Aberdeenshire HER - NJ41NE0004 - KILDRUMMY CASTLE

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ41NE0004
NameKILDRUMMY CASTLE
NRHE Card No.NJ41NE4
NRHE Numlink 17109
HES SM No. 90181
HES LB No.
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Incomplete
Details Remains of a castle. One of the few great stone castles of enclosure to have survived in Scotland from the high point of medieval European castle building, it may have been built on the site of an earlier fortification. Its single enclosing curtain wall forms a fairly regular pentagon with towers at angles and gatehouse at point. The castle as first constructed in the 13th century for Alexander II appears to have been a plain polygonal enclosure. This phase is represented by the coursed rubble of the east, west and south curtains. A chapel constructed in the middle of the century breached the curtain wall in order to achieve a true east-west axis. Excavation around the curtain wall at this point revealed that extra defences were built around the projecting chapel. Subsequently the towers, the ashlar plinth of the north curtain and the gatehouse were added. Important early features of the interior include the archers' slits and prison in the Warden's tower (northeast), the adjacent postern gate and portcullis, the great hall against the north curtain, and the massive donjon or Snow Tower in the northwest. Within the cobbled courtyard there are substantial remains of domestic buildings including hall, the chapel and kitchen. Later additions include the Elphinstone tower, a 16th century tower house at the west end of the hall and the bakehouse complex in the southeast. The castle suffered several sieges and burnings, notably in 1306 when Sir Nigel Bruce (brother of King Robert) held it against the young Prince Edward of Caernarvon. A central point in the great Earldom of Mar, it was restored, besieged again in 1335 by Balliol forces, burnt in 1530, captured by Cromwell in 1654, and became the headquarters of the Earl of Mar's Jacobite rising of 1715, after which it was dismantled. A watching brief carried out by Kirkdale Archaeology in 2014 during installation of nine survey markers recorded no features or finds of archaeological significance. A watching brief was carried out by CFA in April 2018 during installation of new information boards, but no archaeological features or artefacts were recorded. Twenty-two masons' marks, of 16 different masons, have been recorded at the castle by the Masons' Marks Project. A further seven marks, of three masons, were recorded at the Watergate, a well chamber outside the curtain wall reached by what had been a passage leading from the postern gate to the north wall.
Last Update04/08/2021
Updated Bycpalmer
Compiler 
Date of Compilation 

Easting: 345510.553121957, Northing: 816375.173245172

Google Map for NJ41NE0004

National Grid Reference: NJ 4551 1637



Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
1919 Excavation
1938 Excavation
1952 Excavation
2014 Watching-Brief kirkdale1-279196
2018 Watching-Brief cfaarcha1-213282

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
71919 60WD SIMPSON   
 1938  WD SIMPSON SAS 
 1952  MR APTEDMOWMOW 

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
00 BRASS SPUR CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
00 IRON SPUR CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
00 BRASS BROOCH CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
00 IRON ARROWHEAD CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
00 HARNESS BOSS CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
00 PERFORATED STONE DISC CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
00 CHARLES II TURNER CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
00 CANDLE SNUFFER Stray Find National Museum of Scotland MG 56
01952 MEDIEVAL POTTERY MRA Excavation  
01952 WORKED FLINT MRA Excavation  
01952 CRUCIBLE FRAGMENT MRA Excavation  
01952 BONE SPOON BOWL MRA Excavation  
01952 BONE TOGGLE MRA Excavation  
01952 BONE KNIFE HANDLE MRA Excavation  
01952 BRONZE PIN MRA Excavation  
01952 STEATITE BEAD MRA Excavation  
01919 MEDIEVAL GLASS WDS Excavation Aberdeen University Museums  
01919 IRON NAILS WDS Excavation Aberdeen University Museums  
01952 FLINT ARROWHEAD MRA Excavation  
01952 LEAD CLIPPINGS MRA Excavation  
01952 WORKED FLINT MRA Excavation  
00 DECORATED MOUNT CO Stray Find Aberdeen University Museums  
01952 GILDED FERRULE MRA Excavation  
01952 CRUCIBLE FRAGMENT MRA Excavation  
01952 BRONZE PIN MRA Excavation  
01952 PENNY HENRY III MRA Excavation  
01952 HARDHEAD MRA Excavation  
01952 TURNER CHARLES I MRA Excavation  
01952 TURNER CHARLES II MRA Excavation  
01952 BAWBEE CHARLES II MRA Excavation  
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Ecofact

Samples
Palynology
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability
CASTLES REMAINS OFA100
WALLSCURTAIN B100
TOWERSROUND C100
COURTYARDS COBBLEDD100
GATE-HOUSES REMAINS OFE100
DITCHESDEFENSIVE F100
DRAW-BRIDGES SITE OFG100
PITSDRAWBRIDGE H100
HALLS REMAINS OFI100
CHAPELS REMAINS OFJ100
GATESPOSTERN K100
WINDOWSLANCET L100
SLOTSPORTCULLIS M100
STAIRCASESNEWEL N100
WELLS  O100
GARDEROBES  P100
TRANCE-GATES  Q100
SALLY-PORTS  R100
DRAINSSTONE S100
POTTERYSHERD T100
BONES HORSEU100
BONES OXV100
BONES SHEEPW100
BONES PIGX100
BONES DOGY100
BONES CATZ100
BONES ROE DEERAA100
BONES RED DEERAB100
NAILSIRON AC100
FRAGMENTSGLASS AD100
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