Last Wednesday, 21st November, resistance survey was carried out in the area immediately around the standing remains of Langholm Castle.
Built c.1526, Langholm Castle was the towerhouse of the Armstrongs, the infamous Border Reivers. For 200 years, apart from 3 years where it was surrendered to the English, it served as a stronghold for the family, together with nearby Gilnockie Tower, the Hollows.
By the late 18th century, it was described as a ‘small fragment’, which is much how it stands today – as a single portion of end wall, with two window holes.
The purpose of survey was to begin to explore the complex of earthworks surrounding the standing building on Castleholm. We were joined by pupils from Canobie and Langholm Primaries, as well as Highers students from Langholm Academy, and a team of local volunteers. They were all intrigued to see whether any of the above ground signs of buildings could be related to buried archaeology.
And here’s a sneak preview of the results, which were presented in an evening talk at the Buccleuch Centre a week ago.
To the south of the standing building, an area of low resistance indicates a water-filled ditch, which is defined by high resistance stonework on either side – it looks likely that the current line of the racecourse actually marks the edge of a platform upon which the castle stood, as shown in a painting of 1814. In the grid to the immediate south of the building, a much smaller ditched platform is quite clear. It closely correlates to an earthwork above ground.
To the East of the standing building, a range of high resistance features are visible, which indicate stonework across this area. Whilst some of this may be rubble, there appears to be a circular setting of stonework, possibly up to 15m across. Further processing of the data will hopefully help us to further interpret this feature.
We would like to thank all our volunteers, as well as the Buccleuch Estates, for access to the site, and Langholm Cricket Club for access to the pavilion.
And to the future…
As the main phase of survey comes to an end for this part of the project, we are really keen to hear from as many readers as possible to shape how we take the project forward.
Please take 2 minutes to fill in our survey – it will really give us an idea of how we might best develop a community archaeology project that best serves the region.