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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 719934

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT68NW 1 6020 8727

For superimposed lighthouse, see NT68NW 3.

(NT 6020 8727) Castle (NR) (rems of)

(NT 6021 8719) Crane Bastion (NR)

OS 6" map (1971)

Bass Castle: Access to the Bass Rock is by a landing at the SW corner and the long screen wall of the castle, on average 40ft in height, occupy a terrace above this landing, cutting it off from the remainder of the rock. A battlemented wall projects at right angles from the screen wall (see plan); this has an internal stair with gun ports covering the approach, and ends at the rock edge with a round battery whose ports command the landing place. (This battery is named the Crane Bastion on a plan of about 1700, the crane, used for raising supplies to the castle, being indicated a short distance away). At the N end, a gateway leads past a bastion to a projection in the main screen where an entrance gives access to a long stair. On the S side are the remains of a turnpike stair to the wall-head, and on the N, a single range of rooms. The screen wall continues, incorporating a little room known as Blackadder's Lodging (John Blackadder, minister of Traquair, was one of the Covenanters imprisoned here in the late 17th century), till its final bastion merges into the cliff. Underneath Blackadder's room is a well chamber.

This work is built of local stone, with occasional dressings of imported freestone, and it is dated by the RCAHMS to the 16th century (though an earlier 'Castell of the Bas' is mentioned in 1405). At that time (i.e. 16th century) it belonged to the Lauders of Bass, passing to the Crown in 1671 and to Sir Hew Dalrymple of North Berwick in 1706. In 1902 the E part of the screen wall was pointed and given a flat-topped profile, and the lighthouse built above it (on the site of the governor's house).

RCAHMS 1924, visited 1920; C McWilliam 1978; J Reid 1886; Trans Roy Hist Soc 1895

The remains of the Castle are in good condition, the walls being approximately 4ft thick.

Visited by OS Reviser (DAD) 29 June 1952

Dickson 1899 The Bass rock pp 151-240.

Site recorded by GUARD during the Coastal Assessment Survey for Historic Scotland, 'The Firth of Forth from Dunbar to the Coast of Fife' 1996.

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