MHG3265 - Urquhart Castle


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CASTLE (Early Medieval to 19th Century - 561 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH52NW 3 5305 2860

For bronze axes from Urquhart Castle, see NH52NW 7.

(NH 5305 2860) Urquhart Castle (NR) (Ruins) Drawbridge (NR) (Remains of) Fosse (NR)
OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1905)

For full description see DoE guide 'Urquhart Castle'.
W D Simpson 1964

A portion of a penannular brooch of c.9th century date from Urquhart Castle is in the NMAS.
Information from C W Phillips

Urquhart Castle is as described and planned by DoE.
Visited by OS (R L) 11 Feburary 1970.

The castle was listed at Category A in 1971.

The castle was scheduled in 1981.

NH 530 286 An archaeological evaluation comprising geophysical survey and trial trenching was undertaken by Headland Archaeology Ltd between the moat and the A82 at Urquhart Castle. The evaluation was designed to investigate the impact of a proposed new visitor centre and car park on any preserved archaeological deposits. The geophysical surveys were undertaken by Archaeological Services WYAS.
The resistivity survey identified a large low resistance linear anomaly running E-W for c 35m and ending abruptly 140m W of the castle moat. A trench was cut across the anomaly and a large medieval clay-lined ditch was identified which measured 9m wide and 2.5m deep. Fragments of pottery dating from between the 13th and 15th centuries were found in the secondary fill, together with a number of medieval iron objects, a circular sharpening stone, a crucible fragment and burnt animal bone. An Early Modern bayonet was also recovered adjacent to the ditch although this is not believed to be associated with the feature. With the exception of one modern ditch no further archaeological features were identified in trial trenches.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
C Moloney 1997

An archaeological excavation was carried out by Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) on a gravel terrace overlooking Urquhart Castle in advance of a new car park and visitor center. The aim of the excavation was to investigate any archaeological remains likely to be affected by the development. These include a possible ditch containing locally made medieval pottery, discovered during the evalution carried out in 1997.
GUARD exposed an area of 25m by 20m, centred on the evaluation trench, and uncovered a large square-shaped enclosure with the remains of cobbled surfaces and the stony foundations of structures to the west. In the east part of the enclosure, a large amount of boulders were uncovered which may be the remains of a building.
In the center of the trench, the upper layers of soil and gravel were removed to reveal layers of silts containing medieval pottery, charcoal and animal bones. Other finds include circular sharpening stone, iron nails, iron scale and an unidentifiable coin thought to be of medieval date. The presence of the iron slag suggests that a smithy may be close by.
The exact function of these archaeological remains is unclear; they may be the remains of houses and workshops of people based at the castle, who worked on surrounding agricultural estates. Alternatively, they may be the remains of earthworks and ditches created by people who had laid siege to the castle.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
EM 06/2004

Two reconstruction drawings of Urquhart Castle were drawn by and submitted to Highland HER by A Spratt in December 2012. <1>

The castle was reviewed by Historic Scotland in 2014 as part of the Dual Designation Project. The site was not visited but it was recommended that the building be de-listed but remain a scheduled monument. <2>

123. Urquhart Castle (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG7063.

125. Urquhart Castle. Nether Bailey (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG7064.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4332.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4333.

Urquhart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14906.

Urquhart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14907.

Urquhart (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14908.

J.S.Bone, Urquhart Castle (Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph). SHG10416.

Urquhart Castle. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13595.

Urquhart Castle: GUARD excavations, monitoring visit. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13883.

Urquhart Castle: GUARD excavations, monitoring visit. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13884.

Urquhart Castle: GUARD excavations, monitoring visit. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13885.

Urquhart Castle: GUARD excavations, monitoring visit. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13886.

Swan, J, 1837, Swan's views of the lakes of Scotland, p. 151-2; Engraving facing p. 151 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2843.

MacGibbon, D and Ross, T, 1887-92, The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, Vol. 3, 90-6 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2442.

ISSFC, 1888, 'Excursion to Glen Urquhart, Saturday 3rd September 1881', Trans Inverness Sci Soc Fld Club Vol. 2 1880-3, p.137-147, 137-47 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG766.

Simpson, W D, 1930, 'Urquhart Castle', Trans Gaelic Soc Inverness Vol. 35 1929-30, p.51-82, 51-82 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1802.

Simpson, W D, 1951, Glen Urquhart and its castle: a study in environment, p. 316-31 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG3126.

Simpson, W D, 1964, Urquhart Castle (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2802.

Nisbet, H C, 1975, 'A geological approach to vitrified forts, part II: bedrock and building stone', Science and Archaeology, Vol 15, pp 3-16, p 13, No. 43 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG43.

MacKie, E W, 1975, Scotland: an archaeological guide: from the earliest times to the twelfth century, 209 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2472.

Macdonald and Laing, A D S and L R, 1977, 'Excavations at Lochmaben Castle, Dumfriesshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 106 1974-5, p.124-57, (Appendix C by L R Laing) 154-6 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG744.

Alcock, L, 1981, Early historic fortifications in Scotland, 150-80 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG3147.

Tabraham, C J, 1981, 'Urquhart Castle (Urquhart and Glenmoriston p) castle bailey', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1981, p.19, 19 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1800.

Samson, R, 1982, 'Finds from Urquhart Castle in the National Museum, Edinburgh', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 112 1982, p.465-76, 465-76 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG790.

Clark, J, 1982, 'Medieval Britain in 1981', Medieval Archaeol Vol. 26 1982, p.164-227, 219-220 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1104.

Simpson, Lindsay and Reynolds, W D, C and N, 1983, Urquhart Castle (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2795.

Lindsay and Reynolds, C and N, 1983, Urquhart Castle (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2416.

Foster, Driscoll and Alcock, S M, S T and L, 1985, Excavations at Urquhart and Dunnottar Castles, 1983 and 1984: interim reports (Text/Report). SHG2218.

Alcock, L, 1985, 'Urquhart Castle (Urquhart and Glenmoriston p)', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1985, p.23-4, 23-4 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1801.

Close-Brooks, J, 1986, Exploring Scotland's Heritage: The Highlands, 100-2, No. 45 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2053.

Yeoman, P A, 1988, 'Mottes in Northeast Scotland', Scot Archaeol Rev Vol. 5 1988, p.125-33, 131, no. 105 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1131.

Bateson, J D, 1990, 'Roman and medieval coins found in Scotland, to 1987', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 119 1989, p.165-88, 178 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1433.

Tabraham and Stewart, C [J] and F, 1991, Urquhart Castle (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2847.

Batey, C E, 1992, 'A copper alloy pin from Urquhart Castle, Inverness-shire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol 122, pp 351-3 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG37.

Gifford, J, 1992, Highland and Islands, 216-21 (Text/Publication/Monograph). SHG2247.

Alcock and Alcock, L and E A, 1993, ''Reconnaissance excavations on Early Historic fortifications and other royal sites in Scotland, 1974-84; A, Excavations and other fieldwork at Forteviot, Perthshire, 1981; B, Excavations at Urquhart Castle, Inverness-shire, 1983; C, Excavations at Dunnot, 242-67 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1395.

Ross, J, 1996, Planning row: 2.5m pound Historic Scotland development will spoil boom from Loch Ness film, say locals [Urquhart Castle, newscutting] (Text/Publication/Article/Newspaper Article). SHG3103.

Ross, J, 1997, Planners block 2.5m pound project for Urquhart Castle [newscutting] (Text/Publication/Article/Newspaper Article). SHG3102.

Moloney, C, 1997, 'Urquart Castle (Urquhart & Glenmoriston parish); evaluatio', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1997, p.52, 52 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1798.

Banks Iain, 2000, Urquhart Castle (Text/Report). SHG21006.

Taylor, A, 2007-9, Photographs of various HER sites by Andrew Taylor (CD 1) (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG24382.

Kirkdale Archaeology, 2009, Excavation - Urquhart Castle (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG27729.

Kirkdale Archaeology, 2009, Watching Brief - Urquhart Castle (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG27728.

Kirkdale Archaeology, 2011, Watching Brief - Urquhart Castle (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG27863.

<1> Spratt, A, Reconstruction drawings of Urquhart Castle (Image/Drawing/Reconstruction Drawing). SHG26518.

<2> Jackson, L., 2015, Dual Designations Project - Highland Castles: Urquhart Castle (Text/Designation Notification/List of Buildings). SHG27498.

Sources/Archives (47)



Grid reference Centred NH 5303 2862 (196m by 325m)
Map sheet NH52NW
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Investigations/Events (8)

External Links (5)

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