Hallbar Tower

by Isabelle S. Lockhart

Braidwood, Lanarkshire, Scotland

The Tower of Hallbar (alternatively, the Tower or Castle of Braidwood) is on the lands of the Barony of Braidwood, which had first been conferred on one John de Monfod by King Robert the Bruce in 1326-7 for ‘homage and service.’ The Tower itself may have been built in response to an Act of Parliament of 1535, directing those with land to the value of 100 pounds in the area to construct a tower, 30 feet square, to protect himself and the local population from Border raiders.

Hallbar Tower

From The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire by George Vere Irving 1854

The first mention of Hallbar (‘bar,’ Gaelic for height, therefore ‘high hall’), occurs in an Act of Parliament of 1581 ratifying the transfer of the Barony of Braidwood to Harie Stewart of Gogar, brother of the Earl of Arran. Harie became briefly James VI’s Chancellor, but on his downfall the Tower passed to his enemy and successor,

Hallbar Tower Entry

Lord Maitland of Thirlestane Castle, Berwickshire. Hallbar was in the hands of the Marquis of Douglas by 1681 but in that year it passed, together with the barony, to the neighboring landowner, Sir George Lockhart of Lee Castle, and it remains the property of his descendant to this day.


Drawings in 1837 indicate the building had become semi-ruinous. In 1861 it was restored for the then owner, the 17-year-old laird (lord), Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart. From 1947 to 1984, the Tower was tenanted. Thereafter, vandalism, frost damage and weathering led to the tower once again becoming semi-ruinous. Then in 1998 the Vivat Trust (a historic building preservation trust) agreed to a full repairing lease for Hallbar. It has been repaired and converted into a leasing holiday accommodation for up to seven people.

Window with Seats

The interior consists of five stories accessible to one another by dog-leg stairs. The kitchen/eating area and a half bath is on the ground floor. The first floor hall/ sitting area has a wood-burning stove and beamed ceiling decorated with heraldic paintings. The 2nd floor has a single bedroom and bathroom. The 3rd floor has a vaulted stone ceilinged twin bedroom. The 4th floor has a pyramidal wood ceiling, the main double bedroom and bath, and access to the east battlement on the roof. The Vivat Trust website pictures the floor plans of every story in the Tower.

Window with Chair

Third Story Bedroom

Fourth  Story Bedroom

Roof View

Details of Ceiling in Living/Sitting Room

For more information or to make reservations for your stay in this ancient tower / castle, contact:

The Vivat Trust

61 Pall Mall, London S W I Y 5 H Z

E-mail: enquiries@vivat.org.uk

Internet site: http://www.vivat.org.ukHaH


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