round tower
11th century


Postcode DD9 5EU
NO 596 600
6 Church St


open daily
exterior only


Historic Scotland
Brechin webside
Angus Council
Rampant Scotland


Brechin Tower

the decorated entryway - six feet up -- of the tower

11th century Round Tower

There are only two round towers in Scotland - Abernethy and Brechin, the only surviving examples of an architectural feature that is common in Ireland. We trekked around to see quite a few of them in Ireland, so we figured we had to make time to see the two that exist here.

Brechin Round Tower is attached to Brechin Cathedral (another lovely place to visit - we managed ot show up while the organist was practicing!). Around the back is the pale sandstnoe tower, rising 86ft and a diameter of 16ft, just slightly larger than its cousin in Abernethy. Brechin is very similiar in construction and decoration to Donaghmore tower in County Meath, Ireland. Brechin was a cathdral city. and a church has likely existed here since the 8th century. A pictish cross slap, called St Mary's Stone, is still on display here. The current cathedral is reltaively modern, but was carefully built around the extant tower, which would have originally been free-standing in the churchyard.

It has a peculiar-looking capped spire, making it look quite gothic, but this was added on the 15th century and is not original to the tower, which likely would have had a simple conical roof.

Inside, there are seven floors, reached by a doorway over five feet above the ground (and probably reached via ladder). Small windows on the south and east side were inserted in the tower, and ti still has the four "standard" windows facing the cardinal directions at the top.

The tower is notable for the decorated doorway, six feet tall and only two feet wide. The curved top is made of two pieces of stone and the lintels are single blocks, not a series of smaller blocks built into an arch. The decorations are eroding, of course, but they are quite unique, with a crucifix above the door.

There is no interior access to the tower.