Dundee, Broughty Ferry, Broughty Castle
Castle (15th Century)
Site Name Dundee, Broughty Ferry, Broughty Castle
Classification Castle (15th Century)
Alternative Name(s) Broughty Castle; Broughty Ferry, Castle Green; Broughty Ferry, The Harbour
Canmore ID 33391
Site Number NO43SE 10
NGR NO 46475 30427
Datum OSGB36 - NGR
- Council Dundee, City Of
- Parish Dundee (Dundee, City Of)
- Former Region Tayside
- Former District City Of Dundee
- Former County Angus
NO43SE 10.00 46475 30427
NO43SE 10.01 NO 4648 3040 Coast Battery
(NO 4650 3045). Broughty Castle on site of (NAT)
Broughty Castle (NR)
OS 1:10000 map (1974)
Broughty Castle, built c.1496 and allowed to fall into decay after 1603, has been completely restored and is in use as an Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) Depot.
The E block is all that remains of the original keep. The castellated building attached to the NW is completely modern as is the circular tower contained in the re-entrant angle of the two blocks. The foundations of the main block show the original masonry, but the rest of the walls are faced with cement. The battlements are modern as are the courtyard walls.
A print of 1831 and a photograph of 1853 in Dundee Reference Library show the shell of the keep and the courtyard wall with two towers. The keep was unbattlemented. (A J Warden 1882)
It is possible that there were pre-1496 defences on the rock.
Visited by OS (JLD) 30 April 1958
Installation of electric cables for floodlighting involved the excavation of 103m of cable trench on Castle Green and 31m in the courtyard. The trenches were 30cm wide at ground level and narrowed to 15cm to 25cm in the bottom; they varied in depth from 30cm to 50cm.
The Castle Green trenches showed extensive make-up/terracing deposits associated with the 1860s refortification of the site and 20th-century landscaping. The mound on which the 19th-century castle sits is built up of quarried sandstone and some revetting of the bedrock was seen. To the E of the ramp, the remains of a rubble-filled bunker were found on the site of the dynamo and engine rooms. A corner of the foundations/roof of another bunker was also seen at the N end of the ramp, and a gravel path crosses eastern Castle Green N to S.
Inside the courtyard, the foundations of a 19th-century guardhouse were revealed and a substantial 2m-thick wall running NE to SW; this may represent the remains of a mid-16th-century angled tower known to have stood in this area. The majority of courtyard deposits were make-up for the battery and showed frequent re-surfacing of the courtyard.
Sponsor: Tayside Enterprise.
F M C Baker 1993.
NO 465 304 A small trench was excavated in January 2003 immediately N of the castle, E of the approach road, to investigate an area of sudden subsidence. A large pit was found cut into loose gravel, and appeared to have been inadequately backfilled. This pit is thought most likely to be from the extraction of a single large post, possibly a flagpole.
Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.
G Ewart 2003.
Geophysical Survey (12 December 2008)
Geophysical survey was to be undertaken at Broughty Castle as part of an archaeological evaluation instigated because of the occurrence of subsidence events in an area of lawns to the north-east of the castle known as Castle Green, by Broughty Ferry, Dundee… Electrical resistance was used with the objective of assessing the presence of building remains and identifying areas at future risk of subsidence. The survey objectives were deemed to have been met through the provision of the possible location of additional voids, correlating with the site of 19th century primer pits and other ancillary military buildings adjacent to the Broughty Castle ramp. Moreover the results indicated variation in the survival of building remains across the site, including areas of general clearance, possible robbed wall foundations and in situ foundations.
NO 4647 3042 A geophysical survey was undertaken on 12 December 2008 as part of an evaluation to investigate the potential causes of subsidence in an area of lawns known as the Castle Green; formerly the site of a 19th-century mariners’ military base. A resistivity area survey (0.16ha) and resistivity profiling were undertaken. The site of 19th-century primer pits and ancillary military buildings were identified, with areas of potential voiding.
Report: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, KHT, Local Authority Archaeological Advisor, OASIS: Scotland and RCAHMS (intended)
Funder: Kirkdale Archaeology Ltd and Historic Scotland
Oliver O’Grady – Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust
Excavation (4 February 2009 - 10 February 2009)
NO 4647 3045 Following examination of cartographic sources and a geophysical survey minor excavations were carried out, 4–10 February 2009, to investigate areas of subsidence to the N of the castle. The excavation uncovered what appeared to be the ‘primer pits’ shown on early OS maps of the area.
Archive: RCAHMS (intended)
Funder: Historic Scotland
David Murray – Kirkdale Archaeology
External Reference (4 February 1965)
1490-96 tower house, restored from a derelict shell and made L-plan with single storey court of offices in re-entrant and new battery fortifications, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, 1860-61; observation room at SE garret by Office of Works, 1942. 4-Storey and garret. Original tower house harled, snecked rubble elsewhere, ashlar dressings and parapet. Exposed base rock at N; 12-pane sash and case windows, glazed rectangular gunports, all with chamfered margins, relieving arches at unharled areas; horizontally splayed gunports at ground floor N and W elevations; corbelled and battlemented parapet with gun-barrel waterspouts; crowstepped gables; cap-house at SW angle; coped stacks; curtain wall at N and W, battery at S and E.
N ELEVATION: moulded segmental-arched entrance arch in curtain wall approached by ramp and drawbridge over dry ditch; 7 gunports at left, battery projecting at far left with 5 gunports. Castle at right: original building at left, harled with 2 openings at ground floor, window at 1st and 2nd floor, round-arched window at 3rd floor, 2 exposed cannon ball scars and small opening at 1st floor, gablehead stack behind parapet; slightly lower 1860-61 addition advanced at right, 2 horizontal gunports at ground floor left return, 2 gunports at 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, 4 horizontal gunports at ground floor, 2 at 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, gablehead stacks behind parapet.
W ELEVATION: 1860-61 castle addition at left with 4 gunports at ground floor, window and 2 gunports at 1st, 2 windows and gunport at 2nd and 3rd floors; round-headed door at right return, gunport at 1st floor, windows at 2nd and 3rd; capped segmental stair tower at re-entrant with moulded doorway at ground and 2 gunports above; original tower house at right with various windows and gunports, masked by high projecting wall with 5 gunports and 2 at left return; blank curtain wall further advanced at far right; angled projection with numerous gunports at outer right extending to S elevation.
S ELEVATION OF CASTLE: round-arched entrance at ground floor, gunports at left and right, 2 windows and various gunports at 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, cap-house projecting through parapet at left, flat-roofed plate-glazed observation room at parapet walk extending to E elevation; curtain wall with arch to service court at ground floor left.
E ELEVATION OF CASTLE: round-headed entrance at right, 10 windows and gunports variously arranged over 4 floors.
BATTERY: snecked rubble battery at S and E meeting at an obtuse angle with a caponiere; 7 gun emplacements; drawbridge lifting equipment at interior of entrance arch.
INTERIOR: 2 barrel vaulted ground floor rooms at each tower, single rooms at remaining floors of original building.
Sir Francis Mudie, David Walker, Iain McIvor, BROUGHTY CASTLE AND THE DEFENCE OF THE TAY; (1979); David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND. (1871 ed), v.iv, p 386; Bruce Walker and Graham Ritchie, DISCOVERING SCOTLAND'S HERITAGE, FIFE AND TAYSIDE, (1987); Sam McKinstry, 'The Life and Work of Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, 1834-1921', (1986), Phd thesis, University of St Andrews.
Broughty Castle is strategically situated at the inner mouth of the Tay on a site which was probably fortified before the present building was commenced in 1490. The Victorian reconstruction and extension followed purchase by the government in 1855 in response to the threat from Russian warships. Although one of Anderson's major early works, the re-fortification was never regarded as satisfactory. The carefully preserved battle scars on the N face of the tower were inflicted by Cromwells's forces furing the siege of 1651. Broughty Castle is of supreme picturesque importance; it is used as an outstation by Dundee Museums and Galleries, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument in care.
Scheduled Area 2 March 1998.
Information from Historic Scotland, 4 February 1965