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Mugdock Castle

Castle (Medieval), Chapel (16th Century), Tower (14th Century)

Site Name Mugdock Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval), Chapel (16th Century), Tower (14th Century)

Canmore ID 44471

Site Number NS57NW 9

NGR NS 54993 77166

NGR Description Centred NS 54993 77166

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Stirling
  • Parish Strathblane (Stirling)
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Stirling
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS57NW 9 54979 77190

(NS 5498 7718) Mugdock Castle (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map, (1958)

The fragmentary remains of Mugdock Castle occupy the summit of a plateau; enough remains to show that the site was extensively developed by a succession of buildings which suggest an almost constant occupation from the 14th to the beginning of the 20th century, the last phase being the construction of a mansion, with outhouses and gardens, in the courtyard, in 1875. The original castle is of the courtyard type; from the extent and massiveness both of the original walls and also of the later additions, Mugdock would appear to have been of great strength and importance during, at least, the earlier part of its history. The sequence of constructional phases is shown by RCAHMS plan (1963).

Of the original design of the 14th century there remain two towers on the W side of a courtyard and part of a gatehouse, on the S side, mutually connected by a high curtain-wall. A small-scale excavation was carried out by the RCAHMS in 1958 with the object of tracing the extent of the remaining portion of the enceinte; the excavation trenches are shown on the plan, and the existing masonry, where found, is indicated. At some time in the 15th century, the castle was greatly enlarged by the erection of another high curtain- wall, founded on the rocky lip of the summit area, to enclose another and much larger courtyard area, within which were probably lean-to chambers and offices, built against the inner face, as is indicated by gun-loops and chutes here and there in the walling. The full E-W extent of this courtyard at its N end appears to have been about 300', the line of the curtain having been proved by excavation in 1958; the S portion of the E curtain, however, has disappeared and its line is uncertain. From the gatehouse on the S to the extreme N margin of the courtyard, where a later chapel has been erected, possibly during the first half of the 16th century, the length is c.400'. A range of 16th century offices and outbuildings occupies the SW angle of the courtyard, where also there are still later stables and outbuildings.

RCAHMS 1963, visited 1958; J G Smith 1886.

Mugdock Castle is as described, planned and illustrated by the RCAHMS, except that the footings of the N curtain wall of the 14th century castle are no longer evident.

Earthworks re-surveyed at 1:2500.

The modern mansion and 16th century offices and out-buildings have recently been gutted by fire.

Visited by OS (E G C) 31 August 1966.

NS 549 771 This 14th century courtyard castle was greatly enlarged in the 15th century and has been the subject of additions and alterations extending into the late 19th century.

RCAHMS 1979, visited August 1978


Two short excavations undertaken prior to restoration work to north-west tower involved clearance at first floor level. Following the insertion of a vault into the ground floor of the original 14th Century tower, the first floor was converted to kitchen use. The remains of a fireplace arch probably re-using earlier masonry. Slope chute in north wall. Area of original hearth intact in north-west corner comprised small rounded stones of burnt sandstone. Considerable quantity of animal bones (many butchered), clay pipe fragments, and late Medieval pottery. A turner of Charles II was recovered from the spoil tip. The north curtain wall was traced at its junction with the north-east tower where it was established at 1.45m wide. Evidence of inner cobbled courtyard.

L Main 1986.

NS 5550 7715 A watching brief was undertaken as part of the Scheduled Monument Consent on the excavation of two post-holes west dunbartonshire/west lothian/western isles being dug for the erection of a signboard at Mugdock Castle (NMRS NS57NW 9). A short length of a substantial wall running approximately N-S, constructed immediately on bedrock, was found in one of the holes.

Sponsor: Stirling Council.

L Main 1999

Architecture Notes


ARCHITECT: Campbell Douglas & Sellars 1875 (Rebuilt).

Statfile copies in NMRS of WATSON SALMOND GRAY COLLECTION, Glasgow.

13 plans from office of Cambell Douglas & Sellars for restoration of castle (1874-1894).

Nos 2-7 (STD/110/2-7) apparently for an early scheme which would have placed the house further West to form a courtyard in front of the existing tower and utilised the existing portcullis as the front door & outer wall of the Hall of the new house.

A sketch plan (of 1894) No 12 relates to the House as executed.

NMRS Excavation notes, 1958 (J G Dunbar) - notebook (see manuscripts)


Scottish Record Office

Building work at the House of Mugdock.

Payment of £200 for stone work.

Paymentof £36 for 22 window cases.

Payment fo £46.18.8 to William Reid for iron work.


1698 GD 220/6/5/ Page 110

A report on the ruinous condition of the houses includes the information that the Chapel and Stables are roofless.

A great deal of money will be required for repairs.

Letter from Mungo Graham of Gorthie to the Duke of Montrose.

GD 220/5/814/4

Payments to tradesmen for work wrought at Mugdock.

Mason: George Kirk.

Wright: James Graham.

Slater: John Smith.

Cash Book.

1715-1716 GD 220/6/28/Page 69-70

Slater work at the House of Mugdock.

Payment of £73.13.4 (Scots) to John Smith, slater in Glasgow.

Cash Book.

1722 GD 220/6/11/Page 34 and GD 220/6/30/Page 509

Repair of the Court Hall at Mugdock.

Payments to masons, wrights and barrowmen.

Cash Books.

1723 GD 220/6/11/Page 34 and GD 220/6/30/Page 509

Repair to the House of Mugdock.

Payment of £70.1.0 (Scots)

Cash Book.

1733 GD 220/6/32/Page 659

Fitting up of the Court Hall at Mugdock. Payment of £43.4.0 (Scots) to Robert Main, Wright, for fitting up the Court Hall for the trial fo David Din for wilful fire raising.

Cash Book.

1736 GD 220/6/32/Page 698

Repair of the House of Mugdock.

Payment of £106.12.0 (Scots) for repair work.

Cash Book.

1739 GD 220/6/32/Page 739

Repair of the House and Offices at Mugdock and roofing and repair of the Tower of Mugdock.

Payment of £127.6.0 to Alexander Gowan.

Factor's Account Book.

1763 GD 220/6/50

Plaster and stucco work for Mugdock Castle.

Payment of £7.14.5 to A Mason.

Factor's Account Book.

1830 GD 220/6/56

Mason work at Mugdock Castle. Payment of £51.11.3, part of which is due to John Scott, Mason, for this work.

Cash Book.

1847 GD 220/6/37

Mason and Wright work at Mugdock Castle.

Payments to John Scott, Mason and Alexander McLachlan, Wright.

Cash Book.

1858 GD 220/6/41

Threat of damage to the House and Fortalice.

George Buchanan of that ilk is 'to enter house and fortalice of Mugdock

and to intromitt with canon powder, ball, match and other warlike furniture therein for the use of the public,

and for this effect to break down the iron yetts or any other strong yetts......'.

Extract act.

1644 GD 220/6/1915/2-6

Wright and glass work wrought at Mugdock [Castle]

Receipted account from John Aikenhead, Wright.

1677 GD 220/6/750/19

Repair of the House of Mugdock [Castle].

Payments for mason, wright and slater work.

1739 GD 220/6/736/15

Repair of Mugdock Castle.

Receipted for sumes sepnt 1749-1755, £8.13.7.

1757 GD 220/6/1492/10

Repair of the Castle of Mugdock.

Estimate from Alexander Gowan of £88.4.5.

The estimate includes taking out the 'burst out' place of the Tower and building it up in a sufficient manner, roofing the

East side of the Court with old oak and slates, levelling the walls for the roof, making up the gavels and chimney heads and taking down the staircase walls to prepare them properly for the roof.

1763 GD 220/6/1506/44

Mugdock. Repair of the Tower of Mugdock with a bartizan and parapet wall.

Estimate from Alexander Gowan of £45.12.0

1763 GD 220/6/1506/46

Mugdock. Repair of the Tower of Mugdock.

Memorandum of 1763.

Receipted by Alexander Gowan in 1765.

1763 GD 220/6/1506/45

Repair of the Court Hall at Mugdock.

Payments to masons, wrights and barrowmen for building the gable and repairing the roof.


1723 GD 220/6/720/3-6

Fitting up of the Court Hall at Mugdock for the trial of David Dinn in Creinzet for wilful fire raising.

Account due to Robert Main, wright.


1736 GD 220/6/732/13

NS57NW 9.01 54986 77152 SW Tower

NS57NW 9.02 54993 77175 NW Tower

NS57NW 9.03 54969 77170 Stable and Byre

NS57NE 85 55010 77152 Mansion House

NS57nE 86 55025 77256 Remains of Chapel


Excavation (1958)


A short excavation was conducted by Messrs J. G. Dunbar and G. D. Hay at Mugdock Castle in order to determine the full extent of the inner and outer baileys.

The line of the outer bailey was confirmed at its NE. angle, while in the inner bailey some traces were found both of the N. curtain wall and of the E. part of the S. curtain.

DES 1958, 40


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