Westray, Noltland Castle

Tower House

Site Name Westray, Noltland Castle

Classification Tower House

Canmore ID 2764

Site Number HY44NW 1

NGR HY 42944 48695

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Westray
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY44NW 1 42944 48695

(HY 4293 4870) Noltland Castle (NR) (In Ruins).

OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed., (1900).

The remains of a late 16th c. Z-plan castle to which a range enclosed in a courtyard was added on the south in the 17th c; in the 18th c. other structures were erected outside the east and west walls of the courtyard. Simpson reasons that the castle was founded by Gilbert Balfour of Westray and is of the opinion that the main work was probably done on it between 1560 and 1572, but was never completed.

The building is in the custody of the M of PB&W, during whose excavations an early graveyard was disclosed adjoining the west side of the castle.

The castle is said to have been fired by Covenanters in 1650.

RCAHMS 1946, visited 1930; W D Simpson 1952.

Noltland Castle, as described, planned and illustrated.

Visited by OS (RL) 29 June 1970.

HY 4292 4868 A minor excavation was undertaken in October 2000 at Noltland Castle (NMRS HY44NW 1), as part of a programme of installing underground electricity cables. No significant discoveries were made.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Murray and G Ewart 2001

The excavation of skeletons in 1873 and 1874 was reported in 'The Orkney Herald'.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Architecture Notes


Miscellaneous: Dr Thomas Ross - manuscript notes.

(Undated) information in NMRS.



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