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Druimcoltran Castle, Dumfriesshire


Now in a dilapidated and uncared-for condition, this interesting fortalice stands, surrounded by farm-buildings, about a mile-and-a-half N.N.E. of Kirkgunzeon. The building consists of a large rectangular tower, three storeys and a garret in height, with a stair-tower extending Northwards at the West end and rising a storey higher.

The main block is provided with a parapet supported on individual corbels, and the upper portion of the stair-tower contains a small chamber reached by a little turret stair, corbelled out in the re-entrant angle, after the fashion so popular in Galloway. The doorway, which is defended by a wide gun-loop to the North, lies in the re-entrant angle, and at some height above is an empty panel-space surmounted by a Latin inscription con¬taining the injunction: “Keep hidden what is secret; speak little; be truthful; avoid wine; remember death; be pitiful.”

The basement is vaulted and was formerly the kitchen, but it has latterly been subdivided. A large moulded fireplace lies in the East wall and to the North is a stone sink and drain. The window in the North wall has been enlarged to form a door to the Eastern chamber, and another door has been opened at the West side.

The first floor, which contained the Hall, was divided into three small chambers when the castle was converted into a farm-workers’ tenement. A mural chamber opens from the stair at this level.

The second floor has contained two apartments, each being provided with two garderobes, and a fireplace in the gable, and the N.E. angle has been slightly thinned to form a recess. A mural chamber which has connected with both the Western apartment and the stair lies in the North wall and is lit by a tiny window.

The attic storey contains one large room with a fireplace to the West, and from this level a short flight of steps leads from the main stairhead to the parapet walk.

Unfortunately this interesting building is now neglected and the upper floors are in a dangerous condition. It appears to date from the 16th century, the lands at that period being held by a branch of the Maxwell family.

Source: The Fortalices and Early Mansions of Southern Scotland 1400 to 1650. Tranter, Nigel. Published by The Moray Press, Edinburgh & London (1935)

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