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Langholm Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Langholm Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Langholm Tower; The Holm

Canmore ID 67673

Site Number NY38SE 3

NGR NY 3617 8494

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NY38SE 3 3617 8494.

(NY 3617 8494) Langholm Castle (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1957)

Part of the S gable with its returns remains of Langholm Castle, a tower, measuring 42ft by 30ft, with was built possibly about 1526. There is no exact date for its final abandonment, probably about 1724.

RCAHMS 1920, visited 1912; J and R Hyslop 1912

The extant remains of Langholm Castle comprise a 9.2m long, 6.0m high wall, with two short return walls which are 3.8m and 3.5m long respectively. There is a narrow rectangular window gap and, above it, a large hole which probably indicates the former position of a larger window.

This structure stands at the S end of a sub-rectangular platfrom which is 18.0m by 11.0m and up to 1.7m high; this is a turf-covered mound of rubble which is probably overlying buildings foundations.

There are linear scarps and depressions to the E and W of the platform and others in the surrounding area including a 1.5m high amorphous mound at NY 3619 8492. They have all been so extensively mutilated, probably by stone-robbing activities, that their origins and purposes cannot be deduced from the surface remains.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (MJF) 27 September 1979.

All that remains of this tower are the S wall, standing to a height of 6m, and fragments of the E and W Walls.

RCAHMS 1981, visited March 1981.

(NY 361 849 and 365 855). The fragmentary tower 12.6m long by 9m wide near to the confluence of the Esk with the Ewes Water may be the tower betrayed to the English in 1544 and recaptured in 1547 by the Scottish Regent. The cellar of the smaller later tower survives in a wing of the Buccleuch Arms Hotel on the NE side of the town. Langholm was a Maxwell barony sold to Douglas of Drumlanrig by the 2nd Earl of Nithsdale.

M Salter 1993.

Badly ruined remains of a tower house built for the Armstrongs at the beginning of the 16th cent. and largely demolished in 1725. It has been a rubble-walled rectangle. A fair amount of the S gable survives; in it, a rectangular first-floor window. Stubs of the E and W walls. No evidence of vaulting inside.

J Gifford 1996.

Listed as Langholm, tower.

RCAHMS 1997.

This site was visited in the course of fieldwork by Dr. T.C. Welsh in 2003

For further information, see MS/1331

NY 3617 8494 A survey of the remains surrounding Langholm Castle (NY38SE 3) showed that the castle remains extend beyond the Scheduled area and occupy the whole space between the Esk and a former course of Ewes Water, passing within 50m N of the tower. Evaluation is complicated by the part-raised, part-excavated surface of a horse racing track surrounding the Scheduled area. In particular, building foundations were observed between the fence and racetrack on the S. The main additional feature is a substantial foundation, 19m by at least 20m NW-SE, with an axial division, possibly the base of an earlier tower. An L-shaped stone platform overlies its NW corner, and there appears to be a curved wall attached to the E side. There are also traces of a rectangular enclosure round the site formed by a bank and ditch on three sides against the Esk bank, 80m E-W by 70m.

T C Welsh 2004.

Architecture Notes

NY38SE 3 3617 8494

Delisted 2000.



(Memorial by Matthew Irving, paint merchant, 1765, for payment for materials used in work, testifies to:)

Repairs and building work at Langholm Castle for Duke of Buccleuch, supervised by John Boston, then Chamberlain (died 1758).

1755-57 GD 224/84

Account for repair work at Langholm Castle, with memorial for Matthew Irving, merchant at Langholm, for payment of a small sum outstanding for the work (2 items).

1755-57 GD 224/84/9/4


Geophysical Survey (November 2013)

NY 3617 8494 Following a pilot survey in November 2013, a 3200m2 area to the S of the extant tower of the castle and to its E, as far as the racecourse, was examined in August 2013. Resistivity survey revealed several strong anomalies, resulting from stone debris, that formed a distinct circular shape (c15m in diameter) almost due E of the tower. Beyond that there were further concentrations of stone debris. The survey was carried out collaboratively between University of Glasgow and volunteers of the Discovering Dumfries and Galloway’s Past project.

Funder: Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society

Richard Jones, University of Glasgow, 2013

(Source: DES)


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