Auchindoun Castle

Fort, Tower House

Site Name Auchindoun Castle

Classification Fort, Tower House

Alternative Name(s) Auchindown Castle

Canmore ID 16797

Site Number NJ33NW 1

NGR NJ 3488 3745

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Moray
  • Parish Mortlach
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Moray
  • Former County Banffshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ33NW 1 3488 3745.

(NJ 3488 3745) Auchindown Castle (NR)

(in ruins). Fosse (NR).

(Undated) OS map.

A 15th century L-plan tower, attributed to James Cochrane, Earl of Mar, or Thomas Cochran, favourite of James III. It stands inside a prehistoric hill-fort. All the authorities use the spelling 'Auchindoun'.

D MacGibbon and D Ross 1887; W D Simpson 1929; S Cruden 1960.

Auchindoun Castle, as described and planned by Cruden (S Cruden 1960), Simpson (W D Simpson 1929) and MacGibbon and Ross (D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887), scheduled for restoration, is situated within a bivallate Iron Age fort. The inner rampart of the fort, formed by ditch and outer bank, is mutilated by approach ramps to the castle on the W side, and by quarrying on the S side. The outer defences are formed by natural rocky slopes in the E and ditch and outer bank to the N and S; the rampart is destroyed by cultivation in the W.

Re-surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (N K B) 24 January.

D MacGibbon and D Ross 1887; W D Simpson 1929; S Cruden 1960.

A clearance excavation was carried out in 1984 prior to further masonry consolidation. The most significant discovery was that of a barrel-vaulted stone-lined chamber, 2m long by 1.7m wide by 1.7m deep, cut into the bedrock beneath the floor of the main cellar.

J Wordsworth 1991.

(Location cited as NJ 3488 3745 and classified as Site of Regional Significance. Public monument with regular hours and entry fee). 15th century L-plan tower within a possible bivallate fort, although there is some disagreement whether this is an Iron Age fort or an earlier medieval castle; the inner rampart (formed by ditch and outer bank) is mutilated by approach-ramps to the castle on the W side and by quarrying on the E while the outer defences are formed by a natural rocky slope to the E with a ditch and outer bank to the N and S.

The castle is said to have been built by Thomas Cochrane (architect and favourite of James III from whom he received the earldom of Mar in 1479). Clearance [by Wordsworth] of the ground and first floor levels of the main tower revealed a vaulted chamber set below ground level. Gothic ribbed vault to hall; ground floor has elliptic barrel vaults; remains of enclosed courtyard wall.

Present castle built c. 1479; the Gordons received the lands in 1535.

[Air photographic imagery listed].

NMRS, MS/712/35, visited 6 June 1984.

Architecture Notes


National Library

Nattes Drawings, Vol. 3, Nos. 15-16 & 20. - 4 drawings.



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