Crichton Castle


Site Name Crichton Castle

Classification Castle

Alternative Name(s) Crighton Castle

Canmore ID 53601

Site Number NT36SE 7

NGR NT 38000 61140

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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

  • Council Midlothian
  • Parish Crichton
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District Midlothian
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT36SE 7.00 38000 61140

(NT 3800 6114) Crichton Castle (NR)

OS 6" map, (1966).

NT36SE 7.01 NT 38008 61088 'Chapel'; Stables

The Object Name Book of the Ordnance Survey describes the castle as 'A very splendid specimen of the ancient Norman Stronghold presenting in its architecture the style of three different ages. Its form is quadrangular and its walls massive and of considerable height perforated at numerous places by loopholes and small doors. The large square keep in the south east side is an erection of great strength, but the remainder of the structure in a very delapidated state.

It was once the property of the celebrated Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland. It is now the property of Capt. B Callender of "Preston Gate".

Name Book 1853

Crichton Castle is fully described, planned and illustrated in the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works official guidebook.

W D Simpson 1957.

As described.

Visited by OS (BS) 24 October 1975.

The basement of the late 14th Century tower, the earliest extant building at Crichton, was excavated in advance of consolidation work. The mortared foundations of the tower were cut through the natural clay subsoil which probably formed the oringinal basement floor. Two post holes, each 0.40m in diameter by 0.3m deep, lay 2.25m apart, 1.3m away from the S wall, post-dating its construction. A series of drains were the only other features. W of the tower the area underneath the late 16th-century Italianate facade was cleared. The base of an E-W running mortared wall, 1.5m wide, underlay the 16th-century work, and may be the remains of the 14th century barmkin. The N range of cellars, perhaps 15th century, the supposdly 14th-century well, and the by then ruinous W wall of the early tower, had all been extensively re-faced during the 16th-century work. Traces of a kerb and bedding material for a 16th century courtyard were also noted.

Sponsor: HBM

J Cannell 1985

Excavation inside the basement of the castle's tower house, it's earliest extant building, revealed little of interest; whereas investigations in the area of the late 16th century Italianate facade on the north side of the courtyard revealed what are thought to be the foundations of the original north range, probabaly dating to the 15th century.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

J Lewis 1997.

NT 380 611 Turf and topsoil were removed from an area around the S and E sides of Crichton Castle in January 2003. An area of rough metalling was found directly facing the main entrance, probably the remains of an earlier access path. Also found was an area covered in demolition debris, possibly evidence of levelling work or stone robbing.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: HS

G Ewart 2003.

NT 380 611 A watching brief was undertaken in March 2005 during the excavation of two 1m2 trenches for the installation of lightning conductors; one at the foot of the E wall of the E tower and the other in the S return of the W tower. The trench near the E tower revealed sandstone rubble, with bedrock at a depth of 0.7m. The trench to the W uncovered similar rubble, also presumably demolition debris from the castle (NT36SE 7), but did not reach bedrock in its 1m depth.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: HS.

S Hogg 2005

NT 380 611 An archaeological watching brief was undertaken in May 2006 during the excavation of a posthole to secure the base of a handrail. Nothing of archaeological significance was discovered during the excavation of this posthole. According to Historic Scotland personnel, the area had probably been much disturbed during the installation of the cobbled surface c 20 years previously.

Archive and report to be deposited in NMRS. Report lodged with CECAS.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

S Hogg 2006.

Architecture Notes


Guardianship Monument


National Library, MSS of General Hutton Vol 1 No 72 - plan of church 1817 & sketch dated 1781

National Library, Scots Magazine, Sept 1808 - engraving

(Undated) information in NMRS.



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