Scheduled Monument

Isle Tower, 400m NNE of BankendSM10429

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Secular: castle
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
NY 02805 68914
302805, 568914


The monument comprises Isle Tower, also known as Lochar or Bankend Tower, which is of medieval date, visible as an upstanding ruin. The monument is situated on the W bank of the Lochar Water at about 5m OD.

The Lochar Water protected the tower on three sides and a channel formed the SW defence. It is located at the S extremity of the Lochar Moss, a marsh, at which point a ford crossed the river. It therefore guarded both the E approach to Caerlaverock Castle and a major route into Dumfries from the S.

The tower was built some time between c.1563 and 1568, at which time William Maxwell 'of the Ile' was resident. Lord Scrope burned the tower in 1570 but sources thereafter refer to William's successor Edward 'of the Yle'. It is depicted on the Pont map as 'Yl of Locchyir' in c.1595-96.

Evidence suggests that the building was originally rectangular in plan, comprising three storeys and a garret with a parapet walk. The walls are relatively narrow (1.1m) and the ground floor is not vaulted. This most probably reflects the fact that the tower's foundations were on marshy ground and therefore the loads had to be reduced. Large joist holes in the walls suggest that the floors were supported on massive beams, with those of the second floor aligned perpendicularly to the others to help distribute weight. Gun loops were provided at both ground and second floor levels; the latter allowed firing over the barmkin wall as a primary line of defence (as at Hoddom Castle, its likely progenitor).

The stair wing was added to its NE side in 1622, forming a T-plan, which obliterated the original entrance. At this time a new attic floor was added which replaced the wall-walk and garret. The new entrance was situated at the N re-entrant angle, above which an armorial panel was inserted, which opened into the broad wheelstair. It provided access to the first and second floors; presumably the upper flight of the original wooden stair led to the third floor. The entrance into the ground floor was unusually broad at c.2.4m wide. Evidence survives of a dormer at third floor level.

Isle Tower appears to have been abandoned soon after the death of the 2nd Earl of Nithsdale in 1667. The majority of the SW end of the tower had collapsed by the end of the 19th century and the stair wing fell in 1969. The N half still stands to a height of c.8-9m. The NW angle survives to c.2m high but has shifted considerably due to subsidence.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be found. It is irregular in plan with maximum dimensions of 290m NNW-SSE and 113m W-E, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The N, E and SE sides are bounded by the Lochar Water and a modern drainage ditch bounds the W side of the area.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 20/06/2024 12:46