Blacket Tower

(Blacket House Tower)

A ruined L-plan tower-house located above the Kirtle Water in NE Dumfries and Galloway, Blacket Tower (or Blacket House Tower) dates from the 16th C. and was the seat of Clan Bell. The tower began as a rectangular structure, comprising three storeys and a garret which was extended in the early 17th C. with the addition of a stair-wing. The walls are up to 1.2m / 4 feet in thickness. The tower seems to have been further enlarged in 1663 and 1714, but was ruinous by the time Blacket House was built adjacent in 1835. The tower is now a scheduled ancient monument.

This was the home of Richard Bell who killed Fair Helen Irvine when she tried to defend her lover, Adam Fleming of Kirkpatrick. This tale became the subject of several ballads and led to Eaglesfield Smith's most famous poem, William and Helen (1806).

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