This is the only known cylindrical tower-house in Scotland , but why it should enjoy this unique status is not clear. There are at least 23 buildings of this class in Ireland, so the builder or mason must be suspected as having Irish Ancestry. Galloway was subject to Irish influences in the past but there is no proof of any special links.
The lands of Orchardton, formally known as Glenshinnoch, were in the possession of the Cairns family from the early 15th century until 1633 when they passed, through a heiress, to the Maxwell family of Drumcolten.
The date of the building of the tower is not recorded, but it can be ascribed to the latter half, possibly the last quarter, of the 15th century.
The circular tower was never alone. An adjacent range to the south-west, although now reduced to ruins, provided much storage space in its ground-floor vaults, and would have had a sizeable hall and chambers above.
From the top of the tower there is some pleasing views but one wonders why it was placed here and why cylindrical?