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Nairn 'castle'

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

Site Name Nairn 'castle'

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

Canmore ID 15106

Site Number NH85NE 20

NGR NH 87 57

NGR Description NH c. 87 57

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Nairn
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Nairn
  • Former County Nairn

Archaeology Notes

NH85NE 20 c. 87 57

The original castle of Nairn, extant in the time of Malcolm I and described by Camden as 'a tower on a peninsula of extraordinary height', stood near the mouth of the river and the remains were still visible at spring tides about the end of the 18th century.

L Shaw 1882

The ruins under the sea are probably those of an anchorage constructed as late as the 17th century. The ruins of the castle are supposed to be on the shore at the north-west corner of the Links.

G Bain 1893.

No trace of the castle was seen during field investigation and no reliable information obtained. Local, unconfirmed, opinion is that it stood opposite the swimming baths at NH 8770 5699.

Visited by OS (EGC) 29 November 1961.

Nairn castle was founded together with the burgh NH85NE 40. It may have been situated on or near the site of Constabular Gardens, High Street.

J Gifford 1992.

The term anchorage (used by Bain) is inappropriate in this context, as it refers to an area of seabed without prepared structures. A possible harbour is presumably implied.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 17 November 2008.


Publication Account (1999)

Nairn developed as a strategic and defensive strong point by a river crossing. Nothing now remains of the castle, although its site reputedly lies somewhere beneath Constabulary Gardens off the High Street. The topography of the area suggests that it would have stood in the south-west corner of the gardens, as this is the most commanding position (see pp 55- 6). The remains of the motte and bailey, at least parts of which were replaced in stone, may still be preserved within the buildings in Constabulary Gardens, and those which front onto High Street.

Information from - ‘Historic Nairn: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1999).


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