Border Castles and Towers

Gilnockie Tower (Hollows Tower)

Location: To locate the tower take the A7 north from Longtown. Pass the second road off to the right signposted Canonbie and then turn right down a minor road.
Take the first on the left to the tower.

The tower was built in the late sixteenth century on the site of an earlier bastle house.

Although a number of Armstrong chiefs are reported to have lived here, it could scarcely have accommodated a chief and his family and his retinue. 
It was more likely to have been part of the defensive system of Gilnockie Castle.

A rare feature still to be found is the beacon grate perched on the roof. These were part of a signalling system to warn of an impending attack.

Inside the entrance is a stone slab known as the "Dead Stone." It is said that beneath this slab many Armstrongs of note lie buried. The practice of burying the dead at the entrance to the tower appears to have been quite common in the Borders.

However, in some parts of the Border an enemy of the owning family was buried under the entrance slab. They were humiliated in death by being walked upon by their enemy.

The tower was restored in 1980 and there is access right up to the parapet on the roof.

There is said to be a passage from the tower under the Esk to Gilnockie Castle but no trace of it has been found.


Presently owned by an Armstrong in the custody of another Armstrong who lives nearby in Canonbie who will arrange a guided tour which is strongly recommended.

Phone 013873 71876 to make arrangements.