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Castle Hill

Motte (Medieval)

Site Name Castle Hill

Classification Motte (Medieval)

Canmore ID 33740

Site Number NO45NW 6

NGR NO 4421 5715

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Angus
  • Parish Tannadice
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Angus
  • Former County Angus

Archaeology Notes

NO45NW 6 4421 5715.

(NO 4421 5715) Castle Hill (NAT) Moat (NR).

OS 6" map, (1959)

'The Castlehill', '(Statisitcal Account [OSA] 1791-9) allegedly the site of the Castle of Inshewan (Warden 1880-85), is situated at the precipitous edge of the river and isolated by a wide, apparently artificial, semi-circular trench.

"The trench is remarkably deep and steep, and from the configuration of the ground the counterscarp is higher than the scarp in the proportion of 25ft to 15ft, where highest, about the middle. Eastward, however, from the natural fall in the landward ground, the height of the counterscarp diminshes rapidly as it curves towards the river, and the entrance ('c' on the plan) is here, close to the stream. The nearly level and pretty regularly oval interior measures about 150' by 100'. A slight banking up of the landward edge may be the remains of a rampart. There are no signs of stonework and no stones lie about" (Christison 1900).

D Christison 1900; A J Warden 1880-85; OSA 1791-9.

The Castle Hill, a motte on an isolated rocky eminence is as described by Christison (1900). The landward trench has been cut through rock, and is 4 to 5m above the level of the river which would seem too considerable a height for it to have formed an early course of the river. This trench is 20 to 30m broad and its base lies about 5.0m below the crest of the Castle Hill and 8 to 10m below the counter scarp.

A modern footpath has been cut round the S and W edges of the hill, and a slight earth bank 0.7m broad and 0.1m high, on the extreme SE edge of the hill, seems to be connected with the formation of this path. No other traces of a bank were noted, nor were any building foundations.

D Christison 1900; Visited by OS (JLD) 18 August 1958.

The Castle Hill (name verified) is an isolated rocky flat-topped "island" of 0.15 hectares bounded on the south and west by the River South Esk and on the north and east by a deep steep-sided ditch.

The ditch, in solid rock, is up to 20.0m wide and 6.5m deep. Its massive proportions suggest that it is the former course of the river than a man-made feature (even though the present river level is 4 to 5m lower). Considerably natural silting now hides any evidence of water erosion and although the rock in its upper level shows many signs of fracture, this could be either natural weathering or artificial steepening.

There is no evidence to suggest that the top of the "island" has been artificially levelled, and there are no traces of stone or building foundations to indicate the site of a castle; the size and situation of the feature, however, suggest that it could have been used as a motte. There is no trace of banking on the east, but a slight bank around the south and west sides is clearly connected with the modern footpath.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (BS) 12 January 1977.


Field Visit (5 September 1956)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, are available to view online - see the searchable PDF in 'Digital Items'. These vary from short notes, to lengthy and full descriptions. Contemporary plane-table surveys and inked drawings, where available, can be viewed online in most cases - see 'Digital Images'. The original typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.


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