Orchardton Tower

Orchardton Tower, Dumfries and Galloway


S of Palnackie,

Castle Douglas


B road of A711



Orchardton Tower is the only freestanding circular tower house in the whole of Scotland. It looks more in keeping with the castles of Wales than Scotland.

It is 15th century four storey tower with later courtyard buildings set in rolling countryside.

A lovely ruin to explore.

~ History ~

1456 ~ The lands of Orchardton pass to the Cairns family who build themselves a tower house in order to secure their lands following the demise of their powerful overlords, Clan Douglas.

1560's ~ The castle passes through marriage to the powerful Maxwells.

1746 ~ Sir Robert Maxwell is wounded an captured at the Battle of Culloden. He is taken to Carlisle for trial and execution as a Jacobite.

He tries to destroy his person papers proving his Jacobite links, but is prevented in doing this. Hos commission as an officer in the French army is revealed. He is therefore treated as a prisoner of war, and later exiled to France instead of execution. It would be many years before he is able to return to Orchardton.

1785 ~ Orchardton Castle and its lands return into the possession of another Douglas, a merchant from Liverpool called James Douglas.