the peel tower

The peel tower was a fortified house designed to protect the laird and his retainers during an assault.  In this case it contains four floors. The ground floor would be entered through the door on the bottom left, while the wooden forestairs would lead to the the 1st floor hall.  The two upper floors could be used as bedrooms etc.  The roof would have a parapet and beacons, which would 

be lit in the event of an attack

Photograph by Jonathan Oldenbuck - 

Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 


In this picture you get a better look at what the forestairs look like. They were made out of wood so, if necessary they could burn them to prevent the enemy from getting up them. 

Also, by positioning the steps alongside the tower, it made it 

virtually impossible for the attackers to use 

a battering ram on the door.

Photograph by Jonathan Oldenbuck - 

Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


In this picture you can see what remains of the barmekin wall. These walls generally rose about fifteen feet high and were about three feet thick.

Photograph by Jonathan Oldenbuck - 

Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


 If you look closely at this barmekin wall you can see the walkway along the top.

Photograph by Colin Riegels 


 Here is a closeup photo of the materials used to build the peel tower ad barmekin wall.

Photograph by Michael Garlick


 This is what the undercroft might look like, minus the modern day window and cast iron fencing of course.

Photograph by Jonathan Oldenbuck - 

Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 

About Us


This is the view looking down the turnpike staircase.  Watch out for the "trip step".

Photographed by Wknight94

Own work, CC BY - SA 3.0


Generate excitement


Overhead view of a peel tower.  

Note the walk around the edge and the crenelation. The beacons would be lit up here. (This tower has clearly been modernized 

as the peel towers of the 16th century were

 not likely to have so many windows.)  

Trimmed from the original

Photography by Simon Ledingham

CC BY - SA 2.0


Close the deal

Looking up the side of the tower, you can see arrow slots that can be used to fire down upon the enemy during a raid.

Photographed by By Wknight94 

 Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 


A corner in the great hall on the first floor of the peel tower might look like this.

Photograph by Kim Traynor

CC BY - SA 2.0


Generate excitement

An entryway with inner yett.  In some cases there was a small vestibule between the yett and the door, as in this case.  If the enemy made it through the outer door, the defender could drop hot coals etc. on them from above.  

Also note the small window on the right which 

could be used for defense. You can also see 

the doorway to the second floor above.

Photographed by Stephen McKay

CC BY - SA 2.0


 In this case the yett is directly behind the door. You can see it beneath the rotted door.


 Close up of a yett with outer door.

Photographed by Valenta

CC BY - SA 2.0


Side view of the above yett and door.

Photographed by Valenta

CC BY - SA 2.0


The bastle house


This is an example of a Border bastile house.  

A stone forestair has replaced a wooden one and the 

extra door is a more modern addition,

Photograph by Steve M, 

CC BY-SA 2.0


Undercroft of the bastle house.

Photograph by Steve M, 

CC BY-SA 2.0



Grab interest

A typical Border cottage, one  Some, like Geordie Armstrong's or Graham Foster's, might have dormers for the second story.

Photograph by R H Dengate

CC BY - SA 2.0



the shieling


Grab interest

During the summer months, someone would stay in a shieling to tend to the grazing cattle.

Photograph by Philip

CC BY - SA 2.0