Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future


Littledean Tower (Roxburghshire) - Past and Present

A 16th century tower of unique design and of two distinct periods, Littledean stands in a picturesque position above the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. The earliest building was a typical oblong peel tower. In 1544 the English troops under the Earl of Hertford attacked Littledean and carried the barmkin. However, the tower 'mured with earth' resisted all attempts to set it on fire. This, together with the vigorous defence of its occupants, forced the English to abandon their attack.

Littledean 1963
Littledean in 1963 showing its position above the River Tweed

No doubt as a consequence of this narrow escape, Littledean's defences were augmented by the addition of a substantial and unusual D-shaped tower bristling with gunloops and covering all approaches. The slots for the wooden sills which mounted the guns can be seen. The whole is carried out in excellent red sandstone.

Littledean 2015
Littledean in 2015 showing its present condition and intruding forestry

The tower is in a critical condition with a crack, extending from a window to a robbed-out aperture, (compare the two photographs) giving grave cause for concern.


Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.



Added: 29 Sep 2015 Updated: 29 Sep 2015
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