Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

Our Trek to Sorbie Tower
by Scott L. Hanna


Sorbie Tower is the ancestral home of the Scottish Hanna/Hannah/Hannay family. It is located just outside of the small town of Sorbie, in Wigtownshire, southwestern Scotland. (See the map: SW Scotland)

My wife and I went there on our honeymoon on an overcast, drizzly day in August of 1989. To get there, we rented a car in Stranraer and drove roughly 30 miles to the town of Sorbie. From Sorbie we drove east, passing a little road to the left and continuing on. Realizing that we must have passed Sorbie Tower already, we went back and then turned right on the side road just outside of the town of Sorbie (See the map: Sorbie Area). 


On the right was a large wooded area. Soon we came to a stone fence and a green gate. A rock in the stone fence had 'Sorbie Tower' engraved in it and a sign on the gate read 'Sorbie Tower' also. We had found it at last.
 

Excited, we parked the car at the side of the road and gathered up our cameras. We went through the gate, up a wooded lane, past a wooden shed, when we spied Sorbie Tower thru the trees.
 

We kept going along the lane until we came through the trees and into a slightly overgrown, open field and Sorbie Tower appeared before us. Not having known what to expect, our first full view of Sorbie Tower was impressive.
 

I had prepared myself for the worst, not knowing whether it was a pile of rubble or a complete building. I was not disappointed. Notice the flag pole on the right for perspective of the size of Sorbie Tower.
 

Sorbie Tower is a massive old ruined fortified house. It is built in an L-shape with the only small windows on the ground floor and only a single entrance to the building. The whiter stone around the windows shows recent repairs to the tower. Notice my wife, Karen, standing on the right for another perspective of the size of Sorbie Tower.
 

This is a view of the upper southwest corner of Sorbie Tower. In the middle left, notice the corner window on the fourth floor with the circular rim, providing a 270 degree view from the fourth floor for archers in case of attack.
 

In this similar view, the fourth floor corner window with the circular rim is now in the center. I don't know if it was ever needed, but this would have been an excellent defensive position for an archer.
 

The only entrance into Sorbie Tower is in the northeast corner. The doorway is located in the inside corner of the L-shape, making it difficult for a large amount of people to attack. The plaque was put up by the Clan Hannay Society in 1970.
 

This is the doorway from inside the tower. Only one or two men would be able to squeeze in at one time. The picture is taken from a stairway leading up to the second floor.
 

This is the other side of the doorway from inside the tower. In both pictures, notice the holes where bars could be placed to prevent the door being forcibly opened by attackers.
 

This is a view of the eastern side of Sorbie Tower, around the corner to the left from the doorway and plaque.
 

This is the upper wall to the right of the doorway.
 

This is a slightly lower view of the upper wall to the right of the doorway.
 

This is looking directly up from the doorway.
 

This is on the second floor directly above the huge fireplace. My wife, Karen is waving on the left.
 

This is a huge fireplace in the north side of the tower. It has been rebuilt.
 

A westward view from beside the huge fireplace.
 

An eastward view from the other side of the huge fireplace. The doorway into the tower is to the right of the window.
 

This large second floor room is the main hall. The large window is in the south wall. Notice the fireplaces to the left and right of the window. The doorway to the left leads to the stairway and the entrance. The large fireplace is in the north wall on the floor below.
 

Underneath the second floor are rooms. I imagine they were for storage, but ... This picture is taken looking northwards from the hallway towards the large fireplace.
 

This is an interior view of the southern wall. The fourth floor corner window with the rounded trim is on the right. I would love to know the true layout of Sorbie Tower in it when Clan Hannay ruled the countryside. It must have been quite impressive.
 

This is an interior view of the construction of the tower. Notice, the supporting arch used between the outer wall on the left and the interior wall on the right. The entrance way is below this.
 

This is a close-up of some stonework, showing how some of the building was constructed. Notice the pieces of sea shell in the mortar.

Just on the outskirts of the village of Sorbie on the road to Sorbie Tower, is a ruined church and it's cemetery. Some of the headstones bore the surname Hanna.


This is my own interpretation of my pictures of Sorbie Tower. Any errors are my own.
  If you have any questions, suggestions, comments, please contact me at slhanna@hotmail.com.