Mid to later 15th century keep incorporated in Brown and
Wardrop, 1863-4, Baronial mansion with late 19th century
additions, partially sited on the Z-plan of the former late
16th century castle and imitating the 15th century work.
Georgian stable court to E. Red sandstone rubble to keep,
stugged ashlar later work.
15TH CENTURY TOWER: at SE corner of present mansion, adjoined
to S at ground by service court. Square plan with cap house,
irregular later windows inserted to E, arrow slit to N,
billetting to parapet walk with rope moulding below at angles
and with rainwater spouts.
N ELEVATION: squat porte cochere of 1880s, adjoined to 19th
century reproduction of earlier keep; round arched entrances
to N and E and W sides of porch, with base and string
courses, and with parapet, raised and corbelled at angles;
heraldic carvings above archways. Further 19th century tower
at right angles to right, recessed and with round stair tower
set in re-entrant angle. Irregular windows with moulded
surrounds. Cap houses to both towers and conical roof to
stair tower cap house. 2-storey bay set between earliest keep
and 19th century work to W, given canted oriel.
W ELEVATION: tower to NW with recessed bay adjoined to right,
and slightly advanced gabled bay further right, linking with
slightly lower SW tower, again with cap house, and round
stair tower set in re-entrant angle. Corbelled canted balcony
(known as the pulpit) by window 2nd storey window of SW
tower, probably added later.
S ELEVATION: sturdy, consoled balustraded balcony on E return
of SW tower, with small canopied niche above and round-arched
doorway to re-entrant angle formed with 3 recessed,
irregularly grouped bays running E; yett grille to tower
doorway. Corbelled, gabled lookout turret clasped to SE
SERVICE COURT: rubble masonry; entered by round archways,
surmounted by late 19th century octagonal birdcage cupola
with decorative crown cap.
Gun loops at intervals in 19th century work. Variety of
glazing patterns. Slate roofs. Crowstepped gables and billet
moulded coping to gable end stacks. Pierced ashlar parapet by
INTERIOR: heavy victorian decoration; fine oak work of circa
1860, in linenfold panelling and geometrically panelled
doors. Stone flagging to hall with timber balustrade at foot
of stone dog-leg stair; stone newel stairs in towers. Notable chimneypieces, one with stone hood, one in marble with Ionic
pilasters, and one in timber with composite pilasters,
billeted mantelpiece and ornate cast-iron grate. Barrel vault
to 15th century tower.
PAINTED CEILING: between 1603 and 1617. Discovered in 1863,
and partly re-sited in the Chapel, partly taken to Museum of Antiquities. Tempera on board and beams. Initialled PHC
(Patrick Hepburn and Helen Cockburn); adorned with heraldry,
monarchal arms, musical instruments and exotic animals, and
guilloched ribbons on the beams. Black line drawing remains,
but not the white ground; much red and yellow detailing
SUNDIAL: 17th century. Polyhedron, multi-dialed stone
sundial, on cubic sundial pedestal and octagonal base; cupped
dials on 4 faces of polyhedron and small dials for places
such as Cairo, Jerusalem and Philadelphia.
Statement of Special Interest
Original keep close in form to Huntingtower, Perthshire and
Affleck Castle, Angus. After the Hepburn family it fell to
the Hays, and to Walter Wingate Gray, Glasgow merchant in the
later 19th century. In 1946, the Cistercian monks arrived,
residing at the Old Abbey while the new Sancta Maria Abbey
was built to the SW, and currently it serves as a Retreat.
The work of the late 19th century could possibly be by
Shiells and Thomson, who built the Baronial house of Linplum
nearby. The fine painted ceiling bears similar line drawing
to that at Sparrow Castle, Cockburnspath. Lodge and dovecot
listed separately. Lime tree avenue leading to Abbey. The Old
Abbey merits category A not only for its painted ceiling, but
also for the unusual incorporation of small windows in the
19th century design, a unique treatment of the revival style.