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Renfrew, King's Inch

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Renfrew, King's Inch

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Canmore ID 44167

Site Number NS56NW 1

NGR NS 5134 6748

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/44167

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Renfrewshire
  • Parish Renfrew (Renfrew)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Renfrew
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS56NW 1 5134 6748.

See also NS56NW 454

(NS 5134 6748) Castle (NR) (site of)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1973)

The original castle at Renfrew was built in the 12th century by Walter Fitz-Alan, High Steward of Scotland, on the King's Inch. It was mainly built of wood with stone foundations, and was replaced, in the 13th century by the castle described on NS56NW 2. In the latter half of the 15th century, Sir John Ross (died about 1474) was granted the lands of Inch with the ruins of this castle, upon which he built a three-storeyed castle known as the Inch Castle. The last Ross to occupy this castle died there in 1732. In 1760, the King's Inch was purchased by Mr Andrew Spiers of Elderslie. Dunn states that he built another castle there, which he had demolished a few years later. Other authorities imply that it was the Ross's castle (which may simply have been repaired by Speirs) which was demolished when he had Elderslie House built a short distance N, in 1777. (see plan with NS56NW 2) Elderslie House was itself demolished in 1924.

J A Dunn 1971; New Statistical Account (NSA) 1845; Name Book 1856; G Crawford and W Semple 1782.

There are no visible signs of any remains of this castle or of Elderslie House.

Visited by OS (WMJ) 3 September 1951.

There is clear evidence of medieval activity in the area of the former island of King's Inch, where archaeological potential is rated as high. The site of the 12th-century castle lies to the S of the power station complex. It would appear that at least two castles have ocupied this general location, the first built in the reign of David I (1124-1153) most probably constructed for Walter the High Steward (Metcalfe, 1905). This castle was built of timber with stone foundations and may have been a motte (Simpson, Webster and Stell, 1970). It was superseded in the 15th century by the construction of Inch Castle by Sir John Ross in the same location. Although Dunn states (supra) that a third castle on the site was constructed by Andrew Speirs, this seems unlikely. It may be that the Ross castle was merely repaired by him, prior to the construction of Elderslie House. Inspection of the cartographic evidence indicates confusion over the exact location of the castles which have blended ionto one site whose location differs depending on what edition Ordnance Survey map is utilised. Three locations are recorded: NS 5134 6748 (supra); NS 5135 6751 (Strathclyde Regional Council SMR); NS 5127 6765 (OS 1st edition, 1856).

J A Atkinson 1994f; NMRS MS/725/79.

Field assessment in advance of development on and around the site of Braehead power station, on ground that was formerly the Elderslie Estate. Undertaken by Guard.

(a) Inch Castle. Documentary research had resulted in three possible sites for the remains of Inch Castle (NS 5134 6748- NMRS; NS 5135 6751- SMR; NS 5127 6765- OS). Extensive machining resulted in no building remains being located at any of the locations.

Sponsor: Environmental Sciences Unit.

J Atkinson and K Speller 1995.

NS 514 675 A watching brief was carried out during the groundwork phase of the development of Braehead southern sites due to the putative locations of Kings Inch Castle (NS56NW 1) and Elderslie House (NS56NW 42). During the later stages of these works building remains were uncovered at the presumed location of Elderslie House. Excavation was carried out over the building remains, revealing the floor plan of Elderslie House. A programme of targeted evaluation was also undertaken in order to locate any remains that may be associated with Inch Castle. The evaluation failed to identify any archaeological remains. However, excavation of the building remains of Elderslie House located structural features that may be interpreted as those of 15th-century Inch Castle.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Braehead Park Estates Ltd.

E Hindmarch 2005

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