We were commissioned to complete a desk-based assessment on the history of Kirkhope Tower prior to completing an excavation of the ruinous barmkin in the scheduled area to the south of the tower. The client purchased and renovated the tower in the 1990s and had a number of questions he hoped could be answered by historical research and archaeological investigation. Chief among these was the extent of the damage caused by the documented raid by the Armstrongs during the 1540s, and whether the barmkin around the tower had ever been re-occupied following this event.
The historical analysis demonstrated that although a building on the site is not alluded to until the sack of 1543, and not specifically mentioned until 1582, Kirkhope was clearly an economic unit of a much earlier date. The Scotts of Harden with whom the site is traditionally associated are likely to have taken residence as tenants of the Cranstouns in the mid-16th century. The site remained important after the sack of 1543, indicating it was re-occupied. The early map evidence also alluded to this with William Roy’s map of c.1750 showing the tower within an encircling courtyard.
A topographic survey completed in conjunction with the desk-based assessment revealed a number of unexplained anomalies both inside, and outwith the scheduled area.
The subsequent archaeological investigation revealed no evidence for the destruction of the barmkin. The architectural survival of the site was shown to be significant with substantial clay and lime bonded walling surviving up to an estimated 2m in height. A springing for an arch and surviving chamfered door jamb showed that the barmkin had been a structure significant in size and status.
OASIS Entry and report download.