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The Gatehouse website record of

ye roythies (Woodhouse Tower)

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Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as; Wardhouse

In the civil parish of Kirkpatrick-fleming.
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: NY25077149
Latitude 55.03233° Longitude -3.17374°

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

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

  • Tower House (gentry).

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 2507 7149) Woodhouse Tower (NR) (Remains of) (OS 6" map (1957)).
(Tower-house of the Fourth Period). The tower-houses of Bonshaw (NY27SW 6.00), Robgill (NY27SW 7.00) and Wardhouse/Woodhouse are all situated in the same locality, and within one mile of each other, being in the parish of Annan and from four to five miles distant from the town of that name. They stand in a singularly beautiful valley, through which runs the Kirtle Water. Of the three towers, only Bonshaw is anything like perfect, the other two having had very rough usage. They have all evidently been built about the same time and have many points of resemblance to each other. They are within a few feet of the same size, the average dimensions being about 34 ft (10.4m) by 25 ft (7.6m). Bonshaw is slightly the largest. Bonshaw and Robgill have each a splayed base, and the entrance doorway and staircase are alike in both. The mode in which Robgill was finished at the top cannot now be positively ascertained, but the other two towers were almost identical in the corbelling and parapet, and both have splayed shot-holes and the same small high window on the ground floor. In each case the ground floor only is vaulted.
Wardhouse is situated on the banks of the Kirtle, almost opposite Ribgill, but only on the ground floor is the outline of the tower entire. Some years ago the building fell, through neglect and decay, but was immediately re-erected as see it now. The staircase is narrower than in the other towers, and is situated in the corner opposite the door. The upper floor windows are about 2 ft (0.6m) square, placed in the centre of arched recesses. Only one side of the hall fireplace remains; it has been large and good. This tower has been a storey higher than its neighbours at Bonshaw and Robgill. (D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92)
The restored N wall with its return at each angle and the grass-grown foundations of the S, and parts of the E and W walls remain. Some 32 ft. by 24 ft. 6 in. overall, the walls 5 ft. thick. Very similar to the 16th c towers at Bonhaw (NY27SW 6) and Robgill (NY27SW 7). (RCAHMS 1920)
Woodhouse Tower, restored 1877, is as described by RCAHMS. A newel stairway is in the NE angle. There are traces of a courtyard wall on all four sides. Revised at 25". Visited by OS (WDJ) 18 October 1967
No change to previous field report. Visited by OS (IA) 21 February 1973.
The imposing remains of this late 16th-century tower-house occupy a commanding position on the escarpment to the E of the Kirtle Water and in sight of Robgill Tower (NY27SW 7). The surviving fragment comprises the NE wall (to wall-head height) and parts of the adjoining NW and SE walls, the latter, together with the greater part of the NE wall, having been restored in 1877. Fragmentary turf-covered foundations of the corresponding SW wall indicate that the tower was rectangular on plan, measuring 9.6m from NW to SE by 7m transversely over wall up to 1.7m thick at ground-floor level. The tower originally stood to a height of three storeys and an attic.
The entrance was probably at the W end of the SW wall, where there is a surviving jamb, checked internally and wrought with a quirked roll-and-hollow moulding and fact, stopped with a splay. A newel-stair, accommodated in a stair-well in the E angle of the tower, may have been contrived as part of the 1877 restoration to allow access to the wall-head. The stair-treads have been almost entirely removed, only the stubs remaining. Two slit-windows in the SE wall, lighting the stair, are square-arrised and clearly date from the restoration. The wall-head carries a two-strand corbel table with a rolled sill and cyma-recta moulded cornice, apparently for a continuous parapet of slight projection. The NW wall terminates on the N with a plain-coped gable for a garret.
The basement was vaulted, although only a portion of the springing in the NE wall remains, providing the clearest indication of the extent of the 1877 restoration; it was lit by a wide-mouthed horizontal gunloop set central to each wall. A vertical window with a stepped sill is set beneath the projected soffit of the vault and may indicate the former presence of an entresol, or a wish to provide additional light.
At first-floor level, in the NW wall, there is the ingo, with aumbry (salt-box) and roll-moulded jamb, for the hall fireplace, and, beside it, an aumbry checked for a wooden frame and door. In a corresponding position in the NE wall, there is a window embrasure with segmental lead and ashlar rear-arch, cut-back window seats, and an aumbry in the ingo. The window itself, originally barred and checked for a fixed frame, has a stout roll-moulded arris. Two corbels in the NE wall, together with a projecting jamb for a fireplace in the NW wall, indicate the position of the joisted timber floor at second-floor level. On this floor, the only surviving features are an aumbry in the NW wall, and a window embrasure, with a semental head, in the NE wall. Externally, this window, too, has a stout edge roll. A solitary corbel towards the N end of the NE wall indicates the floor-level of the garret; the fireplace in the NW wall has a plain ashlar jamb.
On the WSW side of the tower, and extending along the edge of the escarpment, there are the turf-covered footings of the barmkin wall. This returned some 15m to the SW of the tower, being here represented by a turf-covered stony bank spread up to 2.5m thick and 0.6m high. A shallow rectangular depression within the angle of the barmkin may indicate the presence of an outbuilding measuring about 9.6m by 6m overall. Visited by RCAHMS (IMS), 14 October 1993.
Listed as tower. (RCAHMS 1997)
Scheduled as 'Woodhouse Tower... the remains of... a late 16th-century tower house, sited in a commanding position on the escarpment east of the Kirtle Water.'
Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 22 January 2008.
Description: Probably 16th century. Surviving full-height N wall and returns of ruinous tower house. Rubble-built ashlar dressings. Gun port at ground; corbelled parapet; wheel stair (steps broken) within NE angle.
Notes: Stabilised 1877 (inscribed stone).
References: RCAHM INVENTORY 1920 No 368.
Listed B 3 August 1971
De-listed May 2008
(Undated) information from Historic Scotland. (Canmore)

The monument comprises the remains of Woodhouse Tower, a late 16th-century tower house, sited in a commanding position on the escarpment east of the Kirtle Water. The tower is believed to have been constructed by the Irvings shortly after their purchase of this section of the lands of Woodhouse. It also underwent restoration work in 1877, following the collapse of a sizeable amount of the wall.
Tower houses were a popular form of late-medieval fortified dwelling house, particularly popular in the 16th century and found across Scotland in a variety of styles and locations. The surviving fragment of Woodhouse Tower (also known as Wardhouse Tower) consists of the NE wall, which survives to wall-head height, and parts of the adjoining NW and SE walls. The SW wall is still indicated by grass-grown foundations. From the remains the tower was evidently rectilinear in plan, measuring around 9.6m NW-SE by around 7m transversely. The walls vary in thickness up to maximum of around 1.7m.
From the remains, it appears that the tower originally accommodated three floors and an attic. The entrance is likely to have been located in the W end of the SW wall, where a surviving jamb (side post of a door, arch or window) is currently located. The stairwell for a newel stair (spiral staircase with central column) in the E corner of the tower is believed to date from the 1877 restoration work, to allow access to the wall-head. Only the stubs of the stairs remain, the remainder having been almost entirely removed. The two slit windows lighting the stairwell are square-arrissed (angled corners bevelled) and obviously added as part of the restoration work. The wall-head carries a two-strand corbel (stone block(s) projecting from wall) table with a rolled sill and cyma-recta (concave upper half and convex lower, slightly S-shaped in profile)moulded cornice, apparently for a continuous parapet (low protective wall on outer face of main wall) of slight projection. The N wall terminates on the north with a plain-coped gable for a garret (open space under a roof, similar to a loft space). The basement of the tower was vaulted, as evidenced by the remains of the springing on part of the NE wall. The partial remains of this springing further indicate the 1877 restoration work. The basement appears to have been lit by splayed gunloops set central to each wall, with additional light from a vertical splayed window just below the projected soffit (underside of arch or vault) of the vault. This may also indicate the presence of an entresol (mezzanine floor over the ground floor) at some point. At first floor level, the NW wall displays the ingo (return face of a recessed wall), with aumbry (recess) and roll-moulded jamb, for the hall fireplace. Beside this is another aumbry, checked for wooden frame and door. In a similar position in the NE wall is a window embrasure, with segmental lead and ashlar rear arch, cut-back window seats and an aumbry in the ingo. The window itself, originally barred and checked for a fixed frame, has a stout roll-moulded arris. Two corbels in the NE wall, together with a projecting jamb for a fireplace in the NW wall, indicate the former position of the joisted timber floor for the second floor level. The only surviving features on this level are an aumbry in the NW wall and a window embrasure with segmental head in the NE wall, which also has a stout edge roll externally. The presence of the garret is indicated by a sole corbel towards the N end of the NE wall indicating the floor level and a fireplace in the NW wall with a plain ashlar jamb. Extending along the escarpment and the WSW side of the tower are the turf-covered footings of the barmkin (defensive enclosure attached to the main tower, allowing storage of supplies and enhancing defence) wall. This appears to return around 15m to the SW of the tower, at this point evidenced by a turf-covered stony bank up to 2.5m thick and 0.6m high. A shallow rectangular depression ab...
National Importance
Cultural Significance
The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:
Intrinsic characteristics
A sizeable amount of the structural elements of the tower survive and are clearly visible in the landscape. Although part of the tower and its associated structures are now reduced to foundation level or no longer visible on the surface, the survival of the remaining section of the tower is relatively good, and the surviving sections appear stable. In addition to the standing remains, there is a high potential for buried remains to survive on and around the tower and its barmkin, as it does not appear to have been heavily cultivated in recent history. Such deposits could not only enhance our understanding of the construction, layout and socio-economic circumstances of this particular monument, but also provide valuable data on the economy and inhabitants of the surrounding area. By comparative analysis between this site and others of a similar age and class, the information uncovered at this site could be used to advance our knowledge of this period of history across the country. The renovation work carried out on the tower in 1877 also gives an idea of methods and reasoning used in such work, which may then be applied to the understanding of other monuments where such work has, or is suspected to have, been carried out.
Contextual characteristics
Woodhouse Tower is representative of a class of architecture popular in the 16th century among late-medieval estate owners. Tower houses were found across Scotland, although many examples have since been badly ruined, or lost entirely as upstanding features. Woodhouse tower is directly related to two other towers in the vicinity, those at Bonshaw and at Robgill. Robgill lies around 325m WNW of Woodhouse, and Bonshaw lies around 1km WNW. All three towers appear to have very similar designs, although very little now remains of Robgill, and they all appear to have been built and owned by the Irving family. It is rare to have such a relationship between such structures, and analysis of this relationship has the potential to inform us of similar associations between other structures of this date and type. In addition, the towers control a stretch of the valley of the Kirtle Water, with commanding views and imposing positions. Such a situation has the potential to inform us on the socio-economic situation at the time, which may then be related further afield.
Associative characteristics
Woodhouse Tower is known to have been associated with the Irving family, who appear to have been a relatively strong presence in this part of Scotland, having slowly managed to gain complete control of this section of the Kirtle valley from rivals. In addition, we have records indicating the continued ownership of the castle by the Irving family until it was sold in 1818 by General Sir Paulus Aemilius Irving. There is no record of who carried out the repairs in 1877, but from the fact that repair work was carried out on the apparently increasingly ruinous tower, it is clear that the tower still held a significant place in the local area and in local consciousness.
National Importance
The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to the understanding of the past, in particular later medieval tower houses and their relationship with the land surrounding them. Spatial analysis between this and other contemporary monuments may reveal valuable information on the layout and patterns of later medieval tower houses within the landscape. The loss of the monument would impede our understanding of the placing of such monuments and the nature and purpose of their construction and use. (Scheduling Report)

The fortified house called 'ye roythies' on the 1590 is shown on the east bank of the Kirtle Water and, because of this, I've associated this site with Woodhouse Tower. However the map does sometimes place sites on the wrong side of rivers and this could be Robgill Tower (NY24797163).
The resident householder c. 1590.

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This record created on 02/08/2015 09:44:24; This record last updated on 17/09/2015 10:53:09

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