Scheduled Monument

Cairns CastleSM1193

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
Last Date Amended
Secular: tower
Local Authority
West Lothian
Mid Calder
NT 09037 60507
309037, 660507


The monument consists of the remains of a rectangular towerhouse of probable early fifteenth-century date with a jamb projecting from its S wall. A turnpike staircase is situated in the angle between the main block and the jamb. The monument has been included in the schedule of monuments of national importance. However, all documents relating to the scheduling have been lost: the rescheduling rectifies this omission.

The tower is constructed of a high-quality roughly squared rubble masonry and has walls 1.2-2m thick. It measures 8.35m EW by 7.20m NS and stands c.9.15m high. The accommodation consisted of three storeys of chambers above a barrel-vaulted cellar, which has collapsed. Much of the interior face of masonry has been stripped off. A modern butress now supports the western elevation.

The jamb, which projects beyond both the W and the N walls of the main tower, is 5.5m in width and projects 5.1m from the W half of the S wall of the main tower. It is extremely fragmentary, standing only to first-floor level, obscured by ivy, and now partial incorporated in a garden wall. The remains include a soil outlet for a latrine, or latrines, contained within the W wall.

The tower had two entrances, both through the E wall of the main block: a semicircular-headed doorway at ground floor level and a square-headed doorway at first, which would have been reached by a forestair. The accommodation within the tower comprised a single chamber on each floor of the main tower and the jamb. The first-floor hall in the main block has a small fireplace in the N wall and was lit by windows through the E and S walls, which retain their glazing checks. The S window on the first floor has one surviving window seat, and its original metal grill.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, with maximum dimensions of 28m N-S and 22m transversely to include the upstanding masonry and an area around it, within which associated remains are expected to survive: as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. A modern garden wall defines the SW and NW limits of the scheduled area. The modern garden wall, including a section projecting from the S corner of the tower, is excluded from scheduling, as are the modern sheds projecting from the jamb's E corner.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a relatively well-preserved, and unaltered, fifteenth-century tower house which contributes to our understanding of such medieval defensive and domestic structures, their social history and material culture. The associated below-ground remains have the potential to enhance our knowledge of these matters through further archaeological investigation.



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NT 06 SE 4.

Aerial photographs:

1. RCAHMS (1983) ML/6014 NT06SE4.

2. RCAHMS (1983) ML/6018 NT06SE4.

3. RCAHMS (1983) ML/6019 NT06SE4.


M'Call, H. B. (1894) The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Mid-Calder with some account of the religious house of Torphichen, founded upon record, Edinburgh.

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, vol. 5, 267.

RCAHMS (1929) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Tenth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the counties of Midlothian and West Lothian, Edinburgh, 140, No. 175.

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

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 26/05/2024 22:54