A Maxwell house
In 1550 the lordship of Kirkcunzeon – the parish in which Drumcoltran Tower lies – passed from the Herries family to the Maxwells of Caerlaverock. A cadet (minor branch) of the Maxwells built the present tower shortly afterwards.
It began as a rectangular tower, but a projecting wing was added by the end of the 1500s. It incorporated a new entrance and the spiral stair. A similar extension can also be seen at <Carsluith Castle>, near Creetown.
In 1668 the Inglis family acquired Drumcoltran, and a descendant built the present farmhouse and steading in the 1700s. Farm servants then inhabited the tower until it was abandoned in the late 1800s.
A Jacobean laird’s house
Drumcoltran is a typical fortified house built by a laird (minor landowner) in James VI’s reign (1567–1625). The relatively plain, L-plan tower consists of three storeys and a garret. Unusually, the corners are rounded, not angled.
At the top is a corbelled parapet. The stair tower rises a storey higher, has no parapet and terminates in a small turret chamber.
The ground floor is divided into a kitchen and storeroom. The first floor originally contained the laird’s hall, heated by a large fireplace. The room was subsequently divided, and a second fireplace added. Most of the window openings are enlargements of the 1700s.
Above the front entrance is a stone heraldic panel. It lacks its owner’s coat-of-arms but still retains a message to those entering his house. The Latin translates as: ‘Keep hidden what is secret; speak little; be truthful; avoid wine; remember death; be merciful.’
- The view from the parapet walk – over the Kirkcudbrightshire countryside.
Region – Dumfries and Galloway
7m north east of Dalbeattie, among farm buildings off the A711.
Grid reference - NX 869 682.