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Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
The Tower of Badenheath


Stands on the south border of the parish near the village of Deerdyke. It is now in ruins and fast falling into decay, having not only the elements engaged in the process, but the carelessness and apathy of men who have for many years treated it as a free quarry, and who, when the stones were suitable for a dyke or a building, tore them out and appropriated them for these purposes without remorse; but this vandalism is too common throughout Scotland to excite remark.

Badenheath was in its day a large fortress or peel surrounded by a moat, and evidently an important place of strength. The amount of land attached to it must have been very considerable, and there was a deer-park from which the village of Deerdyke takes its name, being built on the fence or dyke of the deer-park.

A valuation of the parish of Lenzie in 1657 shows its importance. This valuation embraced the present parishes of Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld, and Badenheath was then the property of Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock, whose predecessors must have built the tower, as their coat of arms was carved on it.

The following account of the ruin is taken from Macgibbon's “Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland, 1887:—

Badenheath tower is now a mere fragment, being the southern half of an oblong keep, probably of the end of the fifteenth century. It has been built of fine regularly coursed masonry, which has proved too strong a temptation to the needy builders of later times. This is much to be regretted, as from the style of the work remaining, Badenheath has apparently been a fine example of a peel tower.

The entrance doorway (with its bar-hole), fortunately preserved, is of a remarkable and unusual design. The hall mantelpiece, which is also entire, is finely moulded, of the style so frequently used in Scotland: as at Ruthven, Cardoness, Craigmillar, and other castles, while the little that is left of the windows, both inside and outside, with the corner turrets, corbelling, and stone cornice inside, show that this must have been a superior tower of its class.

It measures 42 feet by 30 feet 6 inches over the walls, which are from 6 feet to 7 feet thick, and four storeys high.

Adjoining the entrance doorway in the west wall, the wheel stair led to the first floor, where it terminated in the usual manner. In the south gable of the hall is the fire-place, already referred to, and adjoining if another wheel stair led to the upper floor and to the top. The southern room on the ground floor remains entire, with its vaulted roof, and is lighted by three long narrow slits. In one corner will be seen a small mural chamber, on the floor level, 6 feet long by 3 feet 9 inches wide, and from 3 feet to 4 feet high, which was probably a sleeping place.

In Crawford's “Renfrewshire” is mentioned :—

A little to the east ly the lands of Gavan and Rysk, an old possession of the Boyds, an ancient family in Ayrshire. The first that I have found of this family is “Dominus Robertus Boyd, Miles,” a witness in a contract of agreement betwixt Bryce de Eglintoun and the village of Irvine, in the year 1205. .... The lands above-mentioned came afterwards to the Boyds of Ban-heath, an early caddet of the noble family of Kilmarnock (for I have seen a charter by King Robert III. to William Boyd, son and apparent heir of William Boyd, of Badenheath, upon his father's resignation, in the year 1405), and continued for several hundreds of years in possession of that family. And in 1518 these lands came to Mr. Robert Boyd, of Kipps, descended of the family of Badenheath; and by the marriage of Margaret, his daughter and heiress, the lands of Kipps came to Mr. David Sibbald, of the house of Rankeilor.

The first appearance of the Boyds of Badenheath in history appears to be in connection with the Battle of Langside, 13th May, 1568, when it is recorded that the “ fourth Lord Boyd—who with Lord Fleming, the Lord Herries’s son, and thirty others, formed a body-guard round the Queen during the battle—suffered considerably by the defeat at Langside : he so fell in the disfavour of the Regent Moray, that he and his two sons, Thomas, Master of Boyd, and Robert of Badenheath, were commanded to leave the country.”

On 20th May, 1589, Robert Boyd of Badenheath becomes cautioner for the entry of Lord Boyd at the Justice-air of Ayr, or on warning of xv. days, for slaughter.

This may possibly be the same gentleman who made a will in 1611, an extract from which is:—

Latterwill of Robert Boyd ok Badehkath.—At Badinyath, the xiiii. day of July, 1611 zeaiis. The quhilk day the said Rot. Boyd of Badinath, makand his testament and latterwill: Vnderstanding thair is naihing mair certane nor daith, nor mare uncertane nor ye hour and time thairof, thairfor, he being diseasit in bodie, zit haill in sprit and myne, makis this my testament and latterwill as followis, leavand my saull to God to be savit be his mercie throw the bluid and daith of Jesus Chryst, my saviour, and ordanes my bodie to be bureyd in my predicessouris Isle, at ye kirk of Leinzie, etc.....

Item, I ordane my saidis executouris, as they will answer to God, of my rediest guidis and geir, to lay fyve hundrith merkis vpone land. . . . to ye kirk of Leinze, for ten merkis ye hundrith, and ye proifeit of ye samyn to be laid on agane in ane vther place, for ye same proffeit, and to ye sumes, and sua to remane for evir. Of ye quhilk proffeit of fyve hundrith merkis, extending to fiftie merkis mony, I ordan that xx s. be gevin zeirlie to the beddell of the kirk for dichting and keiping clean of my said Isle, and xlvis. viijd. mony to be applyit zeirlie to ye vphauld of ye said Isle, in glas, sclait, poynting, and vther necessaris requesit thairto.

And als I ordane that ilk Soneday in the zeir, for ever, that ten s. mony of ye said annuell be delt and deliverit to ye pair folk of ye parochin of Leneze in thair awin hand, at ye said kirk dur. And speciallie, gif ony puir of my awin land happinis to be thair, that they be considderit befoir vtheris: begynnand the first distributioun of ye samyne vpon the first Soneday after my deceis, and sa furth ouklie every Soneday for ewir.

As to ye rest of ye said fiftie merkis mony extending to four pundis mony, I ordane ye samyne to be delt and distribut zeirlie to ye puir folk of ye said kirk of I<eneze vpone ye day of ye moneth that I sal happin to deceis vpone, begynnand ye first distributioun thairof vpone ye day tuelf moneth that I sal happin to deceis vpone, and sua furth zeirlie for ewir ; and that the puir people be warnit be ye minister furth of ye pulpet vpone Soneday befoir ye day of my deceis, to cum and ressave ye samyne. And that ye said annuell be collectit and distribut according to this my will be the honestest elder zeirlie that beis chosin within my fyve pund land of Badinheith, and failzeand him be ye honestest men and of best lyf and conscience duelland thairvpon, with the advys of ye minister and elderis of ye said kirk. And that quhat beis left zeirlie of ye said sowme of fourtie sex s viij. d. vnapplyit of ye vphauld of ye said Isle, in manner foirsaid, I ordane the same to be dealt zeirlie with ye said sowme of four lib. money, vpone the day of my deceis as said is. And quhill the said sowme of fyve hundrith merkis be gettin land on land to ye vse foirsaid, I have mortifit, resignit and ourgevin, and be ye tennour heirof mortifeis, resignes, and ourgevis to ye vse of ye saidis puir and lie foirsaid in maner foirsaid, ye zeirlie proffeit of my four akeris of landis in Kirkintulloch, callit ye Lairdis land, land within the territorie thairof, quhilk payis me zeirlie fyve bollis twa peckis beir.

On 20th March, 1617, Robert Boyd is served heir to Robert Boyd, a brother of his grandfather.

On 9th May, 1629, Robert Boyd is served heir to Robert Boyd, his father.*

Robert, sixth Lord Boyd, died in Ayrshire, August, 1628, aged 33. “In his latterwill, there is pertaining to him: Item, on the Little Maynes of Badenheath, occupiet be Johnne Wod, sevin bolls corn, etc. Debts awand in. Item, be the tennents of Badinhaithe of the teynd victuall of the crop, 1628,” etc.

On 10th April, 1641, James Boyd is served male heir to Robert Boyd, his brother's son, and

On 28th February, 1655, is served “William, Lord Boyde, heir male of James, Lord Boyd, his father, in the 5 1. land of old extent of Badinhaith in the barony of Lenzie : O. E. 5 1. N. E. 25 1.—the teynd-sheaves and other teynds of the said 5 1. land of Badinheath.—O. E. 2s. N. E. 4s.”

These retours being all for the same lands, and all described as being in the barony of Lenzie, seem to indicate that Badenheath, although a fortified place of considerable extent, has been always subordinate to the Lord of Lenzie, as superior.

Then we learn that “John Couper, the elder son (of William Couper, the ancestor of the Ayrshire branch of the Coupers of Fairfield), resided at the tower of Banheath, in the county of Dumbarton. He married, in January, 1676, Christian Gray, by whom he acquired property, and who survived him. He died March, 1687, having had issue, John Couper, the eldest surviving son, born 25th August, 1677. He also resided at the tower of Badenheath. In November, 1708, he married Margaret Thom, a relative of the Rev. William Thom of Kirkdales, minister of Govan, celebrated for his wit and eccentricity, and by her had issue.” Badenheath seems to have afterwards become the property of the Keiths, who owned it in 1822. One of them was raised to the Peerage by the title of Baron Keith of Badenheath. He is now represented by the Baroness Naime.

The lands were then sub-divided and sold, the tower being bought by the late Mr. Duncan. One of his daughters is married to Mr. Murdoch, banker, formerly of Kirkintilloch, now of Dundee.


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