Aberdeenshire HER - NJ50NE0005 - CRAIGIEVAR CASTLE

Print site NJ50NE0005 Feedback on site NJ50NE0005

Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ50NE0005
NameCRAIGIEVAR CASTLE
NRHE Card No.NJ50NE6
NRHE Numlink 17471
HES SM No.
HES LB No. 9229
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Complete 2
Details Castle, still in use, set within the remains of a designed landscape (NJ50NE0068). Building was begun by the Mortimers in late-16th century, but due to debt it was sold to the Forbes family in the early-17th century who completed building in 1626. It is a stepped L-plan tower-house of seven storeys with elaborate treatment of upper parts, including crown balustrades on the flat roofed towers, ogee capped stair turrets, serrated gables and a weather-cock. The castle is harled with a vaulted ground floor, a first floor hall groin-vaulted with fine plaster surface decoration and original wooden screens in passage. In plan it consists of two blocks arranged into an L, with a small square tower in the angle. The top third of the castle is projected out on an ornate corble table supporting unusually large two-storey turrets. It is adorned with crowstepped gables and grotesque masks (concealing shot holes) and decorated water spouts. It was re-roofed in 1826, at which time the towers were altered and raised and a new entrance door was put in, which was subsequently restored to the original entrance. The west wall of the original barmekin wall, which surrounded a courtyard, still stands, with an arched gateway and gun-loops, terminating with a round tower with a conical roof at the south end. An excavation in 1990 revealed the basal courses of the east and south barmekin walls, plus three 17th Century stone drains. A few post-holes were uncovered but no pattern of building could be deduced, suggesting a type of lean-to outbuilding had existed. Numerous later drains cut across the area. Coins, pottery, glass and two stone gaming counters were found. In 2007, following on from the removal of the cement harling, and with the original stonework revealed, a team of archaeologists from Addyman Archaeology were commissioned to draw the facade of the castle. The new survey work revealed that most of Craigievar is a single phase of building of 16th century date (under the Mortimer family) including virtually all of the tower up to the ornate corbelling. A survey of the east end of the great hall, where there are many unusual features and blockings visible both inside and out, would seem to bear out the suspicion that there had previously existed a small Catholic chapel or oratory, set within a broad archway that had overlooked the hall interior. The old tower was rebuilt in the early-17th century by William Forbes, who employed the Bel family of masons. They added the extraordinary plethora of upper works, turrets, bartizans, viewing platforms, steep crow-stepped gables and bristling with dormers, spouts, shot-holes, gargoyles and finials. New discoveries include the count of spouts - 16 now exist but it was revealed that there were originally 36. Evidence for three missing dormer windows was revealed, two of these, entirely unknown, had lit the south end of the long gallery, partners to a pair that still exist further north.
Last Update27/04/2020
Updated Bycpalmer
Compiler 
Date of Compilation29/06/1990

Easting: 356668.30409361, Northing: 809478.40163666

Google Map for NJ50NE0005

National Grid Reference: NJ 5666 0947



Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
1990 Excavation
2007 Building Recording
2007 Geophysical Survey
1990 Geophysical Survey

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
41989 40MK GREIGNTSNTS100
71990 48MK GREIGNTSNTS80

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
71990 COINS Excavation National Trust for Scotland  
71990 GLASS Excavation National Trust for Scotland  
71990 CLAY PIPES Excavation National Trust for Scotland  
71990 POTTERY Excavation National Trust for Scotland  
71990 GAMING PIECES Excavation National Trust for Scotland  

Ecofact

Samples Soil samples.
Palynology
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability
CASTLES  A100
TOWERHOUSES  B100
TURRETSANGLE C100
TOWERSSTAIR D100
ROOFS  E100
TURRETSOGEE F100
CELLARS VAULTEDG100
FIREPLACES ARCHEDH100
HALLS GROIN-VAULTEDI100
PLASTER-WORK DECORATIVEJ100
PASSAGES SCREENK100
SCREENSWOODEN L100
COURTYARDS SITE OFM100
WALLSBARMEKINREMAINS OFN100
ENTRANCES ARCHEDO100
GUN-LOOPS  P100
ROOFS CONICALQ100
DRAINSSTONE R100
BUTTRESSESSTONE S100
COINSSILVERELIZABETH IT100
COINS JAMES VIU100
COINSTURNERCHARLES IIV100
COINSSHILLINGVICTORIAW100
POTTERY  X100
PIPESCLAY Y100
BOTTLESGLASSREMAINS OFZ100
GAMING-PIECESSTONEFLATAA100
PITSPOST AB100
PANELSARMORIAL AC100
WEATHER-VANES COCKERELAD100
12