Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Langshaw Tower (Roxburghshire) - Past and Present

This remains of this little tower are situated on high moorland not far from the border town of Melrose. The building is of two periods, the first a vaulted L-plan tower house of the 16th century. The upper floors were reached by a newel staircase in the re-entrant.

Langshaw Tower 1890
Langshaw Tower circa 1890

This part is much ruined but better preserved is the 17th century addition of a two storey oblong block whose kitchen - with its fireplace and oven - is preserved. A semi-circular staircase once straddled both buildings to improve access to the upper levels.

The walls are of whin-stone bedded in clay mortar. The tower would have been finished with harling and lime wash.

Towers never stood alone and the discerning eye will make out the walled gardens that once accompanied Langshaw (which means the long wood).

Langshaw Tower
Langshaw Tower today

Langshaw Tower belonged to the Pringle family*. It was occupied until the 18th century and latterly was used as the village school. Since then it has been allowed to ruin but is capable of restoration as similar sites have proved.

A curious fact is that Langshaw Tower stands within sight of two other towers - Comslie and Hillslap. Of the three, Hillslap has been rescued to become a far-sighted restorer's home (click here to see how it looks today).

Langshaw Tower is a scheduled monument.

* Thanks to the Scottish Castles Association's own John Pringle whose unique photographs illuminate so many of our postings. Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.

Added: 21 Oct 2016 Updated: 21 Oct 2016
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