Abbots Tower

Abbots Tower, Dumfries & Galloway

~ History ~

1541 ~ Cuthbert Braun is granted land by his younger brother, the abbot of Sweetheart Abbey. He builds himself a defensive Pele Tower and barmkin.

1580 ~ John Braun builds Abbots Tower on the site of his Pele Tower from stone taken from the nearby abbey where his uncle had been abbot, before the Crown is able to conclude its intentions to take the abbey into Crown ownership.

1588 ~ Gilbert Braun a well known Jesuit who, as an active member of the Society of Jesus, a zealous Roman Catholic order of priests, founded to do missionary work against the Reformation, becomes priest at the Abbey.

He is supported and protected by the most powerful family in the area, the Maxwell family. Despite repeated orders to arrest Braun, the Maxwell's stand by their man and their Catholic beliefs.

John, Lord Maxwell, works as a double-agent for King James IV of Scotland and the Duke of Parma in the lead up to the Spanish Aramada, to overthrow the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Upon his return to Scotland he is arrested as a traitor.

The Braun's close association with the Maxwell's, and the Counter Reformation cause, leaves them open to attack by their enemies and with the loss of protection from the Maxwell's, they soon find themselves fighting against huge debts caused by their enemies.

1589 ~ John, Lord Maxwell is released on the bond of £100,000. He is later reappointed to his influential position as Warden of the March.

1593 ~ An ongoing fued with the Johnstones of Annandale leads to a fight at Dryfe Sands near Lockerbie which results in Lord Maxwell's murder.

1613 ~ Lord Maxwell's son and heir, the 9th Lord Maxwell, is executed for the revenge killing of Sir James Johnstone.

1627 ~ The Braun's are forced to sell Abbot's Tower and their estates. Their Tower is abandoned soon after.


7 miles south of Dumfries


Off A710



Abbots Tower is a beautifully restored 16th century L-Plan Tower House, built possibly from stone taken from nearby Sweetheart Abbey.

Restoration started in 1990 following earlier work of poor quality to restore the ruined tower. Thankfully the restoration work that took fifteen years to complete leaves us with a fabulous Scottish Tower House that provides a beautiful home for the lucky owner.

If you do visit Abbots Tower please bare in mind this is a private dwelling. You can take photo's from the end of the pretty lane that leads up to its gates, or from a distance from nearby roads that overlook the castle.