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Cavers House

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Record Detail

  • Organisation
    RCAHMS
  • Alternative name(s)
    WARDEN'S TOWER
  • Canmore ID
    55298
  • Site type
    COUNTRY HOUSE, TOWER HOUSE
  • Parish
    CAVERS
  • Council
    ROXBURGHSHIRE
  • NGR
    NT 54060 15455
  • Latitude, longitude
    55.430822N, 2.727503W
  • Archeological notes
    NT51NW 9.00 54060 15455 NT51NW 9.01 54065 15725 Coach House (Centre: NY 5405 1545) Tower (NR) (Ruin) Cavers House. OS 6" map (1923) Cavers House. Built mainly between 1750 and 1884, the large mansion known as Cavers House has grown round a lofty tower which now forms its SE. side; but this tower, which is known locally as the "Warden's Tower", may itself be a secondary construction imposed upon the remains of still earlier building. Unfortunately the tower has undergone such extensive alteration that little or nothing remains by which it can be dated. Its size, however, would suggest a date in the later 15th or early 16th century. On plan it consists of an oblong block measuring about 50 ft. along the S wall by 29 ft. over the E gable; the W gable, however, shows a re-entrant angle at its S end measuring 8 ft. 6 in. from N to S by 3 ft. 6 in. from E to W. The walls vary from 4 ft. 6 in. to 8 ft. 6 in. in thickness. In height there are five storeys and an attic. Both attic and battlements are wholly modern while the two floors beneath were rebuilt in the 17th century, but the three lower floors probably date from about 1500. The masonry is rubble for the most part, but in the lowest part of the S wall there is a considerable amount of ashlar in large blocks. None of the windows is earlier than the 17th century and the majority are quite modern. The tower has been modernised inside. In 1890 the removal of the vault above the first floor disclosed the presence of a fine 13th-century piscina-niche near the east end of the south wall. This appeared to be in situ, and hence it would appear that some part of the wall containing it was older than the tower. It may have been a vestige of the Baliol castle of which mention is made below. The piscina niche has a foiled head, and when first uncovered was enclosed by a plain circular moulding which an ignorant mason removed to make the feature flush with the wall. The niche-opening measures 2 ft. 3 in. in height, 1 ft. 4 1/4 in. in width, and 7 1/4 in. deep, while the sill, shaped on the dexter side as a piscina and on the sinister side as a credence, projects about 3 in. more, being set out on two moulded brackets formed like capitals of the period, the lowest member of each being cone-shaped with a floriated end and finishing downwards in a thumb-knot. Apart from this feature, the interior of the tower contains nothing of interest. The first extension of the tower was a wing thrown out to the N in alinement with the E gable; it was built about 1700, but was reconstructed in 1887. In the 12th and 13th centuries Cavers belonged to the Baliols. In 1352-3 the lands of the barony were granted by David II to William, Lord Douglas. As time went on certain parts of the barony were alienated, and in 1511 James IV made a fresh grant of the free barony of Cavers to James Douglas- this included the town of Cavers with the lands, castle, manor and mill. The "castrum" of this latter charter is probably the existing tower, and it is again mentioned in a charter of 1576-7. (Reg Magni Sig Reg Scot 1984). In 1542 Cavers was burnt by Dacre with the help of Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm (Acts Parl Scot), and in 1545 it figures in a list of places "brent, raced, and cast doune" by Hertford (D Laing 1855; Haynes "Collection of State Papers", p.53). RCAHMS 1956, visited 1933 Cavers House was demolished while the RCAHMS inventory was in the press. ".. The foundations of the oldest part of the house date back to the year 1200..." (J A H Murray 1913) Trans Hawick Archaeol Soc 1953 A substantial part of Cavers House still remains to its eaves, though it is roofless. It is not clear from the account given whether this includes the 'tower' described above. The owner was emphatic that no part of the house could have been described as 'ruin' at the time of the last revision. Information from OS (J C Armitage) 8 February 1966
  • Architectural notes
    NMRS REFERENCE: Cavers House was gutted in 1952/3 and demolished in1953. Information from Demolitions catalogue held in RCAHMS library.

Related material information

SCANNED IMAGES

  • 55298 (1953)
    Drawing showing sketch perspective view from N, based on a photograph taken at the time of demolition.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Elevation showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Photographic copy of elevation showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Ground plan of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Photographic copy of elevation showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Plans of additions and alterations as built. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Photographic copy of plan showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Plans of additions and alterations as built. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Sketch elevations of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Ground plan and floor plans of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (2001)
    Photographic copy of alternative sketch elevation of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Front elevation. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Sections showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Side elevation. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Sketch elevation of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (24/10/1979)
    View of remains from E after partial demolition.

PRINT ROOM

  • 55298 (1953)
    Sketch perspective view from N, based on a photograph taken at the time of demolition.

PHOTOGRAPHS

  • 55298 (1953)
    Photographic copy of drawing showing sketch perspective view from N, based on a photograph taken at the time of demolition.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Sections showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Side elevation. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Front elevation. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Ground plan of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Plans of additions and alterations as built. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Elevation showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Plans of additions and alterations as built. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Ground plan and floor plans of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Sketch elevations of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Sketch elevation of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (2001)
    Photographic copy of alternative sketch elevation of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Photographic copy of elevation showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Photographic copy of elevation showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Photographic copy of plan showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (1950)
    View from N.
  • 55298 (1950)
    View from SE.
  • 55298 (1880)
    Copy of historic photograph showing general view from E.
  • 55298 (15/11/1979)
    Photographic copy of drawing showing ground floor plan of part of sixteenth century tower house.
  • 55298 (15/11/1979)
    Photographic copy of drawing showing basement plan of part of the sixteenth century tower house.
  • 55298 (15/11/1979)
    Photographic copy of drawing showing basement and ground floor plans of sixteenth century tower house, shaded to show later development.
  • 55298 (1950)
    View from N.
  • 55298 (1950)
    View from SE.
  • 55298 (1950)
    Detail of entrance.
  • 55298 (1890)
    Copy of historic photograph showing general view from SE.
  • 55298 (1950)
    View from E.
  • 55298 (1950)
    View from NE.
  • 55298 (24/10/1979)
    Interior. Detail of arched niche in S wall of S wing.
  • 55298 (24/10/1979)
    Deatil of date stone in E facade.
  • 55298 (24/10/1979)
    View of remains from E after partial demolition.
  • 55298 (24/10/1979)
    View of remains from NE after partial demolition.
  • 55298 (24/10/1979)
    View of remains from NW after partial demolition.
  • 55298 (1880)
    Copy of historic photograph showing view from N.
  • 55298 (1880)
    Copy of historic photograph showing view from SE.
  • 55298 (1880)
    Copy of historic photograph showing view from NE.
  • 55298 (1940)
    View from SE.
  • 55298 (1880)
    Copy of historic photograph showing view from NE.
  • 55298 (1880)
    Copy of historic photograph showing view from W.
  • 55298 (1940)
    General view from N.
  • 55298 (1940)
    View from S.
  • 55298 (1975)
    View of remains of house after partial demolition from NE.

DIGITAL IMAGES

  • 990979 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of drawing showing elevation. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990978 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of elevation of additions and alterations 12. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990971 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of elevation of additions and alterations 11. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990969 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of sections and elevations of additions and alterations 10. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990967 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of sections of additions and alterations 9. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990966 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of sections of additions and alterations 8. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990965 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of sections of additions and alterations 7. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990963 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of roof plan of additions and alterations 6. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990937 (3/1885)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Digital copy of plans of additions and alterations 4.
  • 990936 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of plans of additions and alterations 3. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990934 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of plans of additions and alterations 2. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 990932 (3/1885)
    Digital copy of plans of additions and alterations 1. For Capt Palmer Douglas.

PRINTS AND DRAWINGS

  • 55298 (3/1885)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Elevation showing additions and alterations.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Sections showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Side elevation. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Front elevation. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Ground plan of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Elevation showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Elevation showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Elevation showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Elevation showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Plans of additions and alterations as built. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Plans of additions and alterations as built. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Plans of additions and alterations as built. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Ground plan and floor plans of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Sketch elevations of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    Sketch elevation of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Elevation showing alterations and additions for Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Plans of additions and alterations 4.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Alternative sketch elevation of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    Alternative sketch elevations of proposed additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Plans, sections and elevations of additions and alterations.
  • 55298 (12/1886)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Drainage plans and details of external stair at South entrance, and carved date panels. Plans
  • 55298 (8/1885)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Various details, including plan of cement floors, entrance door, entrance gable and porch, masonry, main stair, upper bedroom staircase, and entrance hall
  • 55298 (3/1885)
    Drawings showing additions and alterations. For Capt Palmer Douglas.
  • 55298 (12/1884)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Alternative sketch elevation and plans of proposed additions and alterations. Plans of additions and alterations as built.
  • 55298 (7/1881)
    For Capt Palmer Douglas. Ground plan of proposed additions and alterations. Alternative sketch elevations and floor plans of proposed additions and alterations.
  • 55298 (15/11/1979)
    Ground floor plan of part of sixteenth century tower house.
  • 55298 (15/11/1979)
    Basement plan of part of the sixteenth century tower house.
  • 55298 (15/11/1979)
    Basement and ground floor plans of sixteenth century tower house shaded to show later development.

MANUSCRIPTS

  • 55298 (1952)
    Newscuttings regarding sale and demoliton of various properties.

  • 55298 (1/6/1990)
    Cavers House View from north-west.
  • 55298 (21/5/2009)
    Cavers House Detail of bow on north-eastern elevation.
  • 55298 (21/5/2009)
    Cavers House View from north-west.
  • 55298 (24/8/2011)
    Cavers House Bow windo (detail)
  • 55298 (24/8/2011)
    Cavers House View from north west

1st edition 6-inch maps

TitleDateOther parishes/counties
 Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile, Roxburghshire, Sheet XXVI1858

1st edition 25-inch maps

TitleDateOther parishes/counties
 Ordnance Survey 25 inch to the mile Roxburgh, Sheet 026.011858
 Ordnance Survey 25 inch to the mile Roxburgh, Sheet 026.011858