Scheduled Monument

Horsburgh CastleSM6284

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill fort and promontory fort), Secular: tower
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 28514 39162
328514, 639162


This monument comprises the remains of a late medieval tower-house and the traces of an earlier hill fort.

The tower sits at the top of a low domed hill. The entire E side of the building is now missing but the other walls still stand to a height of about 6m. Consolidation in the last century has obscured much of the evidence of arrangement of the tower but it appears that the ground floor was vaulted and the stair was in an outshot at the E end of the N wall.

The tower sits almost exactly in the centre of a hill fort which is only apparent on aerial photographs. The entrance appears to have been to the north with a double ditch. The fort has been slightly eaten into by a quarry on the south side of the hill.

The area to be scheduled is circular, centred on the tower, 100m in diameter but excluding that part of the circle which coincides with the quarry. It is marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance as the well-preserved remains of a sixteenth century towerhouse. Judging by the depth of deposits within the tower the archaeology of the site has not been cleared. The fact that the tower is near the centre of a much older fort may not be entirely coincidental since it is not known how the fort had survived into the sixteenth century. This site, as well as offering the potential to increase our knowledge of two separate periods of occupation may also be able to increase our knowledge of monument decay rates and how ancient remains were viewed in Renaissance Scotland.



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 23 NE 6.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. 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 8716 or at


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Printed: 16/02/2019 17:41