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Naughton Castle

Barmkin (16th Century), Inscribed Stone (17th Century), Tower House (16th Century)

Site Name Naughton Castle

Classification Barmkin (16th Century), Inscribed Stone (17th Century), Tower House (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Naughton House Policies; Naughton Estate

Canmore ID 31773

Site Number NO32SE 4

NGR NO 37346 24715

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2024.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Balmerino
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO32SE 4.00 37346 24715

NO32SE 4.01 NO 37314 24717 Summerhouse

NO32SE 4.02 NO 37255 24685 Dovecot

See also:

NO32SE 46.00 37384 24669 Naughton House

(NO 3734 2471) Naughton Castle (NR).

OS 6" map (1959)

The remains of Naughton Castle occupy a position of great natural strength on a spine of rock behind Naughton House, the summit being enclosed by a barmkin wall. The remains are now incorporated in a garden and later buildings, but drawings of 1760, in Naughton House, show a presumably 16th century tower on the E side with a contemporary circular tower at the SE corner of the barmkin, and a range of lower building, probably 17th century, on the N side of the barmkin, this range incorporating the wall. The remains confirm the accuracy of the drawings.

Millar mentions Nauchton, a tower upon a high rock, built by Robertus de Lundon, natural son of King William, which would date it to about the beginning of the 13th century. The property came by marriage to Sir Peter Chrichton in 1517, who may have built part of the old castle, then it passed to Peter Hay, who is recorded, on a stone dated 1625 in the NE corner of the ruins, as having erected some buildings.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 1927; A H Millar 1895

The remains of Naughton Castle are confusing as fragments of old masonry have been incorporated in a modern garden wall which would appear to occupy the course of the original enceinte wall. This wall is thickest on the west and east sides, measuring 1.2m in thickness and 2.0m in height. The south wall of the building range is now a garden wall also, 1.0m high. The west gable is old in style, with doorway and chimney recess, but appears to have been rebuilt as an ornamental feature.

There is a well within the former courtyard, and the inscribed panel still exists, though obviously not in situ.

Visited by OS (JLD) 2 November 1956

No change.

Visited by OS (RD) 11 June 1970.

NO32SE 4.01 37314 24717 Summerhouse

Site Management (23 May 2011)

Slight remains of tower house and more extensive remains of barmkin wall and outbuildings. Encloses flower garden. Considerably repaired in 1928. 1625 Petrus Hay panel set up in N.E. corner.

Fragment of castle with 1562 inscription preserved at front of house. (Historic Scotland)


Field Visit (26 May 1927)

Naughton Castle.

The remains of Naughton Castle stand on a spine of rock just under a mile to the east of Balmerino Abbey and beside the modern Naughton House. The site is one of great natural strength, the ground rising precipitously on three sides and only a little less steeply on the west, where lay the access. The summit has been enclosed by a barmkin wall, the north and east portions of which have subsequently been incorporated in buildings. Drawings, prepared in 1760 by John Kinloch and now preserved in the modern house, show a presumably 16th-century tower on the eastern side, with a contemporary circular tower at the south-east corner of the barmkin, and a range of lower building, probably of the 17th century, on the northern side of the barmkin, this range incorporating the wall. Without these drawings it would have been impossible to determine the arrangement of the castle and its date, as it is so ruinous. What is left, however, amply attests the accuracy of the artist.

A panel is set up at the north-east corner of the ruins. The two upper corners are occupied by cherubs' heads flanking a shield charged with three escutcheons, for Hay, bordered by the initials P.H. for Peter Hay and M.H. for Marjory Hay. Below is the inscription: PETRVS . HAY. FILIVS . GEO / RGI . HAY / HOC . EDIFICIVM . EXSTRV /XIT . I625 /DOMINE . FILII -SERVORVM / TVORVM . INHABITABVNT (‘Peter Hay, son of George Hay, erected this building, 1625. O Lord, the sons of thy servants shall dwell therein’).

The remains are now incorporated in a garden. In the part which was unoccupied by building is a draw-well 11 feet in depth.

DOVECOT. Some 50 yards west of the castle site is an oblong double-chambered dovecot with an entrance to each chamber. The lintel of the western entrance is inscribed in cursive characters, A.E. E.G. / 1750 I.M.

HISTORICAL NOTE. The estate of Naughton passed from the Hays, by the marriage of an heiress, to a Crichton family, who succeeded in 1513 and apparently were responsible for building the tower. From the Crichtons the property returned to the Peter Hay recorded in the panel (1).

RCAHMS 1933, visited 26 May 1927.

(1) Balmerino and its Abbey, App., pp. 646-647.iii N.E. 26 May 1927.


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