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Special Survey

Date 27 June 2015

Event ID 1019240

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


Situated in paddocks to the NW of Wolfclyde farmsteading, this motte and bailey castle has previously been interpreted as a free-standing motte (RCAHMS 1957). However, a resurvey of the site in June 2015 has revealed the location of a bailey on its SE side.

The motte measures 14m from E to W by 12m transversely and stands almost 3m in height. There is no evidence for a ditch although this may be due to later land use, including the railway line that cuts its NW. The top of the motte has a hollow in it which may mark the location of a tower that has been removed.

The bailey measures 80 from E to W by 60m transversely overall and is comparable in extent with that at Abington (Canmore id 47438). Although it is only faintly visible as a scarp up to 0.5m in height and 2m in breadth in the paddocks to the S and E of the motte, it is more pronounced where the road that runs past the SW arc of the motte crosses its edge. However, there was nothing visible relating to the site in the wooded river terrace that drops steeply down to the River Clyde.

The motte and bailey is situated in the extreme N end of the parish of Culter, but at some distance from the village of that name. Although an Alexander of Coulter (“Alexander de Cultre”) witnessed a charter by Maldoven, Earl of Lennox, at Killearn in Stirlingshire between 1234 and 1241 (Dennistoun 1833), there is no early reference to a castle at Coulter or Wolfclyde. The village of ‘Outhclyd’ is depicted on Pont’s map of 1596, which appears to be an earlier form of Wolfclyde, the name of the adjacent farmsteading (Pont, 34). The motte is depicted on General Roy’s Military Map of Scotland and the farm of Wolfclyde to its S (Roy 1747-55).

Visited by RCAHMS (PD, WW, AMcC) 27 June 2015

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