Newbyres Castle – Recording the archaeology

Last Wednesday I organised the latest community workshop at Newbyres castle – a 16th century ruin in the heart of Gorebridge. The day was lead by Piers Dixon, an archaeologist from Historic Environment Scotland, who was ably helped by two colleagues – Eva Boyle and Adam Welfare. The day started with a tour of the castle and the land around. Piers speculated about what buildings might have surrounded the castle. By looking at the flat areas and man-made banks, some of which were only just discernible to the layman’s eye, we slowly built up a picture of what might have stood here once, including workshops, barns and kitchen gardens. 

Plane table and alidade

Aligning the alidade

Surveying the ruins

We then took a more detailed look at the ruins themselves and were delighted to find one slit window, partially hidden, and an intact corbel stone from the eaves of the roof. 

After making some freehand sketches of the area we were able to check them by carrying out a measured survey of the site in the afternoon. We used traditional pieces of equipment that would have been used to make the first OS maps. There was something wonderfully therapeutic about slowly anddiligently recording the site and a pleasant relief when the three teams’ drawings were overlaid and pieced together perfectly.

Discovering a slit window

The weather was kind to us and it was fascinating insight into the methods of archaeological recording.

These recordings are the first of a series that we plan to do of the castle which will form part of an archive about Newbyres Castle along with historical documents and maps.