration of the tower as a private dwelling. The building is an L-plan tower house of probable 15th-century date (NMRS NT 57 SE 11). Much of the upper levels have collapsed, but the remainder of the building is relatively complete in terms of its primary design. There are only limited areas of late or secondary work: a guard chamber inserted by the remodelled entrance; a dovecote inserted in the upper levels of the N wing; areas of modern blocking or fill within doorways, windows and areas of collapse at the outer wall faces; insertion of a modern doorway in the S wall.

Most of this work post-dates the abandonment of the building and, overall, there is little evidence for any substantial remodelling during the period of its use as a house. Most of the surviving features correspond to a single, well-integrated design.

A series of hand-excavated trial trenches were executed around the exterior of the tower. These established the presence of substantial deposits of rubble around the tower, a result of 19th-century landscaping. Beneath this, evidence relating to previously unrecorded structural remains was revealed, including a flagged surface and the remains of an outer wall. A possible post-medieval ditch and original ground surface were uncovered on the N side of the tower.

(Full details lodged with the NMRS).

T Holden 2001.

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