MHG29145 - Petriny Motte, north of Mains of Garten


The site of a small medieval timber castle, with traces of buildings visible on its summit.

Type and Period (1)

  • MOTTE (Medieval - 1058 AD to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Reported to Highland Council and Historic Scotland by Gunnar Henni in about 1994. The mound has been a focus of local interest and research for several years.

Visited by Graham Robins, Community Archaeologist for Badenoch and Strathspey in 1999, who proposed a survey and trial excavation at the site to establish its nature and extent. A proposal was submitted to Historic Scotland for funding, but this was not successful. Instead the motte was scheduled by Historic scotland on 18 August 1999.

The Entry in the Schedule describes the site as 'the site of a small medieval timber castle, with traces of buildings visible on its summit. The are to be scheduled is concentrated on the motte and the area of filled moat which are likely to contain significant archaeological deposits.' <1>

Mr Wm Grant was brought up on this farm and recalls playing on the mound, including digging a pit to shoot duck where he uncovered 2 quernstones. He also remembers when the moat water continuously encircled the site. It was fed at the south side by an artificial open stream coming from a lochan lying south of the B970, and was drained by a sluice running the water down into boggy ground and eventually into the Spey. The feeding lochan is now drained and an underground pipe carries its water across fields to the west.
The top of the mound is largely a flat grassy surface, but evidence of stone footings underneath are just visible. On the east side there are the footings and depth of a rectilinear stone structure used as a corn-kiln; the midway flue passageway is just visible as is the neat bowl-shaped stonework of the kiln itself. To the south a section of the mound appears to be scooped away, and Wm. Grant stated that a horse-mill/horse-gang was located there, and that until being unsafe in recent times there also remained the last of a stone building with evidence of connecting drive metal shaft from the horse-gang (the building and horse-gang are depicted on the first edition OS map).
The site has a splendid field of vision, across, up and down the Spey valley several miles in each direction.

The motte is depicted on an old estate map from the 1770s, now in the National Archives of Scotland (GB234, RHP3964/1/33, Plan of Davoch of Gertinmore). The inscription on the map was previously thought to be Petriny (leading to erroneous placename for this site), but Morag Fyfe of the National Archives of Scotland interpreted it as 'Barns', showing that at this time the site had already been incorporated into the farm. The first edition OS map also shows buildings on the site, as well as the horse-gang.

To the south of the mound until the early 20th century there was a prosperous walled kitchen-garden, with a well, and a huge timber-constructed barn, since demolished.

Information from John Davison <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 9650 2015 (84m by 74m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH92SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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