MHG1664 - Bucholly Castle


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CASTLE (Early Medieval to Medieval - 561 AD to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Buchollie (Mowat 1931) or Bucholie (RCAHMS 1911; MacGibbon and Ross 1887-92) Castle: This castle, dating from period 1400 - 1542, stands on a peninsula 100ft high, cut off from land by a trench 7ft wide and 9ft deep.
The keep which rose from edge of this trench measured only 14 x 20ft over all. Only W wall, standing 30ft high, an part of S wall remain. Walls of vaulted basement are 4ft thick, but on floors above, only c2.5ft.
An entrance passage 4.5ft wide gave access to a long narrow courtyard, flanked by buildings mostly bonded with clay.
An extensive kitchen midden lies along cliff-top to seaward. The castle was formerly known as Freswick. The property belonged to Mowats from time of Robert I (1306-29) until 1661, when it passed to Sinclairs.
RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; J Mowat 1931.

Seven small fragments of brownish unglazed pottery from a refuse heap at Bucholly Castle were donated to NMAS by A O Curle.
Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1911

The castle was Scheduled in 1938.

Bucholly Castle (locally accepted spelling) is as described and planned by previous authorities. Buildings on W side of courtyard survive as grass-covered walling c1.3m high. The kitchen midden is no longer visible.
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (R D) 9 September 1965.

Bucholly Castle (NR) (remains of) OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

Bucholie Castle has been identified with 'Lamba-borg' mentioned about 1143 in Orkneyinga Saga. This would imply an earlier castle on site. (But see also ND36NE 1.)
R G Lamb 1980

Bucholly Castle is as described and illustrated. The surviving lower foundations are covered by thick vegetation.
Visited by OS (J B) 12 August 1982.

Midden deposit sampled. Erosion is extreme on all sides of castle.
C E Batey 1982.

The castle was rescheduled in 2016 to better define the area of significance following reassessment by Historic Environment Scotland. <1>

A hammerstone is listed in the Caithness Horizons catalogue as from 'Swein's House, Canisbay'. This is likely to be referring to Sweyn Asleifsson and Lambaborg Castle. Both Ness Broch (MHG2151) and Bucholly Castle have been identified as the potential site of Lambaborg, and the hammerstone is likely to be from one of these two sites. It is listed under Acc. No. ARC76. <2>

Sources/Archives (11)



Grid reference Centred ND 3821 6583 (300m by 300m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND36NE
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (1)

  • VESSEL (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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