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Abbot's Tower

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Abbot's Tower

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 65463

Site Number NX96NE 8

NGR NX 97250 66643

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish New Abbey
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Nithsdale
  • Former County Kirkcudbrightshire

Archaeology Notes

NX96NE 8 9724 6663.

(NX 9724 6663) Abbot's Tower (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map (1971)

The late 16th century Abbot's Tower is an L-shaped building measuring 20 ft by 15 ft with the short wing projecting 8 1/2 ft from the N wall. The W wall and staircase wall still exist to a height of about 32 ft, but the other walls are completely ruined and robbed of all hewn work.

RCAHMS 1914, visited 1911; F Grose 1789; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1892

Generally as described and illustrated by the previous authorities. The tower is much overgrown. All the walls stand to about 32ft, but are broken down in places; only the W wall and staircase wall remain in almost complete condition.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 8 July 1964

Two fragments of 16th-17th century pottery were found during the trial clearance of a possible cistern beside the Abbot's Tower (built about 1540); large amounts of plaster, slate and nails were also recovered. Timber from the tower is in Dumfries Museum.

A E Truckell and J Williams 1967; J Williams 1965; DES 1976

A trial excavation was carried out in and around Abbot's Tower prior to development as a dwelling. To the S of the tower is a small drystone building, possibly a byre or stable. One wall was rebuilt to block an entrance, and a green glass bottle base in the rebuild should date it.

Between the byre and the tower is a hedgebank or other boundary, containing 19th century pottery fragments.

Two sections of the supposed barmkin wall were uncovered, one immediately W of the tower, and a corner at the NE end of the site. No dating evidence was found, but the W section of wall used a shell laden mortar very similar to that used in the tower.

An ancillary length of dry stone wall was revealed on the W side of the tower, parallel to that mentioned above.

A trench was dug immediately N of the tower, revealing the W wall of a building. This had been widened to the W and an oven or chimney inserted. The building was also expanded to the S using (or re-using) a dressed sandstone block of 16th century type. The area between this building and the tower was paved with granite slabs.

A small trench dug inside the tower revealed a compact layer of clay, presumably a floor or basis for a floor, with building debris below. Sponsors SUAT, HS.

A Bailey 1991c; SUAT 1992.


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