Timpendean Tower (tim-pen-deen) or Typenden Castle as it was once known, is a ruined 15th-century tower house near Lanton, around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north-west of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. It is built on rising ground between the Teviot and Jed Water. It is a simple tower structure measuring 29 feet by 24 feet with four foot thick walls. It was a stronghold of the Douglas family. Timpendean was burned by the Earl of Hertford's men in 1545, during the War of the Rough Wooing. The tower is surrounded by much older earthworks, the remains of a Roman fort which may have been used for its construction. It sits high above the south side of the road, opposite the farm of Timpendean, which is on the other side of the A698. It can be reached via a farm track. There are several circular structures and ramparts on a hill just to the south.
The land here was long owned by the Douglases and was sold off by George, 12th of Timpendean in 1843 to the Marquess of Lothian, along with lands at Broomhall and Langton.
The tower consisted of three floors and a vaulted cellar. There is evidence of a previous addition, which has now disappeared, judging by projecting bond stones on two walls. The east door and basement fireplace are later additons to the original house. The first floor contained the great hall while the second floor consisted of sleeping quarters. Those floors were reached by a circular staircase on the east wall. Part of the nearby earthworks was dammed and filled with water for defensive purposes.
‘Hear the melody begin At the door of Cleikiminn,
East a mile or so of Timpendean.
Drown the echo of your grief In the joy of Lilliesleaf,
Or the merriment of Redfordgreen’ [WL]
The origin of the name is probably Old Welsh ‘din pen’ and Old English ‘denu’, together meaning ‘the valley by the hill with the fort’; it first occurs as ‘Tympenden’ in 1540, is ‘Tympenden’ in 1590 and 1610 and is ‘Timpendein’ on Blaeu’s 1654 map.
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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017