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Publication Account

Date 1982

Event ID 1018219

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


Although there is no direct evidence with which to date the original castle it is first mentioned in a: 1157 x 1160 charter of Malcolm IV conferring on Dunfermline Abbey both the parish church of St.John's (a grant first made by his grandfather), and the chapel of the castle at Perth (RRS, i, 209). Early in his reign, David I had a mansio in the burgh (ESC, 1905, 65), but it is unclear when the castle was built. It is also unclear, what part, 1f any, the castle played in the riotous event of 1160, when Malcolm IV, on his return from Toulouse,was besieged unsuccessfully at Perth by the Earl of Strathearn and his adherents. Chroniclers make no specific mention of the castle.

What is clear is that Perth castle had a short history. In 1209, the river Tay flooded causing serious damage to the town. King William I, who was in residence at the time was forced to make his escape in a small boat. The flood destroyed both the standing structure and its castlehill (Duncan, 1973, 39-40). There is no evidence that the castle was ever rebuilt. A few years previous to the flood the merchant community won the right to have their own guild, and it may be perhaps that their feeling of pride and independence scotched any hope of the king's sheriff returning to a refurbished castle at Perth. It was during the first half of the thirteenth century that the crown built Kinclaven Castle, and the sheriff moved his storehouses there (Duncan, 1977, 469). Part of the castle site was granted to the Dominicans in the 1240s (Duncan, 1973, 40-1). Henceforth the Dominican Friary was to be the usual residence of Scottish monarchs when they were in Perth, until its destruction in 1559.

Information from ‘Historic Perth: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1982).

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