Historic Scotland

Opening times

Ardclach Bell Tower is open year-round.

 

History

The small door and lack of windows on Ardlach Bell Tower’s ground floor indicates that it was designed as a prison. The floor above, reached by a narrow stone stair, features:

  • a fireplace in the north wall
  • pistol holes on each side of the fireplace and on the south wall
  • a small square window in the west wall

A Covenanter’s watch tower

The bell tower was probably built by Alexander Brodie of Lethen – the initials MGB, likely standing for his second wife Margaret Grant, are carved above the second-floor fireplace.

Alexander Brodie was a noted Covenanter (pledged to uphold Presbyterianism), whose support for the Presbyterian cause led to several attacks on his estate. He may have built the tower as a watchtower and prison in anticipation of further trouble.

The little belfry on the south gable was likely added later, with the construction of the parish kirk, now disused, in a hollow below the knoll.