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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 682616

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NO12SE 11.00 16438 21083

NO12SE 11.01 16327 20918 Dovecot

NO12SE 11.02 16449 21058 Custodians House/Lodge

(NO 1643 2107) Elcho Castle (NR)

OS 6" map, Perthshire, 2nd ed., (1902)

For Wallace's Well (at NO 1646 2102), see NO12SE 10. For farmhouse (NO 1628 2087) and steading (NO 1632 2085) of Elcho Farm, see NO12SE 34.00 and NO12SE 34.01 respectively.

Elcho Castle of the period 1540-1700, is an example of the transition between the keep and the mansion. It was undoubtedly surrounded with walls, and probably had a ditch outside. The only remaining evidence of the wall is a round tower about 70 yards SW of the castle. There seems to have been an earlier castle at Elcho, associated with Wallace, according to Blind Harry. A canal or ditch formerly connected the castle with the River Tay, about 150 yards distant, and ended in a quarry.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; A H Millar 1890.

Among the most perfect and well-preserved of the later tower-houses.

S Toy 1953.

NO 1644 2108. Generally as described and planned above, but to the SW more of the enclosing wall has been uncovered by MoW.

There is no trace of the canal linking the quarry immediately north of the castle and the River Tay, but the inlet at NO 1654 2117 appears to be artificial and the custodian at the castle says that there had been a pier there which had been used up to comparatively recent times. There is no trace of an earlier castle near the site.

Visited by OS (R D L) 11 June 1964.

The rounded SE corner tower, consisting of a domed oven and adjoining fireplace at ground floor level, and surmounted by two small apartments, is one of the few surviving fragments of barmkin wall at Elcho. The brief excavation, in advance of consolidation, uncovered the original floor level of burnt clay and flagstone outside the oven, some 0.8m below the existing ground level. The oven itself was 2.1m in diameter by 1.5m high, with its threshold set 0.7m above the original ground level. All the excavated deposits were of recent origin, probably associated with the construction of the adjoining custodian's cottage earlier this century.

J Cannell 1987.

This tower-house has recently undergone large-scale refurbishment. It is in the care of Historic Scotland and open to the public.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS), 10 December 1996.

NO 1643 2107 Monitoring was undertaken during the digging of fence post-holes around a new car park just to the S of the late medieval Elcho Castle, on the S shore of the River Tay. The holes were dug close to a ditch and bank visible as a surface feature running down the W side of the road to the castle. No significant deposits or artefacts were found.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Murray 1998

NO 1643 2107 During March 1999 the digging of 93 tree holes in the orchard to the W of Elcho Castle was monitored. Charcoal flecks were noted throughout the topsoil horizon, and a small assemblage of china was noted (but not retained). Below this was a light brown to light grey fine clayey silt.

A small trench was also dug against the fence on the E side of the field, to allow the installation of a new gate. Only topsoil and the concrete bases of the existing fence were noted.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

D Murray 1999

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