St Johns Tower

St John's Tower, Dumfries and Galloway

~ History ~

1511 ~ The Adair family, who also own Dunskey Castle, build themselves a tower in Stranraer naming it after the Chapel of St John, which was built on land formerly owned by the Crusader Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem.

1595 ~ The settlement of Stranraer is created a Burgh of Barony for the Adairs, with the tower as their principal seat within it.

1608 ~ The tower passes through marriage to the Kennedy family.

1617 ~ A further charter, issued by King James VI of Scotland (I of England), see's the town awarded a Royal Burgh.

1677 ~  Sir John Dalrymple of Stair purchases the tower from the Kennedy's.

He is a well known Covenanter at odds with the Crown.

1678 ~ The tower is seized on behalf of King Charles II. The King's agent, John Graham of Claverhouse, then uses it as a base of operations against the Covenanters until the Glorious Revolution when Dalrymple is restored to St John's Tower by the Protestant King William.

1692 ~ Dalrymple becomes infamous for his participation in the Glencoe Massacre of Clan MacDonald. Despite political fury, he survives to be raised Earl of Stair eleven years later.

1815 ~ The cramped tower is abandonded by the Earls of Stair who instead occupies a separate townhouse. The Tower is purchased by the local council for £340, to be converted into the town prison.

1850 ~ The tower is now used as a Police Station and remains so for the next seventeen years.


Castle St, Stranraer


Off A718



St John's Tower is cited in the centre of Stranraer, on the shores of Loch Ryan, at the points where it meets a small stream.

It is an 'L' plan Tower House four storey's tall and is quite plain in appearance but in excellent state of repair.

As the castle is situated in the centre of the town it is easy to access and you are able to explore the tower to take a look round.