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Annan, Mote Of Annan

Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Site Name Annan, Mote Of Annan

Classification Motte And Bailey (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Annan Castle; Moat House; River Annan

Canmore ID 66490

Site Number NY16NE 4

NGR NY 1920 6675

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Annan
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Annandale And Eskdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NY16NE 4 1920 6675

See also under Annan burgh (NY16NE 133).

(NY 1920 6675) Mote (NR)

OS 6" map (1947)

The Mote of Annan was a 12th. century mote-castle. The mote itself is some 50 feet high with a level top measuring 50 feet by 22 feet. A broad trench separates it from the base-court which extends southwards for about 270 feet. The mote and probably the base court, too, was surrounded by a trench on those sides away from the river; but the whole site has been much affected by the formation of the garden in which it stands.

RCAHMS 1920.

This motte and bailey is generally as described above. The level area at the summit of the motte proper is now reduced, caused by a change of course of the River Annan to a ridge-like strip 3.0m broad and 7.0m long. The broad trench separating the motte from the bailey has a depth of 1.5 metres below the level of the bailey.

Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (RDL) 27 February 1963

No change to previous field report.

Visited by OS (JP) 22 February 1973.

See also 'Inventory of Dumfries', 1920, p. 3.


Robert the Bruce's Stone.

Receipt by James Ramie to Mr George Blaire, Clerk of Annan, factor to the Marquess of Annandale, for eighteen pence 'for hewing and laying ane harth of stoune in Richard Grahame of Blackwood's house in Annan where Robert the Bruce's stoune was taken out for the said noble Marques his use'.

13 November 1723 Couchers George Blair's accounts NRA(S) 393 Bundle 168

(Johnstone of Annandale).

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Scheduled as 'Mote of Annan, motte-and-bailey castle, 70m SSW of Moat House... [situated] between the W edge of the town of Annan and the E bank of the River Annan at 10m above sea level.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 19 December 2007.


Field Visit (4 October 1912)

Mote of Annan.

This mote (fig. 9, plan) is in the garden of a villa known as 'Moat House' on the west side of the town of Annan. A low meadow, from which it rises with a steep scarp, intervenes for a distance of 100 yards or thereby between it and the River Annan The mote proper forms the northern extremity of the construction, rising to an elevation of some 50 feet and measuring 22 feet across its level summit by 50 feet length wise. Abroad trench separates it from the base-court, which extends southward for a distance of 270 feet in an irregular oblong, expanding from a breadth of 50 feet at its northern end to 110 feet at the south and rising to an elevation of 60 feet above the meadow on the west and 35 feet above the higher levels on the east and south. The mote has been surrounded on the sides away from the river by a trench, as also probably was the base court, but the lines of the whole construction have been seriously interfered with in the formation of the villa garden. (See Introd., pp. xxxi.-ii.)

RCAHMS 1920, visited 4 October 1912.

OS 6" map, Dumf., 2nd ed, (1900).

Publication Account (1981)

The motte on which the castle was situated is located on the west side of town, near a fording point in the river {Simpson & Webster, 1972,17) providing excellent protection for an attack coming from Galloway. Bishop Pococke in 1760 observed that 'the site of the house of Robert Bruce, grandfather to King Robert I' is the 'most beautiful situation in town' (Kemp, 1887, 34). The matte he described as an oblong square, defended by a deep fosse to the south, and by a double fosse to the north on which side is the keep' (Kemp, 1887, 84). Rising to an elevation of fifty feet,-the motte measures about nine feet across its level summit by twenty-three feet lengthwise (Ordnance Survey, Record Cards, NY 16 NE 4). As early as the mid-twelfth century the river is alleged to have washed away part of the site of the castle (Pryde, 1965, 37), and even since 1920 the level area of the summit of the matte has been reduced as the result of a change in the course of the River Annan (Ordnance Survey, Record Cards, NY 16 NE 4).

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

Note (1997)

NY 1920 6675 NY16NE 4

Listed as motte-and-bailey and medieval pottery.

RCAHMS 1997.


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