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Pitfoddel's Castle

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Pitfoddel's Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Pitfodels; Pitfoddels Castle; Norwood House Hotel

Canmore ID 20247

Site Number NJ90SW 1

NGR NJ 9103 0296

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeen, City Of
  • Parish Peterculter
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District City Of Aberdeen
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ90SW 1 9103 0296.

(NJ 9103 0296) Pitfoddel's Castle (NR) (site of)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1974).

A probable motte and bailey, the latter now covered by grassy mounds indicating the remains of the stone castle of the Menzies family, erected about the beginning of the 15th century, abandoned in 1622 and allowed to fall into decay. The 'motte' known as Castleheugh, consists of a natural mound, with regularly scarped sides, topped by a slight, possibly artificial mound c 1.0m high, spread to c and having a flat summit 7.0m by 3.0m. It has now been cleared of undergrowth and some of its trees.

Name Book 1865; E Meldrum 1957; C G Simpson and B Webster 1972.

Visited by OS (JLD) 22 November 1961.

Detailed recording and survey were carried out. The motte comprises an irregular ovate mound c40m long by 25m wide, surmounted by a small mound with an artificial level top measuring 7m by 3m. The site has maximum relief of 4.5m. No trace of a bailey was present. This may have been removed by landscaping around the motte.

Sponsor: Mr George Gibson.

CFA 1992.

Scheduled as Pitfoddels Castle, motte E of Norwood.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 8 December 2000.

(Reclassified as Castle). The so-called motte of Pitfoddel's Castle is a natural mound that occupies a wooded promontory on the steep edge of a river terrace cut by the Dee. The mound measures about 40m from NW to SE by 25m transversely and rises to about 5m in height. However, the mound was once larger, and is shown almost twice as extensive as it is today on the first edition of the OS 25-inch map (Aberdeenshire, 1870). The tradition of its use as the site of a castle was first recorded at that time. The mound has been landscaped on several occasions since: a broad terrace has been levelled into it on the E; a track cuts into its sides on the N and S; and an excavation has been made in the SW for a new wing of the Norwood House Hotel (NJ90SW 43.00) in 1976. The mound may have been used as the site of an earthwork castle, but no trace of any defences is visible today. A small rectangular platform with a sharp profile is visible on the W of the mound, but this may be a garden feature of the country house.

If a castle stood here, it was probably built by the Murrays of Colbyn, who obtained the barony of Pitfoddel de novo between 1389 and 1397. The barony passed to the Rede family in the 15th century and thence to the Menzies in the 16th century. In view of the date of the erection of the barony, the possibility of an earthwork castle is less likely than a stone-built tower-house.

Visited by RCAHMS (PJD) 27 September 2001.

J Robertson and G Grub [1857]; MS/726/40.


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