Scheduled Monument

Carsluith CastleSM90062

Status: Designated


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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
Dumfries And Galloway
NX 49469 54156
249469, 554156


The monument comprises the remains of Carsluith Castle, surviving as a substantial stone structure, along with the courtyard area to the front. The monument is in the care of Historic Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. Carsluith, now beside the A75, stands on a promontory in a commanding position overlooking Wigton Bay to the south, and protected by a natural ravine to the east. The reason for this rescheduling is that no adequate documentation can be traced from the time of the original scheduling in 1921.

At first glance the castle appears to be one of the many L-plan tower houses built by the landed gentry in the years soon after the Reformation in 1560. Its building history however, is more complex, with a probable origin around 1500, as a simple oblong tower owned by the Cairns family, with an original stair within the thickness of the north-west corner. The projecting stair-tower jamb was added around 1568, when the new owners, the Brouns, decided to mark their arrival with a programme of improvements. The arms of the Brouns are carved on a panel above the entrance.

The tower house had four storeys of accommodation, with the hall on the first floor. The addition of the stair tower increased the accommodation and improved circulation within the house. Other improvements at this time included alterations to the battlements, and the construction of a timber gallery on the outside of the north wall, entered from the laird's private apartments on the second floor of the main block. The corbels for this are still visible. The top floor provided additional private chambers. The west jamb of the door leading from the farm court to the castle incorporates a fragment of a medieval grave slab.

Carsluith stayed with the Brouns until 1748, when the estate was sold to Alistair Johnston. The lands passed through several hands before coming into State care in 1913.

The absence of a kitchen within the tower, along with the need for the provision of other ancillary buildings, highlights the archaeological importance of the present courtyard area to the north of the Castle. In this context, the tower itself only represents one half of the picture of the lordly complex. An enclosed barmkin is likely to have existed here, with ranges of buildings including a kitchen and possibly an outer great hall, necessary for the execution of estate business and for entertaining on a more lavish scale. The location of these buildings is now occupied by standing farm steading structures, which do not form part of the scheduling.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described, together with the open courtyard to the north-east. The area proposed for scheduling is larger than that of the property in the care of Historic Scotland. The area is sub-rectangular on plan with maximum dimensions of 33m NE-SW by 22m E-W, as marked in red on the attached map. The modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, as are the upper 250mm of all surfaced paths, yards and garden ground.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a well preserved example of a late medieval laird's house. This importance is reinforced by its completeness, allowing a clear understanding of the planning and functioning of such defended houses. The courtyard is likely to contain buried archaeology which has the potential to inform an understanding of the development of associated barmkin structures. The national importance if further underlined by the Castle's status as a property in the care of Historic Scotland.



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NX45SE1.


Brann J 2001, ?Carsluith Castle, Dumfries and Galloway (Kirkmabreck parish), watching brief?, DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 2, 2001, 26-27.


Stell G 1996, EXPLORING SCOTLAND?S HERITAGE: DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY, Exploring Scotland's Heritage Series, Edinburgh, 113, 2nd ed.

Tranter N 1962-70, THE FORTIFIED HOUSE IN SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 107-8.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Carsluith Castle

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Related Designations

  1. Former steading pavilions flanking Carsluith Castle, including L-plan building to northwest, excluding Scheduled Monument SM90062, Carsluith LB10104

    Designation Type
    Listed Building (C)

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.

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Printed: 25/02/2024 16:11