Scheduled Monument

Cessford CastleSM1710

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: castle
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 73759 23853
373759, 623853


The monument consists of a massively built L-shaped tower house, within a courtyard of which traces of the walls and earthworks survive. Beyond that main nucleus are traces of further earthworks, which are probably the relics of outer courtyards. Amongst these may be traces of earthen siegeworks constructed in 1523, at which time the English commander considered the castle to be the third strongest in Scotland. Cessford Castle was again burned by the English in 1543 and 1544.

The tower is likely to have been built after Andrew Ker of Altonburn was granted a charter of Cessford in 1446. It is massively constructed of red sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings, and there are extensive traces of lime render in more sheltered locations. Its final form may have been partly a result of changes made in the course of construction, and there appear to have been later changes, made perhaps after the siege of 1523. Most unusually, there are two entrances. One is into the basement of the main block, with a dog-legged corridor leading off to one side into the jamb and the spiral stair within the wall thickness at the junction of the two parts. The second entrance is into the flank of the jamb at first-floor level, but the passage within the entrance is of dog-legged plan, giving access to the kitchen in the jamb, the hall in the main block and the stair between the two.

At some uncertain date, the re-entrant angle between the main block and jamb of the tower house were partly infilled by a forework of less substantial construction, and there are traces of another structure attached to the west side of the main block. The main block rose through three principal storeys with garrets above, while the jamb rose through four storeys below the garrets. Although the details are not entirely certain, in its final form the wall-head of the main block appears to have had a covered walk, while the wall-head of the jamb, which was evidently raised to a higher level, had a corbelled-out wall-walk.

The most extensive traces of the courtyard walls and the buildings it contained lie to the north and north-east of the tower house, with evidence of what may have been a gatehouse directly to the north.

The area currently scheduled is limited to the tower house and the main courtyard immediately around it. In order to afford protection to the area likely to have been occupied by the outer courtyards and the earth work vawmures and other works associated with the siege of 1523, the scheduling is to be extended to the whole of the field in which the castle stands. The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, with maximum dimensions of c.125m from north to south and 239m from east to west.



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

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


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to Cessford Castle

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 18/10/2021 17:30