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Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Castle (Medieval), Chapel (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Laighwood

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Castle (Medieval), Chapel (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Bishop Sinclair's Castle; Bishop Sinclair's Tower

Canmore ID 27055

Site Number NO04NE 1

NGR NO 077 456

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Clunie
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO04NE 1 0774 4568 to 0774 4566.

(NO 0774 4568) Bishop Sinclair's Castle (NR) (Site of) (NO 0774 4566) Chapel (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map, Perthshire, 2nd ed. (1901)

The site of a castle said to have been the residence of Bishop Sinclair who built the choir of Dunkeld Cathedral in 1318. It is assumed from this that the castle was erected in the late 13th or early 14th c. From ruins visible in 1793, it appears to have been fortified on all sides by ditches filled with water, with the principal drawbridge on the N side. On the W and SW sides were the remains of later buildings, but nothing of the original castle was then to be seen except for two vaults and a small part of an under gallery. A chapel and burial ground are said to have adjoined the castle on the S side, where bones had been found, but these too had apparently vanished by the end of the 18th century.

Name Book 1865; Statistical Account (OSA) 1793

Sites marked by an oval rise (c. 65m E-W by c. 55m N-S by c. 2.0m high) in an otherwise featureless grass field. Looking down on the area from the hill called Arlick to the N, the semblance of a ditch (c. 10m wide) can be seen encircling the rise, but this is not visible at ground level. It is possible that this has been a motte, surmounted by a stone castle at a later period.

Visited by OS (AA) 2 May 1974

A mound in a field to the SE of Laighwood farmhouse is said to be the site of the castle of Bishop William Sinclair (1309/10-1337) (NO 0774 4568). It has been reduced and spread by ploughing and measures about 63m by 55m and is up to 2m high.

The author of the Statistical Account notes the presence of 'two vaults and a small part of an under gallery, with two loop-holes, pointing towards the draw-bridge (on the N)', the remains of later buildings on the W and SW sides and the fact that it 'appears to have been fortified on all sides by ditches filled with water.'

Statistical Account (OSA) 1793

Chapel and burial-ground (NO 0774 4566) are said to have adjoined the S side of the castle and in the 18th century some skeletal remains were found.

Visited by RCAHMS (IMS) November 1988.



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