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The Gatehouse website record of

withisleis (Woodlees)

a location shown on a 1590 map of the West Marches of Scotland (The Aglionby Platt)

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as; Woodhouselees; Waddusles; Woodhously; Kinmont Tower (in error)

In the civil parish of Canonbie.
In the historic county of Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
Modern Authority of Dumfries And Galloway, Scotland.
1974 county of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY38917412
Latitude 55.05783° Longitude -2.95782°

The given map reference is suggested as the probable location of withisleis shown on the Aglionby Platt.

There are uncertain remains.

The likely form(s) of this building in 1590 are;

  • Pele House ('bastle')
    Unmortared Pele.

A section of the 1590 Aglionby Platt. Image reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland
Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

(NY 3891 7412) Kinmont Tower (NR) (Site of) (OS 6" map (1957))
Published apparently on the authority of local residents (Name Book 1858, as the stronghold owned and occupied by Kinmont Willie (Armstrong), who in fact had Sark, or Morton, which is shown on a map of 1590 as Kinmont Tower.
This is almost certainly the site of one of the two towers shown on the map (Royal MS. 18D iii, Burghley Atlas map 1590) at Woodhouselees (Withisleis). Ebye Armstrong, 'the goodman of Waddusles', is mentioned in 1583. The majority of the many border towers in the area were owned by members of the Armstrong clan. (J and R Hyslop 1912; H Maxwell 1896)
At this site, there is a very large, probably artifical, circular gravelly mound, with a flattish top, which measures about 20 m in diameter and 1 m high, being quarried into on the SE side. It is unlikely to be associated with the quarry to the SE. No trace of any tower exists on the mound, nor could any local information be found regarding the name of the tower. (Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (WDJ) 23 June 1970)
The mound, which pre-dates the quarry (not shown), is shown as a pecked outline, some 21.0m by 23.0m. A penannular ring of trees occupies the site of the quarry. (OS 25" map (1859))
No change to the previous field report. (Visited by OS (JP) 20 February 1973)
Situated at the edge of a terrace 190m SW of Woodslee House, there is what may be a cairn measuring 19m in diameter and 1.5m in height.
Nothing can be seen of the tower of 'Withisleis' which is noted on a map of 1590; it was probably situated in the vicinity of Woodslee House (NY 391 742). (RCAHMS 1981, visited October 1980. J Blaeu 1654; J and R Hyslop 1912; T H B Graham 1912)
Listed as cairn and tower. (RCAHMS 1997)

What was the nature of the C16 building? Was it a timber house, as the place name suggests or had an earlier timber house been replaced by a stone building of some form by 1590?
What is the nature of the cairn. Is it a collapsed, clay bonded, stone peel-house or a collapsed timber-framed initially cob house with walls revetted in stone or just a field clearance cairn. Is modern Woodlees House built on the site of the C16 building?
The cairn is said to predate the small adjacent quarry. Is it possible to date the quarry? Was this quarry opened to build a stone peel of some form?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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This record created on 08/06/2015 09:48:44; This record last updated on 17/09/2015 11:21:17

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