History in Structure

Whittingehame Tower

A Category A Listed Building in Whittingehame, East Lothian

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Latitude: 55.9506 / 55°57'2"N

Longitude: -2.6385 / 2°38'18"W

OS Eastings: 360223

OS Northings: 673246

OS Grid: NT602732

Mapcode National: GBR 2Y.Y14Z

Mapcode Global: WH8W4.FPSK

Plus Code: 9C7VX926+6H

Entry Name: Whittingehame Tower

Listing Name: Whittingehame Tower, (Formerly Whittingehame Castle) with Wellhead and Sundial

Listing Date: 5 February 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 351439

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB17500

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200351439

Location: Whittingehame

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Dunbar and East Linton

Parish: Whittingehame

Traditional County: East Lothian

Tagged with: Castle

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Late 15th to early 16th century L-plan tower house, with
single storey wing to W probably added in early 19th
century along with further alterations, and gabled
2-storey projection to S added 1964. 2-storey tower
house with cap-house. Deep corbelled and crowstepped
parapet with water spouts at intervals. Red rubble
sandstone; harled brick to 1964 addition. Chamfered
arrises to windows; small-pane glazing to sash and case
form. Grey slates.
TOWER: stair jamb to E side; doorway to left with roll and
cavetto surround and lintel shield (Douglases of
Whittingehame); small irregular stair windows above and
gunloop under parapet; further blind gunloops on N side.
N elevation with 2 early 19th century hoodmoulded
windows at 1st floor with smaller earlier window above.
Addition of 1964 on S elevation to right side with early
19th century wing adjoined to SW corner. W elevation
given hoodmould; small square window at centre. Early
19th century wing adjoined to SW corner. W elevation
given pointed-arch window at ground, probably in early
19th century; blind gunloop above and window under
parapet (recently repaired). Crowstepped gables to
cap-house, with gable-end stacks; diminutive cap-house
above stair jamb.
W WING: single storey, flat-roofed, 7-bay wing running to
W, adjoined to SW corner of tower, probably altered in
early 19th century and incorporating earlier walls and
formerly with crenellated parapet. N elevation blank with
dagger carved on 1 stone. 7 hoodmoulded windows to S
elevation, with penultimate window to right altered to
doorway (French windows). Moulded eaves cornice to N.
Drum stack, recently altered.
S ADDITION: 2-bays deep. Irregular windows with gabled
dormerheads to 1st floor windows breaking eaves;
doorway on S gabled elevation.
TOWER INTERIOR: barrel-vaulted ground floor,
white-washed. Outstanding 17th century strapworked
plaster ceiling to 1st floor drawing room with heraldic,
mystical and fertility symbols set in naturalistic borders
(recently restored). 17th century woodwork and wall
recess (servery); egg and dart enrichment to doors,
probably later 17th century.
WELLHEAD: white stone circular wellhead with acanthus
carving, worked at corners to support moulded square
surround; set on octagonal base. Decorative
wrought-iron overthrow.
SUNDIAL: octagonal stone columnar sundial set on stepped
octagonal base with blind quatrefoil carving on pedestal
and blind Y-tracery moulding to shaft; acanthus moulding
to wider neck and table cornice.

Statement of Interest

Possibility of 14th century date for the Tower was debated by Marshall B Lang. The Darnley Conspiracy was allegedly hatched at the Tower, 1567, and the carved dagger may conceivably be related to this event. The Tower was formerly known as the Castle and comprised a 5-pointed star, of which all but the earliest tower have since been demolished, but the lines of gables on remaining parapet presumably relate to former wings. The cap-house was later used as a dovecot and certain windows were blocked. The plaster ceiling bears similarities with other 17th century ceilings on the E coast of Scotland, such as nearby Lennoxlove, and House of Binns, suggesting the same workmen were employed. The wellhead takes the form of a capital from a Greek temple and a similar wellhead can be seen at Westerdunes, Dirleton Parish. The early 19th century work was almost certainly by William Atkinson, who effected a parallel restoration at Biel House, nearby, circa 1814-17, including numerous hoodmoulds. Whittingehame House was built in 1817 to replace the Tower as the Balfour mansion. The extent of the remaining buildings in 1819, including the 17th century service buildings and gun platform, is evident on the estate plan by John Mason, surveyor (RHP.2518, of 1819).

External Links

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