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Ormond Castle

Castle (Medieval), Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Site Name Ormond Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval), Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Of Avoch

Canmore ID 13572

Site Number NH65SE 1

NGR NH 6963 5358

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/13572

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Avoch
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH65SE 1 6963 5358.

(NH 6963 5358) Ormond Castle (NR)

OS 6" map, (1959

For bronze axe hoard from 'Ladyhill' traditionally linked with this locality, see NJ26SW 121.

Ormond Castle, or the Castle of Avoch, was the seat of the Ormonds, and is said to have been one of the royal castles built c.1179. There are early references to the "Mote of Ormond'. It is said to have been destroyed on the approach of Cromwell's army c.1650. The castle appears to have been of coarse red sandstone and lime. Only the foundations remain. The site was partially cleared by Beaton, who believed that some of the tower foundations, which appear to be circular, would prove to be rectangular, as did tower 'A' on the plan. The outer defences on the NE follow the contour of the hill. According to NSA (1845) these are composed of three breastworks with median ditches, but Beaton (1885) mentions only one ditch.

NSA 1845; A J Beaton 1885.

The remains of Ormond Castle are generally as described and planned by Beaton: the walls are mostly reduced to vague turf-covered footings 0.3m in height.

The castle consists of three courts aligned NE and SW and occupying the summit of Ormond Hill. The central court contains the foundations of two oblong buildings, and incorporates the footings of four towers or turrets in its SW and SE walls. The entrance, of which no trace remains, was probably in the SW side.

The NW and SE walls are extended to the NE to form, at a lower level, a semicircular court containing an oblong building foundation; and incorporating a fifth tower in its SE arc. There is no trace of the wall shown by Beaton (1885) within this court.

At the opposite end of the central court the NW wall extends to the W and S to delimit the third court, the NW arc of which incorporates a tower additional to that shown by Beaton.

To the NE, where the slopes of Ormond Hill are slightest, there are also the remains of two banks and ditches.

There is a stone-lined well, within the W tower of the inner court and on a shelf to the SE of that court, is a rock cut basin shown by Beaton (1885) as a well.

The approach through the outworks runs NE and upwards on to this shelf.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (N K B) 17 March 1966.

The earthworks around the NE shoulder of the hill comprise two ditches with outer banks, the inner of which contrives around the NW and SE sides of the hill in the form of a terrace reminiscent of an IA fort, for which the hill is eminently suited. However the clear-cut nature of the ditches in the NE suggests a later date.

Visited by OS (N K B) 3 December 1970.

For possible hoard of flat bronze axes, said to be from this area but more probably from the Ladyhill district of Elgin, see NJ26SW 121. It appears probable that Beaton included these in his account of Ormond Castle on account of their having been presented to Elgin Museum by James Fletcher of Rosehaugh, a nearby property.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 20 April 1990.

Castle / motte (supposed); hillfort? - outside survey area.

CFA/MORA Coastal Assessment Survey 1998.

Activities

Measured Survey (20 March 2016 - 21 March 2016)

NH 69630 53580 (Canmore ID: 13572. SMR ID: MHG8226) The North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS) and Avoch Community Archaeology (ACA) group joined forces, 20–21 March 2016, to survey and photograph Ormond Castle. The local ACA folk made a good job of clearing the vegetation and on a calm but cold weekend 20 people from NOSAS and

ACA gathered to carry out a measured survey. Nine plane table stations were needed to cover the site. Inevitably, the height variations meant that the PT positions were not quite correct in their relationship to each other, but this was overcome by making adjustments at the ‘drawing-up’ stage

of the plan, using the processed aerial photographs taken from a quadcopter flyover on the second day. The flyover produced some impressive 3D images of the castle and its features which gave a greatly enhanced overall picture of the fortification.

Archive: NOSAS. Report: Highland HER, NOSAS, and local library

Website: NOSAS.co.uk

Meryl Marshall – NOSAS

(Source: DES, Volume 17)

Note (9 March 2016 - 15 November 2016)

The remains of Ormond Castle may stand within the remains of an earlier fort enclosing the whole of the summit of Ormond Hill, which forms the low NE spur of Wood-hill. The margin of the summit area all round the hill is defined by a pronounced lip, from

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – followed by the Date Modified expressed as 01 January 2016 and the Atlas Numbe from the Identifier field

References

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