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Drumry Peel Tower

Having read the article on Thomas Crawford and in particular the following text:

“Thomas makes his way westwards, following the old track that the Romans first made to Old Kilpatrick. Just past Castle Hill he turns down the steep road that winds through Peel Glen, over the narrow bridge and up the hill towards the Peel Tower of Drumry.
His father built the tower house in 1530, in the year that Thomas was born. It stands on high ground, so that a sentry looking out from it can see the hamlet of Drumry and a vast expanse of green fields and marshes beyond.”

More on Thomas Crawford & the Peel Tower of Drumry

I felt I had to find out more having formally lived on a housing estate in Clydebank called Drumry, this being near a place known as Peel Glen Road and if you head West you come to Old Kilpatrick. What follows is some of the information, pictures and maps that I came across. What these all point to is that both the tower and hamlet of Drumry were approximately 1.5 miles to the East in what is now Drumchapel, and the Peel Tower a renowned, though sadly long since demolished, local landmark.

Firstly an artists impression of the Peel Tower back in the 1500s

Drumry Peel Tower artist impression by Clyde Pearson

And how looked in the 20th century before being demolished in 1958

Drumry Peel Tower 1900?
Drumry Peel Tower 1900?
Drumry Peel Tower 1950
Drumry Peel Tower 1954

Some history……….

From a Drumchapel History Website

The Drumry Peel was built c.1535 by Laurence Crawford who had obtained the land in an exchange with Sir James Hamilton, himself attaining the land by marriage to Margaret Livingston. Sir James acquired the lands of Crawfordjohn in the deal.
The Peel itself may have been a restoration or complete reworking of a previous building used by the Livingston family, the previous lairds. W.F. Hendrie's The history of Livingston notes that the Livingston Peel was "By 1483, the tower from which de Leving defended his lands stood on a rampart of ground and was surrounded by a thirty foot moat, full of water." Their Drumry relatives may have had similar defences, but originally the Peel would have built from wood. W.F. Hendrie again: "... it is believed that the word Peel comes from the French PIEUX meaning wooden stakes which originally formed a high wooden fence or pallisade...the Scots understandably, had difficulty pronouncing 'pieux', called it 'peel' and even after the wooden pallisade had gone retined the name Peel. The same word gives rise to saying 'to be beyond the pale'."
The rebuilding of the Peel was a compliance with the 1535 Act of Parliament which demanded that each landowner was obliged to build a barmkin, or small courtyard "for the ressett and defens of him, his tennentis and their gudis, in trublous tyme", with a tower within if needed as residence. Inside this barmkin would have been stables and other stores. The Peel had one room on each floor; the lower floor would have been the hall, a removable stair leading up to private quarters on the first.
The Colquhoun family acquired Drumry from the Craufurd family in 1747. The Peel fell into disrepair but was restored and renovated by Campbell Colquhoun in 1836
The tower was modified by Rev. J. Campbell Colquhoun around 1890; the upper part being used as a bothy for the farm labourers and the lower as a stable. The surrounding farm buildings that were around it at that time seem to have been built with stones taken from the old St. Mary's chapel and the Peel. One of the barns had a stone inscribed "Laurence Craufurd". The smithy adjoining it was also built from the Peel.
Drumry Peel, like Garscadden House, is noteworthy enough to be mentioned in Cant and Lindsay's Old Glasgow of 1947, though its Glasgow history only started in 1938 after Drumchapel's annexation. They write "A fragment of a sixteenth century castle has been incorporated, in the eighteenth century, in a narrow tower with a pyramid roof. Drumry belonged to the Livingstones, the last being killed at Flodden."
The Royal Comission of Ancient and Historical Monuments writes "When seen in 1951, the remains consisted of a tower 5.5m square, in good states of repair, used as a store-room for Drumry farm." Despite local protestations, the Peel was demolished in 1958 by Glasgow Corporation when they claimed the building was derelict. The site of the Peel is given as NS 5149 7106.


And from the Website of the Drumchapel Heritage Group

A place of attraction to the rows was a big building which stood in the stockyard of the farm of North Drumry. Said to have been built after .1530-. The design of the building lends itself to being an accurate description. This historic buildinq was the Peel of Drumry.
For over four hundred years until 1956 on of the most famous landmark in Drumchapel was the Peel of Drumry . This stone building which was sixteen feet high, with walls two feet thick stood in the stockyard of the farm of North Drumry, (on a site between Abbotshall Avenue and Halgreen Avenue).

Apparently it had been built somewhere between 1530 and 1540 by Laurence Crawford who's family originally came from Ayrshire, but it is quite possible that a similar building had stood on the same ground hundreds of years earlier.
The tower was built as a vantage point so that from the top one could see far distances from this drum or ridge where perhaps some ancient king had built his fort. After all, the place name of Drumry means ridge of the king.

The Livingston's, early landowners of Drumry, in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, before the Crawfords took possession of the land. It does seem almost certain that the Peel which stood until 1956 was the work of Laurence Crawford, or, at any rate a restoration by him of earlier work.
The tower had to be repaired twice in the nineteenth century, once by the Rev. J. Campbell Colqohoun.

The latter fitted up the upper portion of the tower as a bothy for the male servants employed on the farm, while the ground floor was used as a stable. Mr.Veitch, the last farmer at North Drumry, used the Tower to store oats and thus the famous building had become a barn.

With the building of the housing estate and the invasion of the "Townies" the Historical monument came under threat of demolition. This despite pleas and offers of cash aid by the director of Museums and Art Galleries, the Glasgow Archaeological Society, The National Trust for Scotland. The Ministry of Works and the Glasgow Tree Lovers Society. The Housing committee of the Glasgow Corporation had reached a decision which seemed immovable.
The Conservative M.P. also raised question in the House of Commons for Scotstoun, Sir James Hutchison inviting the Secretary of State to "Take steps to prevent the demolition of this Historic building.

One of the main opponents to saving the Peel, was Peter G. Forrester, Convener of Glasgow Corporation Housing Committee, said," that to say that the Peel of Drumry should be maintained is like saying that some of Glasgow's ancient slums should be maintained for all time". What a sad utterance.

So, despite offers of cash from various bodies interested in saving the Peel, the housing committee of the Glasgow Corporation upheld their decision on the 1st November 1956. Work on the demolition began on the 6th November 1956 just five days later and was completed in a very short time.
The original stones from the Peel of Drumry can still be seen today as they form part of the rockery in the Garden of Remembrance at the rear of St.Mary's Parish Church in Drumry Road.



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