Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie, Scottish Borders

Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie, Scottish Borders.

This afternoon, I am focusing on Gilnockie Tower in the Scottish Borders region. This is the only survivor from around 60-80 stone or wooden towers of similar design in the region of Eskdale, Ewesdale and Liddesdale. The Tower dates from the 16th century and is situated on the west bank of the River Esk. The Tower is privately owned but is cared for by Armstrong Clan Association due to the historic connections with that Clan.

River Esk at Gilnockie Tower

River Esk at Gilnockie Tower

The Tower was originally named Holehouse (house by the hole) with hole referring to the nearby quarry formed when the Tower was originally built.It was registered as Gilnockie in 1937 and as Gilnockie Tower in 1981. At the latter date it was described as “this oblong tower-house of 16th century date stands to a height of four storeys and a garret and bears a beacon-stance on the SSW gable. Attributed to the Armstrongs.” There is speculation that the Tower was connected with the infamous Johnnie Armstrong, the last Chief of Clan Armstrong.

The Tower is unoccupied but visits can be arranged by appointment.

Gilnockie Tower is located close to the village of Canonbie, five miles south of Langholm and sixteen miles directly north of Carlisle.

A visit to the Tower usually features in a Clan Armstrong and/or Border Reivers tour of Scotland.

Interior fireplace at Gilnockie Tower, Scottish Borders.

Interior fireplace at Gilnockie Tower, Scottish Borders.

Interior of Gilnockie Tower. Green colouring in window arch indicates water ingress.

Interior of Gilnockie Tower. Green colouration in window arch indicates water ingress.

Prehistoric 'rock art' on ground floor entrance door step. Design may be 5000 years old.

Prehistoric ‘rock art’ on ground floor entrance door step. Design may be 5000 years old.

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