Water Tower

This tower was built sometime between 1819 and 1823, and is one of 149 such towers to have been built as an ornamental feature in Scottish gardens – however, it is one of only two known to have been used as a water tower. Constructed of whinstone rubble with dressed sandstone margins, it comprises four stages separated from each other by a cornice. Each stage has four narrow windows, many of which were constructed blind, and the tower is topped by a crenellated parapet.


The tower formerly contained only one floor near the top, which also formed the roof, and this was connected to the base of the tower by an internal wooden spiral staircase. A large 1,500 gallon capacity water tank, which was of lead-lined slate construction, was located on this floor. A wooden sail arrangement, supported by a derrick, was also positioned at the top of the tower, and this would catch the wind and drive plunging wooden rods connected to a pump at ground level. The pump, in turn, would draw water from a well located about 25 metres from the base of the tower, and discharge it into the storage tank at roof level. The water was then fed, by gravity, from this tank at the top of the tower, along an underground pipe for a distance of 500 metres, until it filled the storage tanks in the attic of Cammo House. The tower also provided water for the farm steading and the stables.

In 1953, the windmill arrangement at the top of the tower had to be removed for safety reasons after having been damaged by vandals, and this unit was replaced by an engine driven pumping set. About mid 1960 the pumping of water ceased, due to a fire in the tower which destroyed the water tank, roof flooring and internal structures. This resulted in Cammo House being deprived of a water supply, but this was not essential, since the house had been uninhabited since 1955. During the 1980’s some repair work to the tower parapet and re-pointing of the external walls to consolidate the building were carried out.

Page last updated: July 2020