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Smailholm Tower, showing the barmkin wall in the foreground

Barmkin, also spelled barmekin or barnekin, is a Scots word which refers to a form of medieval and later defensive enclosure, typically found around smaller castles, tower houses, pele towers, and bastle houses in Scotland, and the north of England. It has been suggested that etymologically the word may be a corruption of the word barbican. The barmkin would have contained ancillary buildings, and could be used to protect cattle during raids.

Examples of places which had barmkins include Halton Castle, Cheshire, Smailholm Tower, Scottish Borders, and Crichton Castle, Midlothian.

Other uses[edit]

The "Barmekin of Echt", near the village of Echt, Aberdeenshire, is a prehistoric hill fortification, comprising five circular stone defensive walls on a hilltop.[1] While it is locally known as the 'Barmekin' of Echt, architecturally it is not related in any manner to a Barmkin.

See also[edit]