Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Sauchie Tower (Clackmannan) Past & Present

Sauchie Tower (Clackmannan)

Sauchie Tower - its future secure thanks to a grant from Historic Scotland.
Left: Sauchie occupied in 1900 and (right) in more recent times during an SCA visit.

Sauchie is a well-built tower house of the 15th century standing some 55 feet high with walls 6 feet thick. It comprises of 4 floors with entresol and is topped by a broad, corbelled parapet with rounds. An hexagonal cap-house provides a pleasing feature. The ground floor is vaulted and the hall is provided with a fine fireplace. One of the windows retains its grille.

However, the present appearance is misleading. In 2005 excavations revealed a far more extensive structure. The early 15th century date was confirmed but it also uncovered a contemporary (or near contemporary) courtyard range consisting of a great hall, kitchen and bake house - the whole being enclosed by a wall and ditch. Later in the century 'dumbbell'" gun loops were inserted into this wall. Minor alterations were made in the 16th century but the year 1631 heralded a major change when a new accommodation block, known as 'Old Sauchie House, was added.

This was built against the perimeter wall but did not disturb the existing ranges.

All was to change in the 18th century when a fire ravaged the tower and much of the courtyard range was demolished as circumstances changed. The 1631 addition was sub-divided into tenanted dwelling, which were occupied until the 20th century.

The Coal Board purchased the site in 1930. Old Sauchie House's days were numbered and its destruction followed. Fortunately the tower proved to be more robust.

Sauchie Tower was rescued from decay by the Clackmannan Historical Trust who had a wire inserted at the upper level to retain the walls and had the tower re-roofed thus allowing it to dry out. The trust does not yet have a use or an owner for the tower.

In 2012 Sauchie was granted £278,448 by Historic Scotland and its future is secure.

Added: 04 Sep 2012 Updated: 08 Dec 2014
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