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Leuchars Castle

Motte (Medieval)

Site Name Leuchars Castle

Classification Motte (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Knowe

Canmore ID 33231

Site Number NO42SE 5

NGR NO 45448 21934

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NO42SE 5 NO 45448 21934

(NO 4544 2194) Castle Knowe (NR)

Site of Leuchars Castle (Mote) (NR).

OS 6" map (1919).

See also NO42SE 52.

The barony of Leuchars existed in the time of William the Lion (1165-1214), and the castle existed before 1264. It was demolished early in the 19th century.

A H Millar 1895.

Leuchars Castle - the site was originally a mote-hill, with a summit 100 yds long by 60 yds wide and 25ft high, which was later crowned by a stone castle, occupied at least as late as 1565, and part still standing at the close of the 18th century. A moat surrounded the site.

The area is cultivated, and fragments of mortared stone, shell pinnings, glass and tile can be picked up. In 1923 Dr Mears, Leuchars, found a bronze plate just to the S of the mound. It bears figures in 12th/13th century costume, and is now in the National Museum.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 1925.

A portion of a sculptured cross-slab was found on the Castle Knowe, Leuchars - the site of the former Leuchars Castle. There is no masonry left here, and subsequent examination did not lead to the recovery of any other fragments of the slab. The slab, which has been placed in Leuchars Church, may have come from a site near the church where, tradition states, a Celtic chapel (St Bonoc's) was situated.

N M Johnson 1948.

Castle Motte is an oval, flat-topped mound, measuring 100m by 70m by c.8m high. A quantity of building material and oyster shells occurs on the surface, and a number of stone blocks have been placed among two clumps of trees on the mound.

Visited by OS (DS), 19 October 1956.

Leuchars Castle (site) is generally as described above, but cultivation has reduced the summit to about 80.0m N-S by 50.0m.

Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (RDL) 5 June 1964.

Photographed by the RCAHMS in 1978.

What is probably the bailey for this motte has been identified on aerial photographs: see NO42SE 52 for details.

Information from N Cunningham, 1990.


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