Aberdeenshire HER - NJ71NW0007 - BISHOP'S PALACE, FETTERNEAR

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ71NW0007
NameBISHOP'S PALACE, FETTERNEAR
NRHE Card No.NJ71NW7
NRHE Numlink 18684
HES SM No.
HES LB No. 2835
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Incomplete
Details Remains of Fetternear House. The earliest record mentioning the site dates from 1256, although a church was built at Fetternear in the 12th Century. Fetternear House is better known as a summer palace of the 13th Bishop of Aberdeen, Alexander de Kyninmond (1329-41) who made extensive additions to it. These foundations were uncovered some years before 1906 and lay circa 25m to south of the existing ruins. These ruins consist of the remains of a 16th century towerhouse, at the southeast end of the main block, with circular stair in the west corner. To this was added a long extension extending from the northwest wall in the 17th Century when it was made part of a large near-symmetrical mansion for Count Patrick Leslie. Further additions were made in 19th Century. The building is now a crumbling shell bearing the date 1693 on a plaque above the main entrance in the south wall. On the OS map of 1867 a walled orchard is depicted to the east of the house. The house was burnt down in 1919. Excavation in the late 19th century south of the mansion house by Charles Leslie is noted to have recovered pieces of mouldings and tracery possibly associated with the palace of the 1330s, and the 2nd edition OS map shows that this work detected a massive structure under the lawn that lay south of his mansion. A series of excavations have been undertaken in the area surrounding the upstanding remains of the House yearly from 1995 - 2010 by the late Nicholas Bogden and Penny Dransart, which has uncovered the foundations of the earlier Bishop's Palace with a deep ditch surrounding it. Two palisade trenches have also been revealed with remains of timber stakes in some post-holes. A considerable number of artefacts have also been recorded including one sherd of a jug of French Saintonge mottled green glaze. In the 2005-2006 season, part of the kitchen quarters was also located. Prior to the 2005 season, a contour survey was conducted by W. Risk and a resistivity survey was conducted by R. Kidd. Further work in July 2007 as part of the Scottish Episcopal Palaces Project recorded more evidence of the extensive levelling operations undertaken during Post-Reformation occupation. Investigation of a section of moat south of the mansion showed a flat-bottomed ditch in contrast to the V-sectioned ditch of the moat north of the mansion. Scarce finds from the moat fill appear to be of 14th century date. Excavation to the east of the drive in 2009 as part of the Scottish Episcopal Palaces Project recorded various features including a beam identified as the sole plate of a trestle bridge which probably spanned the moat. Finds from the excavations in 2010 included a rare seal from a 17th century bottle, a piece of Piermont Water glassware dating from around 1690.
Last Update27/10/2020
Updated Bycpalmer
Compiler 
Date of Compilation 

Easting: 372356.956367207, Northing: 817069.132145516

Google Map for NJ71NW0007

National Grid Reference: NJ 7235 1706



Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
2009 Excavation
1995 Excavation
1996 Excavation
1997 Excavation
1998 Excavation
1999 Excavation
2000 Excavation
2001 Excavation
2007 Excavation
2002 Excavation
2003 Excavation
2004 Excavation
2005 Excavation
2006 Excavation
2005 Geophysical Survey
2005 Field Survey
2008 Excavation
2010 Excavation

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
 2009 Excavation  P Dransart/J Trigg   
 2002 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2003 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2004 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2005 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2006 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2007 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2008 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2010 Excavation  P. DRANSART   
 2005 Survey  W. RISK   
 2005 Survey  R. KIDD   
 1995  N Bogdan/Penny DransartLAMSAS 
 1996  N Bogdan/Penny DransartLAMSAS 
 1997  N Bogdan/Penny DransartLAMSAS 
 1998  N Bogdan/Penny DransartLAMSAS 
 1999  N Bogdan/Penny DransartLAM  
72000 4Penny Drysart/N BogdanLAM  
 2001  Bogdan & DrysartLAM  

Artefact and Ecofact

Ecofact

Samples
Palynology
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability
POTTERY SAINTONGE-WAREQ100
BONES ANIMALR100
KNIVESIRONFRAGMENTS100
HOOKSIRON T100
NAILSIRON U100
KEYSIRON V100
CHISELSIRON W100
ARROWHEADS BARB & SOCKETEDX100
VESSELSCOPPER-ALLOYFRAGMENTY100
PLAQUESLEADFRAGMENTZ100
BUCKLESCOPPER-ALLOYFRAGMENTAA100
COINSCOPPERCHARLES IAB100
COINSCOPPERGEORGE IIAC100
COINSBRONZEHAAKON VIIAD100
GLASSSHERDWINDOWAE100
BOTTLESWINE AF100
PIPESCLAY AG100
WHETSTONES PERFORATEDAH100
DISCSSLATE AI100
HAMMER-STONES  AJ100
FLINTS WORKEDAK100
BRIDGES REMAINS OFQ90
PALACESBISHOPSITE OFA100
TOWERHOUSES REMAINS OFB100
TOWERSCIRCULAR C100
MANSIONS REMAINS OFD100
PANELSARMORIAL E100
PARAPETS CORBELLEDF100
PARAPETS CRENELLATEDG100
FORECOURTS SITE OFH100
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