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Skibo Castle

Bishops Palace (16th Century), Country House (19th Century)

Site Name Skibo Castle

Classification Bishops Palace (16th Century), Country House (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Skibo Castle Policies; Castle Of Skibo

Canmore ID 14646

Site Number NH78NW 13

NGR NH 73624 89052

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Dornoch
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NH78NW 13.00 73624 89052

NH78NW 13.01 NH 7351 8889 Boathouse

NH78NW 13.02 NH 73442 88932 Stables

NH78NW 13.03 NH 73724 89313 Dairy

NH78NW 13.04 NH 7357 8933 to NH 7484 8910 Road

NH78NW 13.05 NH 7350 8931 Cottage

NH78NW 13.06 NH 7356 8920 Pavilion

NH78NW 13.07 Centred NH 73590 89139 Greenhouses

NH78NW 13.08 Centred NH 73782 89030 Walled flower garden and greenhouses

NH78NW 13.09 Centred NH 7320 8885 Garden; Garden Feature (Loch Ospisdale)

NH78NW 13.10 NH 7357 8950 North Lodge

NH78NW 13.11 NH 7351 8952 Kennels Cottage

NH78NW 13.12 NH 7383 8924 Farmhouse; Farmsteading (Skibo Home Farm)

NH78NW 13.13 NH 7351 8949 Kennels

NH78NW 13.14 NH 73660 89028 Sundial

NH78NW 13.15 NH 73465 88912 Swimming Pool

NH78NW 13.16 Centred NH 73659 89014 Terraced Garden

NH78NW 13.17 NH 71131 89013 West Lodge

NH78NW 13.18 Centred NH 7400 8759 Garden; Garden Feature

NH78NW 13.19 NH 7355 8940 Gardener's Lodge

NH78NW 13.20 Centred NH 7368 8908 Formal Garden

NH78NW 13.21 NH 73398 88760 Bridge (Lake Ospisdale)

NH78NW 13.22 NH 73441 88947 Loch Ospisdale West

NH78NW 13.23 NH 73450 88945 Loch Ospisdale East

Skibo Castle is first mentioned in a charter dated 1211 AD. It was in use as a Bishop's residence even after the erection of the Bishop's Palace at Dornoch in the 16th century. A letter, incorporated in a 16th century charter, shows the castle to be at that time thatched and in disrepair. The structure is not mentioned again until the 17th century when it is noted as being amongst the first to be slated from a new-found local quarry. In the late 18th century it is described as being the Bishop's summer residence and as having been repaired. Since then all proprietors seem to have repaired, altered, renovated, extended, enlarged and improved the structure down to 1895 when Andrew Carnegie became the proprietor and built the present castle.

Campbell (1920) states that "no part of the old Castle Skibo remains".

C D Bentinck 1926; D Matheson 1902; H F Campbell 1920.

Workmen found two cists, whilst excavating the foundations of Skibo Castle, beneath the walls of the old castle which had been demolished.

J H Stevenson 1899.

NH 7363 8904. No part of the old castle now remains. The oldest part of the present castle was built about 1875, but most of the present building was built between 1899 and 1901

(Information from J P Whittet, Estate Factor, Clashmore to OS).

Nothing is known about the discovery of the cists.

Visited by OS (W D J) 6 June 1963.

No change.

Visited by OS (J M) 10 December 1980

The present castle stands on the site of the Bishop's residence and was purchased in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie. It was rebuilt in 1900 by Ross and Macbeth, incorporating the baronial house of 1880 (Clark & Bell, Glasgow). Currently owned by Peter de Savaray (1996) and run as a venue for corporate entertaining.

Information from RCAHMS (VCO), 2 July 1996.

Architecture Notes

ARCHITECT: Ross & Macbeth 1899 alterations and additions;

Thomas Mawson 1904 garden schemes with terraces

(Undated) information in NMRS.


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