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Kincardine Castle

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Kincardine Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Canmore ID 36061

Site Number NO67NE 10

NGR NO 67124 75109

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Fordoun
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Kincardine And Deeside
  • Former County Kincardineshire

Archaeology Notes

NO67NE 10.00 67124 75109

NO67NE 10.01 66 77 to 66 78 Royal (King's) Deer Park

(NO 6710 7510) Kincardine Castle (NR) (remains of)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1977)

The remains of Kincardine Castle, of simple curtain wall type, stand on a natural, wooded hillock formerly surrounded by marsh which would make any outworks superfluous, although the site is said to be terraced in front with indications of a drawbridge and moat (Watt 1914).

Now 5 to 6ft in maximum height, the remains reveal a quadrangular plan fully 130ft square with rectangular gate-towers on the S and a thick outer wall with sloping plinth. Remains of apartments lie round three sides of the interior.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; J C Watt 1914.

Kincardine Castle is generally as described by MacGibbon and Ross (1887-92), but now greatly obscured by vegetation. Outside the castle in the E and S is a scarp, which could be the remains of an original defence, mutilated by trees and a now overgrown 19th century track, surrounding the castle. This is undoubtedly the terrace described by Watt. His drawbridge is probably the access way to the above track and a hollow immediately to the E of it, fronting the scarp, gives the impression of the remains of a ditch.

Revised at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (ISS) 13 August 1971.

The royal castle of Kincardine, probably built for Alexander II in the years between 1217 and 1227, is situated on a bluff 100m NE of Castleton of Kincardine farmhouse. It measures about 35m square within a heavily robbed curtain wall 2.4m in thickness; the main entrance is on the S (where there is a gatehouse), with a postern on the N, and there are ranges of buildings on the N, E and S sides.

RCAHMS 1982; J G Dunbar and A A M Duncan 1971.


Scottish Castle Survey 1988; N Bogdan and I B D Bryce 1991.


Excavation (3 July 2013 - 15 July 2013)

NO 671 751 Excavations were carried out, 3–15 July 2013, as part of the Scottish Medieval Deer Parks project, and involved the opening of a trench in a room on the E side of the S entrance into the castle. The trench exposed mortar-bonded wall faces up to 0.75m high and located a roughly-laid stone floor below layers of demolition material, which produced pieces of pig and cattle bone. A small sherd of ceramic (possibly a mould) was also recovered from the floor surface. A piece of pig bone from demolition material above the stone floor was radiocarbon dated to 885 +/- 34 BP which calibrates at AD 1040 to 1220 at 95.4% probability.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Kevin Malloy, University of Wyoming

Derek Hall, 2013

(Source: DES)


NO 67124 75109 A programme of landscape, buildings and

materials analysis is being carried out at Kincardine Castle

within the framework of this project. Buildings analysis of

the fragmentary remains of Kincardine Castle identified high

kiln relict concentrations within the constructional masonry

mortar of the structure’s curtain wall, and highlighted the

potential for further lab-based analysis of these materials

to inform our understanding of the building’s construction

and chronology. A sampling programme was subsequently

undertaken, and the assemblage ultimately included 13 fuel

relict inclusions and 3 mortar fragments from in situ and

loose contexts.

Lab-based analysis of the Kincardine Castle assemblage

included thick and thin section microscopic analysis of

one mortar sample. These analyses confirmed that the

constructional mortar was a wood-fired limestone-lime,

tempered with a lithic aggregate, and suggested that the

limestone had been sourced from a local metamorphic

outcrop. Microscopic analysis of the fuel assemblage

confirmed the assemblage was dominated by wood-charcoal

of mixed taxonomies.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: University of Stirling and Historic Environment Scotland


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