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Maiden Castle, Duniface Hill

Motte (Medieval)

Site Name Maiden Castle, Duniface Hill

Classification Motte (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Kennoway Motte; Dunniface Hill

Canmore ID 31395

Site Number NO30SW 9

NGR NO 3495 0152

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Markinch
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Kirkcaldy
  • Former County Fife


Desk Based Assessment (8 July 1952)

NO30SW 9 3495 0152

NO 3495 0152 Maiden Castle (Fort) (NR)

OS 6" map (1938)

Maiden Castle, Dunipace Hill - This steep conical knoll, of artificial construction is evidently a medieval mote-hill. Around the slopes, especially on the west and south there are indications of a slight terracing and a flattening of the ridge suggests that there has been an approach from the SSE. In the centre of the summit there is a hole, 3' deep and some 18' in diameter.

The site is traditionally associated with "Macduff, Thane of Fife". Hector Boece (1526) describing it as surrounded by 7 ramparts and ditches and as the remains of the place where for a long time lived the descendants of the "illustrious" Macduff.


Information from OS Index Card, (FKB) 8 July 1952

Field Visit (4 October 1954)

A circular hill, as described above, the circular flat top measures 21.0m diameter with traces of stonework on the circumference. The hole mentioned by RCAHMS is greatly silted up and is now no more than 0.5m deep. The motte is situated on a natural ridge; the entrance to the SE is defended by three ditches.

Visited by OS (JFC), 4 October 1954

Field Visit (10 March 1961)

The slopes on knoll are still well-defined,the remains of ditches less so. The only stonework found is shown by near-view photograph and its plan position has been indicated by small rectangle on the astrafoil.

Visited by OS Reviser (DS), 10 March 1961.

Note (8 August 2007)

Maiden Castle, Motte, in Kennoway, Fife, NO 3495 0152, is described by the RCAHMS as being at "Dunipace Hill". This is incorrect, it should read DuniFace Hill, cf. OS maps etc. Dunipace is elsewhere, though it does have a hill very like this one. For more on Duniface, cf. S. Taylor with G Markus, place-Names of Fife vol. 2, and

Information from Professor Thomas Clancy, 8th August 2017

Note (14 August 2017)

The RCAHMS (RCAHMS 1933) incorrectly records Duniface Hill as ‘Dunipace’. ‘Dunniface’ or ‘Duniface’ are the names recorded in the OS Name Book and on the corresponding 1st edition of the 6-inch map (Fife 1856, xxiv). Duniface is also the name given to a farmstead lying to the SE of the hill. John Ainslie’s 1775 map of the County of Fife is annotated with ‘Dinnyface’.

Information from HES Survey and Recording (LMcC), 14 August 2017


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