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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 705521

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NS57NW 9 54979 77190

(NS 5498 7718) Mugdock Castle (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map, (1958)

The fragmentary remains of Mugdock Castle occupy the summit of a plateau; enough remains to show that the site was extensively developed by a succession of buildings which suggest an almost constant occupation from the 14th to the beginning of the 20th century, the last phase being the construction of a mansion, with outhouses and gardens, in the courtyard, in 1875. The original castle is of the courtyard type; from the extent and massiveness both of the original walls and also of the later additions, Mugdock would appear to have been of great strength and importance during, at least, the earlier part of its history. The sequence of constructional phases is shown by RCAHMS plan (1963).

Of the original design of the 14th century there remain two towers on the W side of a courtyard and part of a gatehouse, on the S side, mutually connected by a high curtain-wall. A small-scale excavation was carried out by the RCAHMS in 1958 with the object of tracing the extent of the remaining portion of the enceinte; the excavation trenches are shown on the plan, and the existing masonry, where found, is indicated. At some time in the 15th century, the castle was greatly enlarged by the erection of another high curtain- wall, founded on the rocky lip of the summit area, to enclose another and much larger courtyard area, within which were probably lean-to chambers and offices, built against the inner face, as is indicated by gun-loops and chutes here and there in the walling. The full E-W extent of this courtyard at its N end appears to have been about 300', the line of the curtain having been proved by excavation in 1958; the S portion of the E curtain, however, has disappeared and its line is uncertain. From the gatehouse on the S to the extreme N margin of the courtyard, where a later chapel has been erected, possibly during the first half of the 16th century, the length is c.400'. A range of 16th century offices and outbuildings occupies the SW angle of the courtyard, where also there are still later stables and outbuildings.

RCAHMS 1963, visited 1958; J G Smith 1886.

Mugdock Castle is as described, planned and illustrated by the RCAHMS, except that the footings of the N curtain wall of the 14th century castle are no longer evident.

Earthworks re-surveyed at 1:2500.

The modern mansion and 16th century offices and out-buildings have recently been gutted by fire.

Visited by OS (E G C) 31 August 1966.

NS 549 771 This 14th century courtyard castle was greatly enlarged in the 15th century and has been the subject of additions and alterations extending into the late 19th century.

RCAHMS 1979, visited August 1978


Two short excavations undertaken prior to restoration work to north-west tower involved clearance at first floor level. Following the insertion of a vault into the ground floor of the original 14th Century tower, the first floor was converted to kitchen use. The remains of a fireplace arch probably re-using earlier masonry. Slope chute in north wall. Area of original hearth intact in north-west corner comprised small rounded stones of burnt sandstone. Considerable quantity of animal bones (many butchered), clay pipe fragments, and late Medieval pottery. A turner of Charles II was recovered from the spoil tip. The north curtain wall was traced at its junction with the north-east tower where it was established at 1.45m wide. Evidence of inner cobbled courtyard.

L Main 1986.

NS 5550 7715 A watching brief was undertaken as part of the Scheduled Monument Consent on the excavation of two post-holes west dunbartonshire/west lothian/western isles being dug for the erection of a signboard at Mugdock Castle (NMRS NS57NW 9). A short length of a substantial wall running approximately N-S, constructed immediately on bedrock, was found in one of the holes.

Sponsor: Stirling Council.

L Main 1999

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