MHG1101 - Achastle, Langwell Castle


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Type and Period (1)

  • CASTLE (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Langwell Castle (NR) (Ruin) OS 6" map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1908)

Achastle (NR) (remains of) OS 6" map, (1964)

At foot of park in front of Langwell House are scanty ruins of Achastle. It seems to have been a large rectangular keep, measuring some 70 by 43ft internally, with a projecting turret at NW angle. Some 26ft of N wall remains to a height of c10ft, with a thickness of 5ft 6ins. The interior is full of ruins. The castle has stood at the extremity of the high ridge forming watershed between waters of Berriedale and Langwell, and on N and W, where not protected by steep banks, it has been flanked by a broad, deep ditch. The ruin is mentioned about 1726 (Macfarlane 1906-8) as 'an antient fabrick, a part whereof stands yet'; while Cordiner (1788) shows the ruin (about 1788) as consisting of two square towers connected by a curtain wall, crowning the cliffs above junction of streams. In OSA (1796) it is said to have been built and possessed by John Beg, third son to Earl of Sutherland.
C Cordiner 1788; OSA 1796; W Macfarlane 1906-8; RCAHMS 1911.

Achastle or Langwell Castle: Generally as described by RCAHMS. In addition to NW angle turret, the outline of a similar one can be traced at NE angle. The interior of keep is a mass of rubble overgrown with weeds. A causeway (2.8m wide) crosses the ditch at the NW angle. The ditch is some 11.5m wide and 4m maximum depth, with much stone scattered along its scarps.
Visited by OS (W D J) 4 July 1960.

Langwell Castle (info from Factor, Langwell Estate Office) is as described, except that the walling has tumbled further and is now only 1.5m high.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (R L) 29 February 1968.
Langwell Castle (NR) (remains of) OS 25" map, (1969)

No change. Visited by OS (J M) 23 November 1982.

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred ND 1162 2271 (81m by 86m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND12SW
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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