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Mow Tower

Tower (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Mow Tower

Classification Tower (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 59380

Site Number NT82SW 33

NGR NT 81574 20425

NGR Description From NT 81534 20490 to NT 81586 20375

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NT82SW 33 from 81534 20490 to 81586 20375

(NT 81574 20425) Mow (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map, Roxburghshire, (1923).

This name applies to the vestiges of some old foundations, supposed to be the site of the village of Mow, capital of the parish of the same name which was annexed to Morebattle in 1672.

Name Book 1859.

The RCAHMS, referring to the same site, state that the foundations of two rectangular buildings placed end to end are still traceable beneath the turf. Their dimensions, 15' x 18' and 15' x 30' suggest that the structures have been respectively a tower and an outbuilding.

In 1546 the tower of Mowe or Molle was undermined by the forces of Sir William Eure, Lord Warden of the East Marches, the occupants perishing inside.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1937.

The remains of the two abutting buildings are as described above. Some 35.0m E of them is a small platform meausuring 25.0m x 15.0m, on which a building may have stood. This platform is close to the position marked by the siting symbol on OS 6" 1923.

Judging by the thickness (1.7m) of the grass-covered, robbed walls of the north building, it must have been a substantial structure, measuring overall 11.0m N-S by 6.7m, and thus may be the remains of Mow Tower.

As stated by the RCAHMS, the building to the south is probably associated. No trace of any structure is to be seen at the OS siting, which lies within an area of disturbed ground.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 16 August 1960.

(NT 8157 2041) Tower of Mowe (NR) (site of)

OS 6" map, (1962).

No change to the previous information.

Visited by OS (TRG) 12 August 1976.

The scant remains of the Tower of Mowe and outbuildings lie on a gentle slope mainly to the E of the Belford Sike which flows N into the Bowmont Water. There are at least twelve structures within an area contained by the sike and a river terrace of the Bowmont Water. The remains are identified with the supposed site of the village of Mow, of the parish of the same name which was annexed to Morebattle in 1672. In 1546 the forces of Sir William Eure, Lord Warden of the East Marches, undermined the tower killing the occupants inside (RCAHMS 1956).

The remains of the tower and adjacent outbuilding (1) occupy a slightly elevated position on the E bank of the incised channel of the Belford Sike and to the S of a drain. The remains are difficult to interpret. The NMRS record card is misleading as the tower has formerly been identified as either of the two buildings. The S building measures 6.4m from N to S by 5.8m within walls reduced to grassy banks spread to 1.5m in width. and standing up to 0.3m in height. There is no entrance apparent but it may have been situated in the N wall which is largely absent. Alternatively this may represent an internal partition wall for the W wall continues N along the crest of the scarp which drops away to the sike. The N chamber, most probably the tower, measures 7.8m from N to S by up to 5m internally. It is defined by what may represent a substantial robber trench, spread to 2.6m in width, on the S and W. The NW corner of this structure does not survive, perhaps giving weight to the account of the events of 1546. There is a 1.5m wide entrance gap in the S end of the E wall. A short stretch of E to W bank lying 1.5m N of the structures may be part of the return of the enclosing wall on the W side of the second building.

Some 5m to the E, and above a scarp dropping away to a drainage channel on the N, there are the faint traces of a building (2), measuring 16m from N to S by 4m within banks averaging 1m in thickness and standing up to 0.2m in height. A single partition has created a N chamber measuring 6m in length, which may be entered from the E, and a S chamber measuring 7m in length. The S end of the building, which extends from the crest of a low break in slope is undefined but may be represented by a slightly raised platform, 6m across, on the same alignment.

About 12m to the E of building (2) and 26m from the tower site (1), there is a low subrectangular platform (3) measuring 27m from E to W by 15m. It was not traced beyond a dyke to the S.

Overlooking the E side of the Belford Sike, immediately N of the drainage channel and to the W of a depression are what appears to be two contiguous N to S rectangular buildings (4) which measure 28m in length overall. The N structure measures 14m in length by 5m and the S structure, which is offset slightly to the W, 18m in length by 6m. The N structure has no partitions although the N end is slightly raised. This building measures 12m in length by 3m internally. Two chambers are visible in the S structure which is round-ended at the S end. The S chamber measures 3.4m from E to W by up to 3.3m within low banks spread up to 0.8m in width and standing no more than 0.2m in height. The N chamber measures 8.4m in length by up to 4m in width.

The N of the two buildings just described, partially overlies a third rectangular building (5) lying to the W. This building measures 12m from N to S and its N end is possibly round-ended. A short stretch of bank to the N may possibly belong to a further structure or form part of a small enclosure above the sike.

About 6m E of the buildings (4), and separated by a possible hollow-way, are the remains of a small trapezoidal pen, or structure (6) immediately S of, and above, an oval depression. The pen measures 7m from E to W by 5.6m, narrowing to only 4m at the W end, within grassy banks spread up to 1m in width and generally no more than 0.2m in height. Within, there is a short stretch of bank close to the 2.2m wide entrance gap which lies at the E end of the N side of the pen. The oval depression, to the N, measures 7m from N to S by 5.5m.

A further building (7) lies almost immediately to the E on the crest of the river terrace and above the possible hollow-way. The structure measures 11m from N to S by 3m within grassy banks spread up to 1m in width and standing up to 0.2m in height. An outshot to the N measures 4m from N to S by 2m. Together both buildings measure 20m in length overall. No entrances are visible.

About 20m to the S of building (7) there is a circular platform (8) on the edge of the river terrace falling away to the E. The platform measures 9m in overall diameter with a 6m diameter level top.

About 16m N of the two buildings (4) and immediately N of the possible hollow-way, there is a small structure (9), which measures up to 6.2m from N to S by 3m within grassy banks spread up to 1m in width and standing no more than 0.2m in height. A bank, extending E along the top edge of the hollow-way for about 5m, may form part of an enclosure-system with a further arc of bank, 2m to the N.

On the W side of the Belford Sike, some 18m W of the two buildings (4) there is a rectangular platform (10), bounded on the N by a small drainage channel. The platform measures 9m from N to S by 6m overall with a level top measuring 7m by 4m. There is an additional slight scarp on the E side of the platform.

About 16m S of the platform (10) and 10m to the W of, and across the sike from, the tower (1) there are the faint traces of a further rectangular building (11). The single definable chamber measures 6m from N to S by 4m within very low banks spread to about 0.8m in width. A second chamber is suggested to the N but only survives as a 3m stretch of bank.

Immediately E of the above structure are two low sub-circular platforms (12) built out over the edge of the terrace above the sike. The N platform measures 4m in overall diameter with a 3m diameter working surface. The S platform is more elliptical and measures 6m from NE to SW by 3m overall.

A possible L-shaped hollow-way lies between structures (4 to 7 and 9). To the E of the sike, indeterminate traces of rig cover much of the area to the S of structures (4 to 7), between the edge of the river terrace and the drain whilst on the W side of the sike two enclosures are partly defined by L-shaped stretches of field-bank to the S of building (11) and breaks in slope. A further area of rig (24/291) lies immediately above these enclosures. A number of clearance cairns along the fence-line to the S and SE of the settlement are most probably of recent origin.

Information from RJ Mercer (University of Edinburgh) 1 April 1985

RCAHMS MS 2598. No. 24/290


Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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