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Kilsyth Castle

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Kilsyth Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Canmore ID 45873

Site Number NS77NW 1

NGR NS 7173 7865

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council North Lanarkshire
  • Parish Kilsyth (North Lanarkshire)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cumbernauld And Kilsyth
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS77NW 1.00 7173 7865

NS77NW 1.01 NS 7173 7865 Roman Altar

(NS 7173 7865) Kilsyth Castle (NR) (site of)

OS 6" map (1968)

All that now remains of Kilsyth Castle is a fragment of walling which lies in the corner of a field. The plan of the building is not now discernible, but the walls appear to have been about 6' thick. About 20 yds SW, in the vicinity of a prominent rock outcrop, some further fragments of masonry can be seen, but it is uncertain whether these are to be associated with the castle or not.

The castle, which appears to have been a residence of the Livingstones of Kilsyth, is stated by Groome to have been strengthened and garrisoned by Cromwell in 1650; Livingstone and Anderson state that it was destroyed by Cromwell's troops. The latter would appear the more likely, the Livingstones being a Royalist family.

RCAHMS 1963, visited 1960; F H Groome 1883; R Anderson 1902; E B Livingstone 1920

There are no indications as to the exact site of the castle. The fragment of fallen walling still survives, and traces of wall footings exist about 20m SW of it.

Visited by OS (JP) 17 January 1974

NS 717 786. The site lies in two fields N of Kilsyth bordering on the Kilsyth-Allanfaulds Road. Some fragments of masonry were noted in the Inventory (RCAHMS 1963). As the S field was required for private housing, excavation took place during August and September. A rocky outcrop at the N end of the field projected from a largish elongated mound which proved to be composed of masonry rubble to a depth of 3m over castle foundations, averaging 1.5m high. The earliest foundations were of a small L-plan tower of circa 1500, on a N-S axis, over-riding the rock. This had a double garderobe shaft on its W re-entrant. The short W wing projected from the S end and contained a postern doorway, the main door being to the N at first floor or rock level. This wing was part demolished and considerably enlarged in 1605, according to a dated sill recovered from the debris. Associated with these structures was a courtyard wall running N towards another buulding in the adjoining field, and a further wall to the E, ending at the Garrell Burn. A drainage system vented W to a hollow, a former quarry disused since 1825.

Worked stones from the Castle site included a quantity of door, window and fireplace jambs and the left half of an arched broken pediment. Artefacts were a nearly-whole pot and many sherds of green glaze ware, a bronze spoon, a coin of Charles I. the basket hilt of a broadsword and other items. The hilt and spoon are presently in Kelvingrove (Museum), the coin and pot in the Hunterian. The worked stones are at Kilsyth, the rest at Castle Cary. The report will be published by the District Council.

H B Millar (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District Council), 1976

NS 717 786 The remains of Kilsyth Castle (NS77NW 1) were recorded and drawn. These consist mainly of several walls up to 1m high, one of which has its original plaster rendering. The building, formerly home to the Livingston family, was destroyed by Cromwell in 1650 and subsequently partially quarried in the 19th century.

Sponsor: Kilsyth Academy Field Archaeology Group.

K Anderson, R Bell, L Carberry, E Derrick, K Maginnis, E Mead and D MacInnes 2002.


Publication Account (2006)

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Livingstons seem to have built a new residence. Fragments of Kilsyth Castle (NS 7173 7865) (fig 3) survive on the north side of the burgh at Allanfauld. Archaeological excavation has shown that the castle was originally built c 1500 as an L-shaped tower. Its short west wing had been considerably enlarged in 1605, according to a dated sill stone recovered from the debris. The castle is clearly depicted on the late sixteenth-century manuscript map of Stirlingshire by Timothy Pont. It shows an L-shaped tower with adjacent wing surrounded by a barmkin wall and within enclosed wooded parkland (fig 4). The property was destroyed during the English invasion of 1650. It remains, up to 1m high in places, can still be seen on the west side of Allanfauld Road, South of Allanfauld Farm (NS 7173 7865).

Information from ‘The Scottish Burgh Survey, Historic Kilsyth: Archaeology and Development’ (2006).


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