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Fast Castle

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Fast Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Fastcastle; Fast Castle Head

Canmore ID 59944

Site Number NT87SE 1

NGR NT 86101 71047

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Coldingham
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

NT87SE 1 86101 71047

(NT 8611 7104) Fast Castle (NR) (Ruins).

OS 6" map, Berwickshire, 2nd ed., (1908).

The remains of Fast Castle stand on a plateau, 88ft x 266ft, a promontory almost surrounded by cliffs falling some 100 to 150 feet. A modern footbridge has replaced the drawbridge which spanned the narrow chasm separating the promontory from the mainland. The plateau was fringed by a curtain wall, of which all that remains is a portion of the tower at the drawbridge entrance. Of the castle itself only a part of the wall forming the north-east corner of 'The Halle' (see W Douglas 1921 plan based on an original made in 1549 - figs.2 and 3) remains, to the height of the corbels.

The first mention of the castle was in 1333, but the first authoritative date is 1404. The walls were levelled soon after 1515 and the castle was rebuilt in 1521.

A A Carr 1836; W Douglas 1921.

Generally as described above, but footings of the range of buildings shown along the NW edge of the promontory on Douglas's plan can also still be seen.

Revised at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 18 February 1966.

A series of excavations have been carried out at Fast Castle between 1975 and 1984 by the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society. Brief reports of their results are given by the authorities quoted.

E Robertson 1975-1982; K L Mitchell 1984; K R Murdoch 1985.

Photographed by the RCAHMS 1980.

RCAHMS AP catalogue 1980.

Architecture Notes

NT87SE 1 86101 71047


Scottish Record Office:

RHP/6075 - photostat copies of plans, Belvoir MS, mid 16th century


Photographic Survey (July 1961 - September 1961)

Photographic survey of Fast Castle, Berwickshire, by the Scottish National Buildings Record in July and September 1961.

Excavation (1971 - 1986)

Excavations at Fast Castle were undertaken by members of Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society over 15 years between 1971 and 1986, and finally reported on in 2001 in the definitive Excavation Report "Fast Castle Excavations 1971-86", by K L Mitchell, K R Murdoch, and J R Ward, and others.

Sbc Note

Visibility: This site has been excavated.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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