MHG11838 - Former Bishop's Palace, Dornoch


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Type and Period (2)

  • BISHOPS PALACE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOWER HOUSE (Built, 16th Century - 1501 AD to 1600 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Ref 1412 - Report by Farrel on recording (part) undertaken during renovations - HAW 03/2005

(NH 7972 8960) Bishop's Palace (NR) (Ruins) OS 25" map, (1900)

Remains of Palace of bishops of Caithness, now consist of high tower with angle bartizans and crow-stepped gable. A round stair turret fills angle between it and kitchens on E whose vaulted roof, huge fireplace and chimney stalk still remain though building was heavily modernised 1813.
Palace is said to have consisted of 3 towers, survivor being the SW. A wing projected from kitchens at right angles across what is now Castle St about where W gable of Court House now stands. N side of court-yard was enclosed by strong wall, with gateway which stood a little E of present position of fountain in square, and led into Cathedral grounds.
Parts of remaining walls of Palace appear to be of considerable age but large windows and angle bartizans are clearly of late date probably subsequent to burning of Cathedral and Palace 1570. The ruins were partially restored in 1813 for use as a County Court House and Jail. It is now generally known as "Dornoch Castle".
D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909; C D Bentinck 1926; W Calder 1948.

As described, in good condition and converted to a hotel, called "Dornoch Castle Hotel". According to proprietor part of fabric of kitchens and cellar is 13th century.
Visited by OS (A A) 31 March 1971.

Dornoch Castle, by D F M reprint from "The Northern Times" Golspie 1923

Still used as hotel, negotiations for alterations by new owners (2001), work apparently not yet taken place - HAW 11/2002

Nicki MacRae submitted a photograph of this building via the Highland HER Flickr group in June 2011. <1>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 7971 8959 (61m by 73m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NH78NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish DORNOCH

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