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Barholm Castle

A Category A Listed Building in Mid Galloway and Wigtown West, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.8495 / 54°50'58"N

Longitude: -4.3055 / 4°18'19"W

OS Eastings: 252073

OS Northings: 552959

OS Grid: NX520529

Mapcode National: GBR HHRW.LK7

Mapcode Global: WH3V2.TCXM

Entry Name: Barholm Castle

Listing Date: 4 November 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 342495

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB10093

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkmabreck

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Mid Galloway and Wigtown West

Traditional County: Kirkcudbrightshire

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Early 17th century. L-plan tower house, probably partly incorporating an earlier rectangular tower. 4-storey tower, main rectangular block to S with projecting stair tower to NE. Roofless but complete to eaves, only barrel vault over the ground floor survives of internal floor levels. Stair however is complete to its proper termination.

Rubble walling, quoins of mixed character being rubble at lower levels: over 1st floor level to main block they change to squared pinkish sandstone; to staircase jamb they are rubble for only first few courses, otherwise of same pink sandstone. This gritty pink sandstone used for most openings, roll-moulded or simply chamfered, rubble openings to ground floor windows. Evidence for an earlier than 17th century origin for Barholm is further indicated by presence of blocked dooway in E wall which once gave access to 1st floor hall, remnants of stone footings, presumably for a stone forestair, have been recently (1988) excavated. Ground floor of the block is occupied by single vaulted chamber with no fireplace, newel stair occupies the whole jamb and rises to 2nd floor. The hall to the 1st floor has a large hearth to S wall, somewhat destroyed with 1 surviving corbel supporting a massive lintel (now broken) with relieving arch above. The 2nd floor has contained 2 chambers each with roll-moulded chimneypieces to gable walls, these chambers are entered by paired doorways from passage in the N wall leading off the stair. The jamb contains newel stair to ground and 1st floors, thereafter stair is carried in a partly corbelled stair turret in re-entrant angle/ To 3rd floor the jamb is slightly corbelled out to give cap house with fireplace, to eaves level there are traces of flagged wall-walk with typical stepped guttering. The main door is of early 17th century date; round-arched with roll-moulded jambs and a crude rope-moulded hood terminating in knotted label stops. Carved grotesque masks and animals decorate hood-mould of a kind typical in area (see also Carsluith Castle, kirkmabreck Parish). To the N wall of the jamb there are 2 windows with quirky ornamental surrounds. To 1st a broad square-headed lintel with shallow sinking cut to form 2 semi-circular arches, giving bipartite effect but without any mullion (see Notes for other examples). To 2nd, a square-headed lintel with ogee sinking similarly "cut out". Otherwise windows of more sober character with roll-mouldings to 1st floor hall, otherwise simply chamfered. formerly 2 ranges of single storey farm buildings (probably 19th century) have abutted to N wall forming a courtyard, now demolished. To W gable, a 2-storey building has once abutted, now also demolished.

Statement of Interest

Now in residential use. Descheduled (2008). It exhibits many features typical of 17th century building in the south west of Scotland. Its conjectural early origin parallels that in many other towers in the area eg Carsluith Castle; Elshieshields Tower, Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire (which also has a blocked 1st floor entrance); Buittle Place, Buittle parish, Stewartry: all are rectangular towers made L-plan by the addition of a narrow stair jamb. Further examples of similar window details at Kelburne House, Largs Parish, ayrshire; Orroland House, Rerrick Parish, Stewartry; Single fragment of diminutive lintel found at Airds farm, Balmaghie Parish, stewartry. Similar grotesque masks found at Carsluith Castle, Kirkmabreck Parish and Dowies, Old Place of Monreith, Penninghame Parish, both Wigtownshire. A group with Barholm Farm, Item No 2.

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