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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNO56NE0008
NRHE Card No.NO56NE8
NRHE Numlink 34996
HES SM No. 90136
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Incomplete
Details Remains of a castle. The ruin of a courtyard castle with a large Pleasance or walled garden. The oldest part is Stirling's Tower (said to take its name from the Stirlings of Glenesk, allegedly its builders and occupiers, but since the tower is 16th century and the property passed from the Stirlings to the Lindsays about 1357, this is impossible), a 16th century L plan tower house at the southwest angle of the court. It has 3 storeys, a basement and an attic with a corbelled parapet walk with defensive rounds at the corner angles and additional half rounds at each front. Wide splayed gunloops are at basement level on all sides. The tower house is constructed of red freestone coursed rubble. In the late 16th century a large L shaped range, three storeys high and now very ruinous and a large courtyard were added, with pend to the court in the west range and a hall in the north with a circular northwest tower having a circular stair turret in the northeast angle. This is an unfinished courtyard mansion. The castle was gutted in 1764. The Pleasance, a large rectangular garden, laid out to the south of the castle was added in 1604. It has a summer house at the east angle which is still roofed and in use and the remains of a bath house (reduced to foundations) at the west. These features are elaborately finished, the walls have coped tops with niched features, and divided into compartments by pilasters. The wall is decorated further, the treatment of compartments alternates between a chequer of flower boxes (having heraldic significance) and a large recess for flower box with vesica panels above. These latter have sculpture representing Planetary Deities, the Liberal Arts and the Cardinal Virtues, based on German engravings by Meister I.B. (thought to be Durer's pupil Iorg Bentz) published in 1528. The panels are mostly complete, the Liberal Art of Astronomy being missing. The formal planting in the garden dates to the 1930s, excavations preceding this found only hints of a central feature. The garden house is a 2-storey building with a circular stair tower and vaulted ground floor, the west compartment being groined. It has a stone slab roof and houses a collection of stone fragments and has the only remaining decorated wood panelling in the castle. The ruins of the bath house, an unusual feature, were uncovered by excavation in 1855. Three rooms were revealed and a well in the garden supplied water to it and to the garden. A watching brief was carried out by Kirkdale Archaeology in November 2011 during removal of an expansion joint added in the 1980s to the concrete first floor of the west range to prevent cracking: nothing other than the concrete was disturbed. A number of carved stones at the castle were assessed in 2013. Two of the more elaborate stones are worked with ornament typical of the 17th century, one closely resembling a stone in situ in the castle courtyard forming part of an elaborate door jamb. The seven panels of Celestial Deities in the summerhouse of early 17th century date have been moved there from the walled garden to prevent further deterioration with replicas now set in the garden wall. A total of 91 mason marks, of 22 different masons, have been recorded at the castle.
Last Update04/08/2021
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation 

Google Map for NO56NE0008

National Grid Reference: NO 5846 6909

Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
2011 Watching-Brief kirkdale1-310846

Excavations and Surveys

Artefact and Ecofact


Ecofact Notes

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