Aberdeenshire HER - NJ96NW0005 - PITSLIGO CASTLE

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ96NW0005
NamePITSLIGO CASTLE
NRHE Card No.NJ96NW7
NRHE Numlink 20801
HES SM No. 6146
HES LB No.
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Incomplete
Details Remains of a castle. The nucleus is a tower-house thought to have been built c.1424, of which two storeys survive the third having been demolished in c.1700. The E wall has largely fallen, revealing vaulted hall. There is a straight stair in the thickness of the wall from the ground to first floor, with spiral stairs, now gutted, above. In the latter half of the 16th Century the tower-house was incorporated with a large quadrangular mansion which occupies a position near the W end of the S front. It has a round tower on exterior of the NE angle and a square porch tower on inner angle. An entrance transe sits in the centre of the N range. This mansion, which encloses a courtyard, seems never to have been completed. There are vague traces of a possible ditch to the W and S. Large walled forecourt with coped walls, outer gate on the centre of the W side with a semi-circular arch with edge roll moulding and date panel 1656. An extensive walled garden lies to N. Built by family of Forbes of Pitsligo, but confiscated after the 1745 rebellion, the property was sold to the Gardens of Troup and subsequently was left to ruin. It was later repurchased by the Forbes family, but not repaired. All of the buildings are in a ruinous condition. There are Royal coat-of-arms panels dated 1579 and 1603, and a Pitsligo arms panel dated 1665. The property was acquired by American descendant Malcolm Forbes in 1988. After his death, it was presented to the N.E.S.P.T. by his son. A watching brief was carried out in April 1998 on excavation for a foundation pit for the concrete base of props needed to control the bulging of the S wall of the tower; this recorded a probably spread of builders material from the construction or alteration of one phase of the castle. A geophysical survey was carried out over three areas around the castle remains in August 2008 by Orkney College Geophysical Unit (for MAS) to determine buried garden features. The resistance survey detected several anomalies that appear to relate to the possible garden features, although many of them are ephemeral. The clearest results were recorded in Areas B and C where the locations of walls and possible paths were identified. In September 2009 six evaluation trenches were excavated in the garden based on the survey results. Three pit features were found in Trench 4, beneath the formal garden layout, suggesting that they may belong to the pre-17th century garden or relating to the earlier stages of the castle. In April 2010, a watching brief was undertaken by MAS over the excavation of a series of 5 test pits evaluating the North range of the castle to assess the depth of wall foundations. A test pit inside the courtyard revealed a stone drain running along the wall below a series of capstones.
Last Update22/07/2019
Updated Bycpalmer
Compiler 
Date of Compilation 

Easting: 393706.738929198, Northing: 866941.559175247

Google Map for NJ96NW0005

National Grid Reference: NJ 9370 6694



Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
2008 Geophysical Survey
2009 Excavation
2010 Watching-Brief
1998 Watching-Brief

Excavations and Surveys


Artefact and Ecofact

Ecofact

Samples
Palynology
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability
CASTLES REMAINS OFA100
HALLS REMAINS OFB100
STAIRCASESMURAL C100
STAIRCASESSPIRALREMAINS OFD100
DITCHESDEFENSIVEREMAINS OFE100
PATHS POSSIBLET75
COURTYARDS  F100
MANSIONSQUADRANGULARREMAINS OFG100
PANELS DATEDH100
PANELSARMORIAL I100
TOWERSROUND J100
TOWERSSQUAREPORCHK100
COAT-OF-ARMS  L100
FORECOURTS  M100
WALLS COPEDN100
ARCHESSEMI-CIRCULARDATEDO100
GARDENSWALLED P100
GUN-LOOPS  Q100
RIBSSTONEDRESSEDR100