Scheduled Monument

Torwoodlee TowerSM8687

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Secular: garden; tower
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 46703 37760
346703, 637760


The monument consists of the remains of Torwoodlee Tower, which was built by George Pringle in 1601 replacing an earlier tower, and fell out of use in the late 18th century when the present Torwoodlee House was built.

The tower or mansion is built of whinstone rubble with freestone dressings, and is situated on a steep slope that has been has been extensively terraced to receive the building, its offices and a walled garden to the W. The site is approached from the E via a wide straight path described as the 'Old Avenue'.

The tower makes up the N and W sides of a courtyard. The N side was originally a range of vaulted cellars, now extremely fragmentary, built into the hillside and supporting a terrace. The W range is more complete although the whole N end has been destroyed; while to the S the E wall only survives to first floor level. It consisted of a series of vaulted cellars, including a kitchen to the N, a first floor, which contained the principal rooms, and a second floor attic lit by dormer windows.

Midway along the E facade of the W range projects a tower, semicircular on plan up to the wallhead, where it is corbelled out to the square: the uppermost member of the corbelling is enriched with a continuous band of dog-tooth ornament. The W range was accessed through a doorway in the ground floor of the tower. This led to the cellarage and a scale-and-platt stair, which rose to the first floor. The upper floors were reached by a turnpike stair in the tower.

To the S of the site a retaining wall, rising at the back of a second and lower terrace, runs in alignment with the S gable of the house and carried a low, loopholed parapet which no longer exists. On its W side the tower overlooks a sloping, walled enclosure that has been a garden; there is a built-up doorway in its W wall.

The area to be scheduled includes the towerhouse, its courtyard, terraces and walled garden, and a surrounding area, which has the potential for associated archaeology. The area to be scheduled is roughly rectangular and has dimensions of 104m from its westernmost to its easternmost points and 98m from its northernmost to its southernmost points as marked in red on the attached map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the remains of an early 17th century towerhouse, which demonstrates the changing nature of polite architecture during this transitional period.

The terracing and the garden are rare survivals of the landscape features that would have surrounded many towers. The archaeology of this monument has the potential to contribute to our knowledge of the construction techniques, defences, domestic life and function of such monuments.



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 43 NE 49.


MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, Vol. 4, 209-210.

RCAHMS (1957) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. An inventory of the ancient and historical monuments of Selkirkshire with the fifteenth report of the Commission, Edinburgh, 38-40, No. 18.

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 showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary. 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: 27/02/2020 23:42