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- Category: B
- Date Added: 14/07/1966
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 19092 76963
- Coordinates: 319092, 676963
Late 15th, early 16th century; restored and converted as residential Robert Hurd & Partners, 1979-81. Vaulted 4-storey tower house; original square-plan 25? x 22?; full-height round stair tower in SE corner; later 3-bay, single storey with attic addition to E. Random yellow sandstone rubble; embedded sea-shells in walls; long and short rubble quoins; a-symmetrical disposition of openings; continuous eaves course. Long and short surrounds to later openings; gabled dormerheads at rear break eaves.
S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 2-leaf boarded timber door at ground in central bay; door surround comprising outer rectangular and inner round-arched chamfered recess; small window centred above; single windows at 1st and 2nd floors. STAIR TOWER: single window set in recessed surround at 1st floor facing SW; deep reveals to single gun-loop below; stair lights at 2nd and 3rd floors. EXTENSION: timber boarded door set in tooled basket-arched surround in bay to left of centre; single windows in bays at centre and outer right.
E (SIDE) ELEVATION TOWER: single windows a-symmetrically disposed at 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors. Tuskings of previous wall extending S at ground in bay to outer left; horizontal raggle at 2nd floor. E (SIDE) ELEVATION EXTENSION: 2-bay. Timber boarded door in bay to left; single windows to both floors in remaining bays.
Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows; 6-pane timber casements to extension (E elevation at 2nd floor); timber casement windows to small openings in tower; various velux insertions. Graded grey slate roof with lead flashings, tiled ridging; conical capped stair tower; raised stone skews; rubble apex stack to E extension with square stone can; apex stacks to E and W tower.
INTERIOR: restored from ruin to residential 1979-81 by Robert Hurd & Partners. Floors and supporting beams reinserted; turnpike stair to upper floors rebuilt; 1st floor fireplace replaced. Store at ground, living room at 1st floor, kitchen/dining room at 2nd floor, bathroom at 3rd and bedroom at 4th floor. Original features include barrel-vaulting, window seats, a segmental-arched hood above the 2nd floor fireplace and stair. Store remains 5 steps below ground level and is entered through pointed stone arch in the vestibule. Note the sea-shells embedded within the 2nd floor walls (said to ward off evil spirits).
Statement of Special Interest
McKean describes the tower as a "stump of a greater establishment built ...by the Bishops of Dunkeld". His illustration (p162) shows the building prior to the addition of the E wing. A fine example of an early tower house - the purpose of which was primarily defensive - note the rectangular door surround, marking the possible positioning of an iron yett or drawbridge. Cramond Tower was acquired by the Bisphopric of Dunkeld in 1409. Following the Reformation in 1574, it passed from the house of Douglas into the possession of James Inglis (an Edinburgh merchant) in 1622. From this date onwards, various alterations were made to make the tower more comfortable (defence no longer such a priority). Thus, windows were made more numerous, those existing were enlarged (gaining lintels and cills) and internal recesses were created to increase the living area. The garderobe, fireplace and window seats on the 2nd floor may date from this period, as may the various additions (later demolished) to the N, E and W walls. Abandoned in the late 17th century, the tower?s standing in the village was subverted by Cramond House, begun by the Inglis family in 1680 - emphasis now primarily on comfort. By 1837, it was a virtual ruin (see Skene's watercolour, 1837). MacGibbon and Ross note how "...it is in an unfortunate condition, being entirely crowned with ivy, which has got such a hold of it (the branches in some places going through the walls) as to greatly imperil its safety" (p432). Subsequently, they draw resemblance between this and the remaining tower at Mugdock. By the mid 20th century, the tower was reduced to a masonry shell with no roof, rotting floor joists and no stair between the 1st and 3rd floors. Edinburgh Town Council cleared away vegetation and capped the roof with concrete during the 1960s. The present owner converted the building to a private residence between 1979 and 1981. No longer a Scheduled Monument.
Appears on 1777 plan of Cramond (Edinburgh Room, Central Library); sketch for J Wood's 1st edition, 1794; Ordnance Survey map, 1895;
J Grant, OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1882) vol III, p314-20; NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND: EDINBURGH (1845) p596; E J MacRae, THE HERITAGE OF GREATER EDINBURGH (1947) p11 and sheet III; MacGibbon and Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND, vol III (reprinted 1971) p432-436; Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, EDINBURGH (1984) p549; CRAMOND HERITAGE PARK: POLICY REPORT (1985) City of Edinburgh District Council; M Cant, VILLAGES OF EDINBURGH (1986) p35-37; CRAMOND: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE LIFE OF THE VILLAGE AND PARISH THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES (1989); D Cooper, CRAMOND TOWER: BUILDING REPORT (NMRS);
C McKean, EDINBURGH: AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE, (1992) p162;
J Wood, THE ANTIENT AND MODERN STATE OF THE PARISH OF CRAMOND (reprinted 1994).
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