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Sorbie Tower

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Sorbie Tower

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Old Place Of Sorbie; Old Tower Plantation

Canmore ID 63139

Site Number NX44NE 1

NGR NX 45089 47025

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Sorbie
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Wigtownshire

Archaeology Notes

NX44NE 1 45089 47025

Sorbie Tower [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, July 2009.

See also NX44NE 43: Field Survey Area, Old Tower Plantation.

For Sorbie motte (adjacent to S), see NX44NE 2.

Built towards the end of the 16th century. L-shaped on plan, the main block measuring 40ft 3ins by 24ft externally with a 20ft wide wing projecting 25ft 9ins from it. Though still a very substantial building, it is in poor repair, particularly the E wing of the main block, and part of the vault over the kitchen has collapsed. It was probably also protected by a moat of which perhaps sections can be traced to the E of the tower and elsewhere, and by a barmkin enclosing a courtyard. SE of the tower is a stone-lined well, and there are some small stony mounds to the E.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889; RCAHMS 1912; I F MacLeod 1969

Sorbie Tower (name confirmed locally) is generally as described although no trace of a well, moat or barmkin could be found. The small stony mounds in the wood appear to be relatively recent clearance heaps.

Visited by OS August 1970.

A survey of Sorbie Tower and motte (NX44SE 2) was carried out and a full set of measured drawings has been prepared; lodged with RCAHMS. To the N and E of the tower two deep parallel ditch and bank systems were noted. Beyond these were traces of rig alteration and field dykes. The line of a well cobbled roadway was plotted for some 150m in a NE direction from the courtyard at the entrance to the tower. Between the tower and the ditches were a number of stone scatters, remains of stone structures, a well and some smaller ditches (see also NX44SE 16).

S Wood, C Wood and S Grant 1983

NX 450 470 A geophysical survey was carried out in October 1996, commencing with an archaeological subsoil evaluation of the site. This evaluation is being used to compose a research strategy for the site, with an objective to open and present it more fully to the visitor.

Traces were indicated of a structure on the top of the motte, a bailey, and other features on the approach to the tower and motte from the NE. Two areas were surveyed using resistivity and magnetometry, with some useful results.

Sponsor: Clan Hannay Society.

P Harrington 1996.


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