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Gillesbie Tower, Dryfedale, Dumfriesshire

Remains of Gillesbie Tower, Dryfedale across the Dryfe water

The shattered remains of Gillesbie Tower are perched precariously above the Dryfe water, high in Dryfedale and are overgrown with near impenetrable flesh-tearing varieties of hawthorn and briar. The remains are not easily dateable nor readily identifiable as those of a tower from the track that passes close by.

The tower is strongly defended on the east by the steep, rocky bank of the Dryfe water. On the western of landward-side the site is secured by a wide ditch and a ten foot high earthern rampart that was most likely topped by a wooden palisade in its heyday.

The earthwork encloses a roughly semi-circular area or barmkin that at one time joined the river bank to complete a circuit of outer defence. A modern farm road now cuts through the earthwork and separates it from the tower. This was a stronghold of the Grahams of Gillesbie. “John Grame of Gillesbye” is recorded in 1486 and James Graham of Gillesbie is on record in 1531, 1555, 1560 and 1579.

Location: Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfriesshire, Dryfedale
OS sheet: 79  NY171919

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