Amisfield Tower

Amisfield Tower

Amisfield Tower is an impressive, well-preserved castle about 5 miles north of Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The castle, also known as Hempisfield Tower, is still occupied.

The location of Amisfield Tower is at .

History

There has probably been a stronghold on this site since the twelfth century, but the present tower was built by the Charteris family around 1600. That family feuded with the Kilpatricks of Kirkmichael leading to the murder of Roger Kilpatrick in 1526. The property passed to John Dalziel of Newton in 1636. The Dalziels supported the Stuarts in the British Civil War, and captain Alexander Dalziel was executed as a royalist in 1650.

Description

Although the basic plan of Amisfield is a simple square, with four stories and an attic, its richness in corbelling, and turrets gives it a more romantic guise. Three corners have double-storeyed turrets, while the fourth is decked. It has a steeply-pitched roof. These upper features are built in warm, red ashlar, in contrast to the rubble walls below. As the tower was not built primarily for defence all of its shotholes are in the upper levels.

From first floor to base of the tower there is a projecting stair-tower, round for two stories, corbelling out to the square turret above . The entrance is defended by a machiolation.

Within the castle the rooms have fine fire-places, and evidence of tempera wall-painting. The hall, on the first floor, has a garderobe, and three windows. There is a vaulted basement.

Hubert Fenwick described Amisfield as “simply marvellous”, saying that it “displays almost every Jacobean baronial conceit”

Features

The corbelling is so-called billet-and-cable design, the stonework imitating logs and rope. The dormer windows adapted the old French form of bretèche. Dog-toothed motifs surround the armorial panels and some of the windows.

Bibliography

  • The Castles of Scotland, Martin Coventry, Goblinshead, 2001
  • Scotland's Castles, Hubert Fenwick, Robert Hale Ltd, 1976.

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