Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Gilnockie Castle

Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Fortification (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Gilnockie Castle

Classification Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Fortification (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Gilnockie Bridge

Canmore ID 67519

Site Number NY37NE 4

NGR NY 3862 7821

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2018.


Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Canonbie
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Annandale And Eskdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NY37NE 4 3862 7821

(NY 3862 7821) Gilnockie Castle (NR)

(Site of)

OS 6" map (1957)

Earthworks which suggest a promontory fort of familiar type.


The name 'Gilnockie Castle' seems to have been applied here because of the opinion held by some authorities, and disputed by others, that Johnnie Armstrong of Gilnockie had a tower at the E end of Gilnockie Bridge, possibly the predecessor of that noted on NY37NE 3. At the same time the Armstrong clan were responsible for the building of many of the border towers in the debatable lands, and on a small scale map of 1590 a tower is shown at 'ye Thornwhate'. Nether Thorniewhats is at NY 389 784. It is not known it there is any connection between 'ye Thornwhate' tower and the site E of Gilnockie Bridge.

J and R Hyslop 1912

Situated on a promontory in a bend on the River Esk are the remains of a small fort measuring about 40.0m NE-SW by 36.0m transversley. It consists of a substantial earth and stone rampart with a causewayed entrance in the centre. The remaining sides are protected by the steep natural slopes to the river. The S side of the fort and the rampart and ditch have been mutilated by modern tracks and road. The interior has been quarried and there is no trace of any tower. The site is still known as 'Gilnockie Castle'. There is no trace of a tower at Nether Thorniewhats.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 21 December 1970

No change to the previous report.

Visited by OS (JP) 20 February 1973

Gilnockie Castle: This medieval earthwork is situated on a promontory overlooking the River Esk at the E end of Gilnockie Bridge (NY37NE 106). A bank (7.5 m thick and 1.8m high) and external ditch cut off the neck of the promontory and defend an area measuring 61m by 36m. The interior has been extensively quarried and is crossed by the A7 public road.

RCAHMS 1981, visited December 1980.

Listed as earthwork (castle, possible).

RCAHMS 1997.

Scheduled as 'Gilnockie Castle, earthwork NE of Gilnockie Bridge... the remains of an earthwork, probably of later medieval date, surviving as a bank and ditch cutting off a prompntory in a bend of the River Esk [and] located in mature deciduous woodland.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 26 March 2008.

Gilnockie Castle

Fort [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, August 2009.


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions