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Stonelaw Tower (Lanarkshire) - Past & Present


Stonelaw Tower (Lanarkshire)

Stonelaw Tower, as it was - and what is there now.

Stonelaw stood on the boundary of Rutherglen and Burnside in Lanarkshire.

Nigel Tranter in his "The Fortified House in Scotland' Volume 3, includes Stonelaw under his 'much-altered structures' but I believe that he is in error - Stonelaw never was a fortified house.

It was, in fact, a castellated mansion. The central feature was a tall, crenellated tower with the parapet projected on corbels. Encasing all was a low, single storied, flat roofed mansion with a narrow round tower at one corner.

There appears to be no history of Stonelaw before it comes to notice as the engine house for the coal mine which stood on this site. This engine house lent itself for conversion ino a mock tower house when it was remodelled and 'baronialised' in the 19th century to form part of a country house.

That the tower was the primary building on the site there is no doubt as it fitted badly with the structures it abutted against. Its ground floor was lower than that of the rest and was reached by descending a few stairs from the entrance lobby.

The upper portion of the tower had been heightened with the added stonework in distinct contrast to that below. The walls were thin with no sign of vaulting. Access to the small, single room on each floor was by a semi-cirular stair tower added to its rear. Further progress to the roof was facilitated by a metal staircase.

Stonelaw was filled with antique furniture, panelling and armour. The vestibule had a 'genuine' painted ceiling, genuine in that it was removed from the Palace of Scottish History at the Glasgow Exhibition of 1911.

In the 1960s a gaping hole appeared in the grounds due to the collapse of mining galleries. The tower was quickly abandoned and left to the gentle attention of the local vandals. It was demolished and replaced with flats and a petrol station.

Two tower houses did, in fact, end their lives as engine houses. Rais Tower, at nearby Barrhead, was an example, until it fell into ruin and was demolished in the 1930s.


Date posted: 10 Apr 2012Last updated: 08 Dec 2014

(1) Related article: engine house

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