Scheduled Monument

Whitslaid TowerSM8880

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Secular: tower
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 55755 44547
355755, 644547


The monument consists of the fragmentary remains of Whitslaid tower. It occupies a site of considerable natural strength, having the Leader Water on the W side and a deep ravine to the N. The lands of Whytslaid are mentioned in a charter of Robert II, dated 1371. In the mid-17th century, the tower was owned by William Montgomery of Makbiehill. The tower itself probably dates from the 16th century.

The tower was planned as a simple oblong, measuring some 7.6m by 5.1m within walls averaging 2.1m in thickness, built in rubble masonry. The N wall has collapsed into a tumbled mass, revealing the barrel-vaulted basement. The main entrance to the tower was at the N end of the E wall giving direct access to a vaulted basement lighted by a narrow opening in the S wall.

From the S in-go of this doorway, a flight of straight steps ascends in the thickness of the S and E walls to the great hall on the first floor, and at least one upper floor. The first floor is now ruinous, with few identifiable features apart from a recess in the SW angle, which has evidently served as a latrine, having a built flue with an outlet near ground level.

The collapse of the N wall of the tower destroyed several features that were recorded earlier this century, namely two windows that lit the upper end of the hall and the hall fireplace. The upper part of the castle appears to have been reconstructed in the form of a gabled house at a late date, in a similar fashion to Barns Tower (Peebleshire), with which it shares several features.

The area to be scheduled includes the tower house and an area around it, which has the potential for associated archaeology. The area scheduled is square in shape and has maximum dimensions of 30m N-S and 30m E-W as marked in red on the attached map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as an example of a 16th century tower house. The straight stair rising within the wall thickness and serving the upper floors of the tower, is an unusual feature. The archaeology of this monument has the potential to greatly increase our knowledge about the construction techniques, defences and function of such monuments.



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 54 SE 1.


MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries', II, 5v, Edinburgh, Vol. 5, 352-3.

RCAHMS (1915) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Sixth report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Berwick, Edinburgh, 126-7, No. 241.

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

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