Newbyres Castle (Mid-Lothian)
The fragmentary remains of this 16th century L-plan tower house stands in an open space at Gorebridge, Midlothian.
Rubble built with freestone quoins it has been an extremely attractive tower, vaulted and rising from an offset basement course to a boldly projecting corbelled parapet equipped with rounds. The whole was liberally supplied with gun-loops, 4 at ground level and 2 at the second floor. Of special note was the unusual cap house to the projecting entrance wing, which fell in February 1881. There are indications of a courtyard. An armorial panel was recorded as bearing the Borthwick arms. The local council for reasons of 'public safety' demolished Newbyres in 1963.
All that remains today is the NE corner of the tower (visible in both photographs) and an adjacent mound of rubble.
In 2003 the Gorebridge Development Trust decided to enhance the site for public benefit. As a scheduled ancient monument it was necessary to obtain consent from Historic Scotland.
The Trust amassed capital of £41,000, which enabled the site to be planted with flowers and trees to create a community garden. Close circuit TV protects from vandalism and the Trust ensured that the park was included in Midlothian's ground maintenance contract. In co-operation with the local historical society interpretation panels record the history of the castle. The Trust keep a watching brief on the site to ensure it does not revert to wilderness – an excellent example of what a community can do!
However, where was this awareness in 1963?
Newbyres Castle - Another view of what once was