Aberdeenshire HER - NJ54SW0007 - HUNTLY CASTLE

Print site NJ54SW0007 Feedback on site NJ54SW0007

Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ54SW0007
NameHUNTLY CASTLE
NRHE Card No.NJ54SW9
NRHE Numlink 17886
HES SM No. 90165
HES LB No.
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Incomplete
Details Remains of castles. Over the centuries, three have guarded the crossing of the Deveron at its confluence with the Bogie. The motte is all that survives of the original 12th century motte and bailey castle, named the Peel of Strathbogie, which lies immediately to the West of its early 15th Century stone-built successor. The 15th Century castle, built in the bailey of the first castle, was an L-plan towerhouse, of which only the basement of 1450-60 survives. In the 1550s the castle was remodelled and a grand palace-plan castle was added in 16th Century with further work in the early to mid 17th Century. The stone-built castle is now a ruin. The main entrance into the palace has been described as one of the 'most splendid heraldic doorways in the British Isles'. There are also some magnificent carved chimneypieces. A splendid range of oriel windows runs along the top storey of the main block and is carried round the projecting tower. The buildings around the courtyard are mainly offices dating from the 16th and 17th Century, with a brewhouse and bakehouse. The east range, with stables, was built in 17th Century. The grassy mound beyond the east front of the castle was constructed during the Civil War as a ravelin, a detached artillery fortification surrounded by its own ditch. A watching brief was carried out by Scotia Archaeology in 1996 during the demolition of a stone stairway and the excavation of a concrete ramp to replace it. The trench, measuring 18m east-west, 1.5m wide and 1m deep was located at the west end of an artificial terrace outside the palace block on the south side of the castle. Below a gravel path was a uniform layer of sandy loam which continued below the depth of excavation. No features or finds of archaeological interest were found. A rectangular area measuring 6 x 1m was investigated by Kirkdale Archaeology in 1997 to the north of the castle sales point. A wall was built against the southwest tower and although it may be possible that the upper part was a rebuild on an earlier line, the upper part at least post-dated the main 16th century works. An earlier clay bonded wall was also recorded, although whether this dates to the motte period is unclear. A watching brief was carried out by Kirkdale Archaeology in May 2014 during excavation of four small trenches to replace information boards. The deposits recorded suggest a major revision of ground levels along the east courtyard, potentially associated with the remodelling works of the 17th century. A watching brief was carried out in June 2014 by Kirkdale Archaeology during excavation of two small trenches for a new handrail in an area thought to have been occupied by the 12th century bailey revealed some features (not excavated) believed to be associated with the bailey. There was also evidence of an infilled ditch and features associated with the foundations of the west wall of the west range, thought to have been constructed in the 15th or 16th century. A watching brief carried out by Kirkdale archaeology in December 2014 during excavation of test trenches for siting of a septic tank to the north of the castle recorded no finds or features of archaeological significance. Standing building recording was carried out by Kirkdale Archaeology in May 2015 on the suite of rooms above the three cellars to the east of the Palace Block whilst scaffolding was being erected for remedial works. The cellars appear to be significantly older that the suite of rooms above. A watching brief was carried out by Kirkdale Archaeology in February 2017 during excavation of a trench for new water treatment systems for the public toilets. No archaeological features or artefacts were recorded. Geophysical survey was carried out by RGC in May 2019 on three areas within the grounds of the castle. To the southwest of the castle, resistance responses were consistent with wall footings, a stone path or a stone drain. An anomaly in the east of Area A could relate to a broad ditch type feature. To the southeast of the castle, one area of resistance could relate to the medieval road, or it may indicate a ditch like feature. Anomalies within the area northeast of the castle are thought to relate to modern buildings and associated landscaping. A total of 136 masons' marks, of 46 different masons, have been recorded at the castle.
Last Update04/08/2021
Updated Bycpalmer
Compiler 
Date of Compilation04/04/1991

Easting: 353168.618391451, Northing: 840658.840188716

Google Map for NJ54SW0007

National Grid Reference: NJ 5316 4065



Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
1923 Excavation
1996 Watching-Brief
1997 Excavation
2014 Watching-Brief kirkdale1-279010
2014 Watching-Brief kirkdale1-279032
2017 Watching-Brief kirkdale1-310568
2014 Watching-Brief kirkdale1-311373
2015 Building Recording kirkdale1-311375
2019 Geophysical Survey

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
 1923 Excavation  J GREGOR, FOREMANMOWMOW80
31996 Excavation 3Andy BarlowScoHS 
 1997 Excavation  Gordon EwartKIRHS 

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
00 GARGOYLE FRAGMENTS Excavation  
00 TILES Excavation  
00 STONE CANNON BALLS Excavation  
00 IRON CANNON BALLS Excavation  
00 POTTERY Excavation  
00 GLASS FRAGMENTS Excavation  
00 COIN, CHARLES 1 Excavation  
00 PENNY, 1797 Excavation  

Ecofact

Samples
Palynology
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability
MOTTES REMAINS OFA100
BAILEYS REMAINS OFB100
DITCHESDEFENSIVE C100
CASTLES L-SHAPEDD100
TOWERSROUND E100
PALACES REMAINS OFF100
VAULTSBARREL G100
GUN-LOOPS  H100
DUNGEONS  I100
CELLARS  J100
KITCHENS  K100
FIREPLACES ARCHEDL100
CHUTESWATERINTAKEM100
CHUTESWATEROUTLETSN100
CHUTES GARDEROBEO100
SEATSWOODENPRIVYQ100
HOLESPEEP R100
GRAFFITI  S100
BREWERIES  T100
BAKERIES  U100
VATSSEATINGREMAINS OFV100
OVENS DOMEDW100
STABLES REMAINS OFX100
RAVELINS  Y100
ROADS COBBLEDZ100
COURTYARDS COBBLEDAA100
GABLES CROW-STEPPEDAB100
SKEWPUTTS  AC100
WALL-WALKS  AD100
WINDOWS ORIELAE100
123