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Randerston Castle

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Randerston Castle

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Randalstown; Randerson

Canmore ID 35367

Site Number NO61SW 4

NGR NO 61790 10900

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NO61SW 4 61790 10900

(Name: NO 6192 1094) Randerston Castle (NAT)

OS 6" map (1938).

See also NO61SW 5 and NO61SW 42

The castle of Randerston, mentioned in 1528 (C Rodgers 1877) stood on the shore, over 1/2 mile E of the late 16th century Randerston House (NO61SW 5) which superseded it. The lands of 'Randalstown' are recorded in 1429, and the 'tower, fortalice and manor-place' in the 1663 (Reg Magni Sig Reg Scot).


No trace of a castle was seen in the area. The name 'Randerston Castle' on OS 6" refers to a natural rock feature on the shore (Name Book 1854).

Visited by OS (WDJ) 3 September 1968

NO 617 109. Air photographs reveal cropmarks of three concentric ditches, the innermost of which is markedly broader than the other two, drawn across the neck of a short, blunt promontory. This change in construction could represent a strengthening of the defences of an Iron Age fort, but as a castle is attested here (RCAHMS) it seems more

likely that in this case a prehistoric site has been modified for re-use in or before the early 16th century.

H Welfare 1980.

Site recorded by Maritime Fife during the Coastal Assessment Survey for Historic Scotland, Fife Ness to Newburgh 1996.


Note (10 July 2015 - 19 October 2016)

The site of this fortification occupies the precipitous coastal promontory named Randerstone Castle on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Fife 1855, sheet 13), a name that has become associated in the locality with the site of the 'castle' that was replaced in the late 16th by the present farmhouse at Randerston steading (RCAHMS 1933, 177, no.356). Whether there is any truth in this attribution is unclear, but the ditch-system revealed by the cropmarks barring access to the promontory from the SW probably represents two periods of construction, and the innermost ditch, which is some 10m in breadth and almost certainly represents the final phase of the defences, was certainly of sufficient stature to have been the ditch of a medieval castle. If so this was a major castle, not simply a tower-house, and considerably more important than the available documentation might suggest, enclosing an area measuring about 95m from NW to SE by 75m transversely (0.53ha). The position of the entrance is not visible, the only feature within the interior being what is probably the faint scar of an internal rampart 10m thick immediately to the rear of the ditch, the presence of which reduces the interior to about (0.41ha). At first sight this ditch is accompanied by two concentric outer ditches, but on closer inspection it is clear that towards the NW the inner of these two merges with the broad innermost ditch, and an additional external ditch has been added to the exterior. Unfortunately the detail of the junction is distorted by a natural feature that extends obliquely across the defences at this point, but a faint nick where the outer lips of the two ditches come together suggests that the innermost cuts across the outer line, having been dug in the southern sector to the rear of what was probably originally the inner rampart of an essentially bivallate work, with an additional outer rampart and ditch on the W; the interior probably measured about 0.62ha in extent and again the position of the entrance is not known.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 19 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3174


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