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Sorbie Tower - Old Place of Sorbie

Door open days

5 September 2020 (Virtual Opening All Day)

6 September 2020 (Virtual Opening All Day)

Dumfries and Galloway

Sorbie Tower lies in Wigtownshire, about a mile out of the village of Sorbie on the Garlieston road (B7052). It is situated close to an artificial defensive mound, known as the "Sorbie Motte" which was the site of an earlier pictish wooden fort dating from the 1100's. It is hidden in heavy tree cover and is easy to miss. The visitor approaches the tower up an unmade track through damp, marshy ground (wear strong boots!), hence the origins of the 'Sorbie' name (" a dwelling amongst swamps..."). The tower certainly is an imposing sight when it appears around the corner at the last moment...

In 1965, a Mrs Jean Cummings gave the tower and the land around it to the Clan Hannay Society on the condition that it be held in trust for evermore. Since then volunteers have worked tirelessly to preserve the site. Well over £40,000 has been raised and spent on the tower and grounds and it is free for everyone to enjoy, tourist and local alike. Although a very substantial building, it still remains in a poor state of repair.

A conservation project is ongoing and the good news is that the Clan Hannay Society was successful with a heritage lottery fund grant from the Government of £77,400 to conserve Sorbie Tower. This was one of only twelve such grants to be made in Scotland in 2001. In the period since then the immediate area around the building has seen a marked improvement, not least the tarmacing of the approach road and the securing of the actual tower itself. The Clan Hannay should be applauded for the important work they have carried out in preserving the tower for this and future generations.

The present tower, an 'L' shaped building, known originally as the 'Old Place of Sorbie',  conforms to a standard type built in Scotland from the middle of the fourteenth century to the end of the sixteenth century, compact, but adaptable to changing requirements. In the earliest towers the walls were up to 8 feet thick, with defence conducted mainly from the wall walk and from projecting timber hoardings; by the sixteenth century defence is mainly from the ground level by hand guns and small arms, and the top level of the tower lends itself to decorative turrets and detail.

Digital Resources

Sorbie Tower Video Tour

Steve Hanna, Convenor of the Clan Hannay Society, invites you to tour Sorbie Tower the ancient seat of all those named Hanna, Hannah, Hannay, Hanney, in Galloway, South West Scotland. 

Check it out!

Sorbie Tower by Drone

Soar above the Sorbie Tower through this drone footage of the site.

Drone Video

Video of Battle Re-enactments at Sorbie Tower

Enjoy a medieval Battle re-enactment at Sorbie Tower through this short video produced by the Douglas Retinue.

Watch a battle reenactment!

Suiting up in Armour

A video showing members of the Douglas Retinue 'suiting up in armour' and preparing for battle.

Get suited up!

Key Information

Building Date: late 16C

Address
  • 1 mile E of Sorbie
  • Sorbie, Newton Stewart
  • DG8 8__