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Renfrew, Castlehill Gardens

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Renfrew, Castlehill Gardens

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Canmore ID 44178

Site Number NS56NW 2

NGR NS 5086 6787

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/44178

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 2 5086 6787.

(NS 5086 6787) Castle (NR) (site of)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1973)

Castlehill Gardens mark the spot where the second Renfrew Castle (cf NS56NW 1) was built in the 13th century. It was for a time the chief residence of the Stewards and their successors, and attained Royal status on the accession of Robert II (1371-90) to the throne. It ended its days as a soap works. Within the recollection of many old people living in 1836, there was a deep ditch partially round the site, strengthened with stone on the inner side and having a small stream passing through it. Traces of this ditch remained until about 1775. Several rings and a key were found when part of the foundations was being dug up (New Statistical Account [NSA] 1845).

J A Dunn 1971; Name Book 1856; NSA 1845.

Listed as the site of a possible motte.

G G Simpson, R Webster and G Stell 1970.

NS 5086 6787 A resistivity survey was undertaken of a small area, c 30 x 20m, on the site reputedly occupied by the 13th-century castle in Renfrew (NMRS NS56NW 2). The site, which consists of a grassy mound c 2m high, is surrounded by later buildings. A high-resistance anomaly was located at the NW side of the site just above the break in slope, and may indicate the presence of a wall or similar feature. A test pit to the SW of this anomaly revealed a depth of up to 1.5m of modern infill, while another test pit on the S side located the foundations of a brick-built structure. No structural remains or artefacts were recovered which would indicate that remains of the castle survived in situ.

Sponsors: Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire Local History Forum Archaeology Section.

D Alexander 1996

NS 5086 6787 Trial trenching was undertaken at the site of the 13th-14th-century castle in Renfrew. Desk-based research, geophysical survey and test-pitting (Alexander 1996) suggested that the site had been greatly disturbed. Following dismantling of the castle much of the stone had been removed from the site and used in the construction of a soap works. The site was subsequently built over by Castlehill House and its extensive gardens. Demolition of this structure, its levelling and creation of a playground led to further disturbance, while repeated development on the fringes of the site has gradually removed traces of the original castle mound and ditch. Excavation of three trenches confirmed this disturbance and located the brick-built foundation of the large bay window (recorded on maps and photographs) at the NW corner of Castlehill House. A trench located in the southern part of the park recovered a line of stone paving. In front of and below this stone paving were the remains of either a rubble-filled foundation trench or the rubble core of a wall, the facing stones of which had been robbed. A layer of clay to the S of the stone paving contained sherds of 12th-14th-century cooking vessels. It is possible that these remains represent traces of the royal castle of Renfrew.

Sponsors: Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire Local History Forum Archaeology Section.

D Alexander 1997

Activities

Publication Account (1981)

The original castle of Renfrew is reputed to have stood on the King's Inch. although all traces of it have vanished (Dunn, 1971, 26). James, the fifth Steward, is supposed to have had the second castle built on a piece of rising ground on the west side of the road leading to the ferry. Although the site is still called Castlehill all evidence of building has disappeared. A fosse (ditch) was apparently still visible as late as 1775 (Dunn, 1971, 28). Renfrew Castle, traditionally the birthplace of Robert II, finished its days as an eighteenth-century soap works (Ramsay, 1839, 107).

Information from ‘Historic Renfrew: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1981).

Trial Trench (1997)

NS 5086 6787 Trial trenching was undertaken at the site of the 13th-14th-century castle in Renfrew. Desk-based research, geophysical survey and test-pitting (Alexander 1996) suggested that the site had been greatly disturbed. Following dismantling of the castle much of the stone had been removed from the site and used in the construction of a soap works. The site was subsequently built over by Castlehill House and its extensive gardens. Demolition of this structure, its levelling and creation of a playground led to further disturbance, while repeated development on the fringes of the site has gradually removed traces of the original castle mound and ditch. Excavation of three trenches confirmed this disturbance and located the brick-built foundation of the large bay window (recorded on maps and photographs) at the NW corner of Castlehill House. A trench located in the southern part of the park recovered a line of stone paving. In front of and below this stone paving were the remains of either a rubble-filled foundation trench or the rubble core of a wall, the facing stones of which had been robbed. A layer of clay to the S of the stone paving contained sherds of 12th-14th-century cooking vessels. It is possible that these remains represent traces of the royal castle of Renfrew.

Sponsors: Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire Local History Forum Archaeology Section.

D Alexander 1997

References

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