Excavations and consolidation works at Covington Tower and Doocot, South Lanarkshire

2 May 2018

Covington Tower and doocot represent the best sites of their types in the Upper reaches of the River Clyde in South Lanarkshire. The site is located at NS 975 400 and lies immediately on the west side of an unclassified road between the villages of Thankerton and Carstairs Junction. The adjacent monuments are immediately south of Covington Mains Farm

The moat at the South west corner of the tower. Now infilled.

The site was in the process of being handed into the care of the Biggar Museum Trust as part of a greater initiative by the museum to embrace the then Upper Clydesdale District into a heritage scheme, this would include creating a series of district wide visitor attractions surrounding the town of Biggar where several museums were being created and other venues being planned. In the event the plan for the outlying heritage sites came to nothing for a variety of reasons, however the BMT eventually operated eight heritage venues which were open to the public. Sadly, and for economic and administrative purposes the BMT now currently operate only two museums in the town of Biggar.

Both the tower and the doocot were extremely dangerous buildings with loose and overhanging masonry and each were filled with rubbish and rubble to a depth of 1m. Permission was given by the then owner to carry out works in the first instance to remove any dangerous building stones and also trees growing from the ruins. The entrances to both tower and doocote were fenced off to prevent farm animals having access; in the case of the doocot, cattle were mauling the nesting boxes by rubbing against them and causing them to collapse.

The internal areas of both buildings were cleared of rubbish and rubble down to the floor surfaces and in the case of the tower precariously hanging boulders were removed from wall heads and other elevated areas of the building, thus ensuring a greater degree of safety for visitors to the sites which are easily accessible to the public at large. When the buildings had been made safer a decision was taken to excavate the floor surfaces of each and also at limited external areas of the tower. The excavation of the doocot and tower are detailed in the Covington report.


Download the full report pdf (1.6 MB).



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