Scheduled Monument

Blacket House TowerSM10431

Status: Designated


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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 24330 74378
324330, 574378


The monument comprises Blacket House Tower, also known as Blackwood House, which is of medieval date, visible as an upstanding ruin. The monument is situated on a plateau above the W bank of the Kirtle Water at about 80m OD.

John Bell of Blackwoodhouse is on record in 1459 and 1465, the Bell family having settled near Middlebie at the beginning of the 15th century. Blacket House Tower appears to date from the second half of the 16th century; William 'Red-Cloak' Bell is documented as being of 'Blacathous' in 1583/4. Its situation provides commanding views along the Kirtle Water from Old Kirkconnel to Wyseby and Bonshaw, which allowed the Bells to keep a watchful eye on their Irving and Graham neighbours. The tower is depicted on the Aglionby's Platte as 'Ye Blacketthowse' in 1590, and on the Pont map as 'Black-wood hous' in c.1595-96.

Evidence suggests that the building was originally rectangular in plan, comprising three storeys and a garret; the ground floor and a substantial portion of the S wall appear to date from the original construction. The walls are 1.2m thick and the ground floor was most probably vaulted. Atypically, the entrance appears to have been located at the SW end of the SE wall rather than as part of the wheelstair at the E corner.

The stair wing is likely to date to the early 17th century, forming an L-plan and superseding the original entrance with an unusual double rebate for an iron yett and wooden door and also a substantial drawbar slot. Part of a parapet remains, but it is unclear if it followed the form of the 16th century tower. One of its openings on its SE elevation was probably enlarged at this time. Some linear features are visible beneath the lawn to the SW which may indicate the presence of further ranges.

It is likely that the tower was enlarged in 1663: a lintel bearing this date, with the initials IB and II for John Bell and Jean Irving, was later re-used. Only part of the S wall of the extension remains, set at an angle to the W corner. Further work appears to have taken place in the early 18th century given the existence of a 1714 datestone. The tower was sold in 1775 and changed hands on a number of occasions subsequently. When Blacket House was built to its immediate SW in 1835, the tower was described as being 'ruinous'. It was then converted into a folly and the datestones built into a 'doorway' situated to the W of the tower. Later, pigeonholes were added to the stair wing to create a doocot, whilst a study conversion dates to about 1950.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is irregular in plan with maximum dimensions of 67.5m WNW-ESE and 64.5m NW-SE, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The NE side is defined by the cliff edge, the SW side and SW part of the SE side by the gravel driveway and the NW side by a slight boundary feature in the lawn. The surfaces of all paths, to a depth of 300mm, is excluded from the scheduling to allow for routine maintenance.



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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.

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Printed: 18/06/2024 08:42