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Freswick Castle, Mausoleum

Chapel (Medieval), Mausoleum (18th Century)

Site Name Freswick Castle, Mausoleum

Classification Chapel (Medieval), Mausoleum (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Freswick Mains, Mausoleum; Freswick Mausoleum; Freswick, St Maddens Chapel; Freswick House, Mausoleum

Canmore ID 9303

Site Number ND36NE 9

NGR ND 37735 67127

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

ND36NE 9 37735 67127

For Freswick House (Freswick Castle) and associated buildings, see ND36NE 3.

(ND 3774 6713) Remains of Mausoleum (NAT)

on site of (NAT) Chapel (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

About 1670 Sir William Sinclair erected on the site of a chapel a mausoleum which has been in decay since the 19th century. A vault beneath this is said to have been associated with the old chapel, and human bones have been found in the area of what was presumably the churchyard.

The saint to whom the chapel was dedicated is not known (Watson 1926) but, as Beaton gives the alternative names Moden, Maddon or Medon, and says that the chapel was the scene of 'superstitous rites' on Candlemas Day (2nd February), it seems possible that the saint in question might be the Modan whose day was February 4th.

Name Book 1872; D Beaton 1909; W J Watson 1926; J Mowat 1931.

The mausoleum, now unroofed, and oriented E-W measures 7.4 by 4.7m internally with walls 0.9m thick. The entrance is in the E wall; there are two circular windows in the S, and in the W wall there is what looks like a fireplace. The vault below is still intact though inaccessible (information from Mr Gulloch, Freswick Mains, Canisbay). The area around the mausoleum, ploughed since 1929, revealed no trace of a graveyard. No further information could be obtained about the former chapel or its dedication.

Revised at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (R D) 10 September 1965.

The mausoleum is as described and illustrated by the previous field investigator. The dedication of the former chapel to Modan was known at nearby Freswick House (ND36NE 3).

Visited by OS (J B) 21 July 1982.

Mausoleum, c. 1700. Roofless rectangle, constructed on site of former St Madden's chapel.

E Beaton 1996.


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