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Penshiel Grange

Building(S) (Post Medieval), Building (15th Century), Grange (Medieval)

Site Name Penshiel Grange

Classification Building(S) (Post Medieval), Building (15th Century), Grange (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Penshiel Tower

Canmore ID 57534

Site Number NT66SW 11

NGR NT 6417 6319

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NT66SW 11 6417 6319.

(NT 6417 6319) Penshiel Tower (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1957)

Penshiel is the ruin of a vaulted grange which is attached to Melrose Abbey. The main building, measuring 82ft by 25ft externally, is now 10ft high and in a bad state of repair. At the SE corner are the relics of a tower and probably a staircase, while only 5ft of the vaulting remains. There are traces of a courtyard extending 60ft to the south and 147ft to the north of the ruin (although the RCAHMS states that this courtyard is evident on the south side only and measures 61ft by 90ft, enclosed by a wall 3ft thick), with indications of the foundations of walls and buildings to the north. These buildings, of which there are at least two, measuring 49ft by 19ft and 49ft by 24ft respectively, are probably of later date, although Lang (1929) states that the former building, standing about 30 yds north of the wall of the grange, was the chapel. Although Penshiel is referred to in a charter of 1200 the main building described above was probably built in the first half of the 15th century.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1892; RCAHMS 1924.

Generally as described above, although there is little evidence of a tower or stair at the SE corner. The wall of the courtyard on the south side of the main building is now reduced to a turf-covered stony bank and there is evidence of a courtyard on the north side where the remains of a similar wall run from the NW corner of the main building to the SW corner of the small building at NT 6417 6322.

The two buildings on the north side are reduced to foundations and there is little to suggest that either represents the remains of a chapel.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 14 April 1966.


Field Visit (6 June 1913)

215. Penshiel.

On a plateau under the east shoulder of Penshiel Hill and on the left bank of the Faseny Water, ¾ of a mile southwest of its confluence with the Whitadder, are the ruins of a grange which was attached to Melrose Abbey.

The main building measures exteriorly 82 feet by 25 feet and is built of large boulders of greywacke and granite. The ground floor is vaulted transversely and is lit by two small windows in each gable. The entrance is in the north wall, and the doorway has been secured by three cross-bars, as indicated by the bar-holes. The walls are 4 to 5 feet thick at base and 2 feet 6 inches thick at first floor level. There are traces of a forestair at the south-east angle, and the presence of beam holes in the exterior face of the south wall,7 feet from the ground, may indicate that a hoarding or stage ran along that wall. The ruin is 10 feet high and is in a bad state of repair. Only 5 feet of the vaulting remains, and its condition is precarious.

To the south of this building is a courtyard 61 feet by 90 feet enclosed by a wall some 3 feet thick. To the north are foundations of two buildings, probably of later date. These measure respectively 49 feet by 19 feet and 49 feet by 24 feet 6 inches. The walls are 3 feet in thickness.


Penshiel is referred to in a charter granted by the Earl of Dunbar to the monks of the Isle of May in 1200. Later it belonged to the monks of Melrose. The main building described above was possibly erected in the first half of the 15th century. The lands of Penshiel were included in the gift of the Melrose lands in 1621 to Thomas Hamilton, Earl of Melrose, afterwards Earl of Haddington (Reg. Mag. Sig. s.a.).

RCAHMS 1924, visited 6 June 1913.

OS Map ref: xvi. S.E.

Field Visit (October 2008 - October 2008)

SRP training survey


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