A curiously small two storeyed tower built in the Covenanter period probably as a watch tower. Lovely location and easy to visit. Worth a stop!

Ardclach Bell Tower is something of an architectural oddity. It is small – about 4.3 metres squared overall with only two storeys. So it was two small as a home. The ground floor may have been a prison, judging by its small door and lack of windows. The floor above, reached by a narrow stone stair, has a fireplace in the north wall, with a square pistol hole on each side. There is another pistol hole in the south wall and the west wall has a small square window. A small belfry is on top of the south gable.

The tower was built in 1655 based on the only evidence which is the date carved on a stone in the south gable. There is no written evidence extant to better date the tower. The builder seems to have been Alexander Brodie of Lethen – the initials  MGB, probably standing for his second wife Margaret Grant Brodie, are carved above the second-floor fireplace. 

Alexander Brodie was a noted local Covenanter (religious dissident). His support for the Presbyterian cause had led to his estate being attacked and plundered on several occasions. One occasion was in 1645, after the Marquis of Montrose defeated the Covenanters at the nearby Battle of Auldearn.

Speculation is that Brodie may have built the tower as a watchtower-cum-prison, as a precaution against further trouble. The little belfry was a later addition. It housed the church bell for the parish kirk in the Findhorn valley below.

Nairn
blog comments powered by Disqus
Friday, 03 May 2013 8 Print