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Cruggleton Castle

Castle (Medieval), Motte (Medieval), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Cruggleton Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval), Motte (Medieval), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 63254

Site Number NX44SE 4

NGR NX 48427 42816

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Sorbie
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Wigtownshire

Archaeology Notes

NX44SE 4 48427 42816

(NX 4842 4281) Cruggleton Castle (NR)

(Remains of)

OS 6" map (1957)

Cruggleton Castle occupies a very strong site on a promontory bounded by cliffs. To the W, landward, side a semi-circular ditch 36' wide by 7' deep - and an earthen bank, according to Radford, running between the cliff edges, encloses a level bailey. Truckell states that the motte structure, of 12th century date, was followed by a castle c 1260, strengthened in the 1280s, and thereafter occupied until at least the late 16th century. The castle was built on a rock, rising 30' above the surrounding ground, the summit defended by a wall enclosing an area 85' E-W by 80' N-S. The only portion of the building remaining is some 6' of barrel-vaulted apartment running N-S, at the S end of the site. To the N of the enclosure, there appears to have been a building, 20' square, with another building, c 23' x 25' to the NW.

Cruggleton Castle, the residence of the Lords of Galloway, is said to have at least 8 towers. Symson, writing in 1684 (W Macfarlane 1907), describes the castle as "wholly demolished and ruinous."

W Macfarlane 1907; RCAHMS 1912, visited 1912; C A R Radford 1951; A E Truckell and J Williams 1967.

The remains of a motte and bailey, followed by a stone castle. The bailey measures internally 172,0m NE-SW by 72.5m NW-SE. The entrance is by a causeway 4.0m wide across the ditch in the SW. The motte, standing in the SE corner of the bailey, measures 31.0m E-W by 29.0m N-S and stands to a height of 4.5m. Probably no original features remain, two small rectangular scoops on the N slope of the motte being structures associated with the castle, which is as described.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (DWR) 26 January 1973

Excavation has revealed the following sequence:

Phase 1 (1st c AD) timber built round house.

Phase 2 (mid 8th-late 12C) small timber built hall with palisade.

Phase 3 (late 12th-2nd half 13thC) timber built hall and tower upon motte.

Phase 4 (late 13th-2nd half 15thC) stone curtain wall, tower and mural structures.

Phase 5 (2nd half 15th-early 17thC) tower house, curtain wall and mural structures.

Phase 6 (early-mid 17thC) tower house, curtain wall and extended mural structures.

G Ewart 1985.


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