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Bucholly Castle

Castle (Medieval), Field Boundary(S) (Period Unassigned), Midden (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval) - (Post Medieval)

Site Name Bucholly Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval), Field Boundary(S) (Period Unassigned), Midden (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval) - (Post Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Bucholie, Can 078

Canmore ID 9301

Site Number ND36NE 7

NGR ND 3821 6583

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 Highland
  • Parish Canisbay
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND36NE 7 3821 6583.

(ND 3821 6583) Bucholly Castle (NR) (remains of)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

Buchollie (Mowat 1931) or Bucholie (RCAHMS; MacGibbon and Ross) Castle: This castle, dating from the period 1400 - 1542, stands on a peninsula 100ft high, cut off from land by a trench 7ft wide and 9ft deep.

The keep which rose from the edge of this trench measured only 14 by 20ft over all. Only the W wall, standing 30ft high, and a part of the S wall remain. The walls of the vaulted basement are 4ft thick, but on the floors above, only about 2 1/2ft.

An entrance passage 4 1/2ft wide gave access to a long narrow courtyard, flanked by buildings mostly bonded with clay.

An extensive kitchen midden lies along the cliff-top to seaward. The castle was formerly known as Freswick. The property belonged to the Mowats from the time of Robert I (1306-29) until 1661, when it passed to the Sinclairs.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; J Mowat 1931.

Bucholly Castle (the locally accepted spelling) is as described and planned by the previous authorities. The buildings on the W side of the courtyard survive as grass-covered walling about 1.3m high. The kitchen midden is no longer visible.

Revised at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (R D) 9 September 1965.

Seven small fragments of brownish unglazed pottery from a refuse heap at Bucholly Castle were donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS) by A O Curle.

Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1911

Midden deposit sampled. Erosion is extreme on all sides of the castle.

C E Batey 1982.

Bucholie Castle has been identified with 'Lamba-borg' mentioned about 1143 in the Orkneyinga Saga. This would imply an earlier castle on the site. (But see also ND36NE 1.)

R G Lamb 1980

Bucholly Castle is as described and illustrated. The surviving lower foundations are covered by thick vegetation.

Visited by OS (J B) 12 August 1982.


Project (1980 - 1982)

Field Visit (1982)

Midden deposit sampled. Erosion is extreme on all sides of the castle.

C E Batey 1982.


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