Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Amisfield Tower

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

AMISFIELD TOWER (S4x32) 4C set William Williamson Amisfield Dances

1- 8 1s+2s also 3s+4s set and link; 2s+1s also 4s+3s dance ½ RH across, 1s+2s also 3s+4s change places RH on side. (2)(1)(4)(3)
9-16 All dance RSh reels of 4 on sides
17-20 1s and 3s cross RH, cast up 1 place while 2s+4s ½ turn RH and lead down 1 place looping into place
21-24 1s dance down nearer hands joined looping into 4th place (2s+3s+4s step up 23-24)
25-32 All circle 8H round and back. 2341

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Information

Amisfield Tower is a well-preserved tower house near Tinwald, about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Dumfries, in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland.

There has probably been a stronghold on this site since the twelfth century. The castle has also been known as Hempisfield Tower and it is a Category A listed building.

The Charteris family held the land from the 13th century onwards. The present tower was built by the Charteris family in the 16th century. That family feuded with the Kilpatricks of Kirkmichael leading to the murder of Roger Kilpatrick in 1526. Sir Robert Charteris of Amisfield fought a duel with Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig in 1530.

The property passed to John Dalziel of Newton in 1636. The Dalziels supported the Stuarts in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and captain Alexander Dalziel was executed as a royalist in 1650. Description

Although the basic plan of Amisfield is a simple square with four stories and an attic, its richness in corbelling and turrets gives it a more romantic guise. Three corners have double-storeyed turrets while the fourth is decked. It has a steeply-pitched roof. These upper features are built in warm, red ashlar in contrast to the rubble walls below. As the tower was not built primarily for defence all of its shotholes are in the upper levels.

From first floor to base of the tower there is a projecting stair-tower, round for two stories, corbelling out to the square turret above . The entrance is defended by a machicolation.

Within the castle the rooms have fireplaces, and a painted border with lion faces in one room. The first floor hall has a garderobe and three windows. There is a vaulted basement, lit only by three gun-loops.

An oak door from the tower, fashioned by a local craftsman, is on display in Edinburgh at the National Museum of Scotland. It depicts Samson tearing open the jaws of a lion, and with a shield bearing the Arms of Charteris and Herries and dated 1600.

Hubert Fenwick described Amisfield as "simply marvellous", saying that it "displays almost every Jacobean baronial conceit".

There is a 17th-century mansion that was doubled in size ca. 1803 immediately adjacent to the tower.

The property is owned (2019) by the Johnstone family, a Border Reiver Scottish clan.

Amisfield Tower, a well-preserved tower house near Tinwald, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Amisfield Tower, Tinwald, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Drawing By Francis Grose, c. 1789

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Amisfield-Tower article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Francis Grose, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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