Crossbasket Tower or Keep 1765

Crossbasket Tower, sketched by Paul Sandby in 1765

Crossbasket Tower, sketched by Paul Sandby in 1765

The 16th Century “keep” or “Tower” is located on the west of the Castle on the left hand side, as you face its entrance. This may have replaced an even older structure belonging to the Lindsay or Hamilton family, for the basement and cellars are of a noticeably older construction than the tower itself above.

It is said that the Tower originally stood on a “craig”, (crag/rock) or mound and through subsequent centuries, the surrounding earthworks have been filled in level. The Tower originally consisted of a basement (now filled in), a vaulted ground floor which would have been the kitchens, a first floor hall, a second floor for the Laird’s Bedrooms and a Garret above which served as bedrooms for children or servants. The remains of a courtyard wall can be seen at the western edge of the Tower.

Crossbasket Tower is approx. 11.6m long by 6.7m wide, rising to a height of 16.5m, and consists of a vaulted ground floor level, above which are a further two floors. On the roof is a parapet walk and a garret. At the south-east corner of the parapet is a square caphouse at the head of the original stairway. The design of the tower is very similar to that of Mains Castle. A Basement level below the cellar once existed, described more like a dungeon, than basement, but this had to be filled in during the latter part of the 20th Century with modern concrete, to make the building more stable. At the same time, this raised the floor level of the current cellar, meaning the cellar currently now has lesser headroom than it used to.

The Tower is rubble-built and harled. There are large windows on the west side offering beautiful views out to Woodland. The garret storey has dormer windows with triangular pediments. Most of the other windows have been enlarged at one time. The south east angle of the parapet walk is interrupted by a square caphouse of unusual design with ‘battlements’, projecting slightly on continuous corbelling, finished with modern cancellations.

When anybody sleeps in that tower, they will be living in the oldest inhabited property in Blantyre Parish and one of the oldest in Lanarkshire.

(c) Paul Veverka “History of Crossbasket Castle, featuring ‘Tales of Crossbasket'”


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  1. Fantastic work documenting this Paul. I met a man walking his dog on Stoneymeadow Rd today and he showed an interest in the history of the area. I think i shocked him with my knowledge, all learned through yourself. I sent him off to buy your book.

  2. James Clarke was my great great Grandfather.

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