MHG418 - Keep, Ackergill Tower


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Type and Period (2)

  • KEEP (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Alternate Type) TOWER (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Parent for:
ND35SE0285 ND 3517 5440 Cottage
ND35SE0286 ND 3521 5459 Dovecot
ND35SE0287 ND 3529 5454 Dovecot
ND35SE0288 ND 3515 5474 Stables
JHooper, 2/11/01

ND35SE 16.00 3528 5466
ND35SE 16.01 ND 3517 5440 Cottage
ND35SE 16.02 ND 3521 5459 Dovecot
ND35SE 16.03 ND 3529 5454 Dovecot
ND35SE 16.04 ND 3515 5474 Stables

(ND 3528 5466) Ackergill Tower (NR) OS 6" map, (1968)

Dovecot (NAT), (ND 3529 5454) Dovecot (NAT)
OS 6" map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1905)

Ackergill Tower is a massive rectangular keep, built about 1500 and still occupied. Its site has no positional strength, but it was, according to Tranter (1962-70), surrounded by a moat, 12ft in width and depth, of which no trace remains.
Five storeys in height, tower measures 48 by 34ft, its walls being about 10ft thick. Top storey, with its cope-house and battlements, was renewed in mid-19th century, when tower's windows and doors were also enlarged. Present entrance is by an arched doorway on the NW side. Outbuildings on E, W and N are modern, although 'a new house lately built' between tower and the sea is referred to in 1726. To 18th century also belong the two lean-to dovecots S of tower.
The property belonged to Cheyne family until 1354 when it passed by marriage to Keiths, Earls Marshall, who held it until at least 1556, although when tower first appears on record in 1510 it is said to be captained by Gilbert Mowat of Brabstermyre. Tower appears to have been in possession of Sinclair Earls of Caithness in early 17th century, and to have been garrisoned by Cromwellian troops in 1651. By 1726 it had come into the possession of the Dunbars of Hempriggs by whom it is still owned.
RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910; N Tranter 1962-70.

The tower is generally as described. The two dovecots are almost identical, each being 9 by 5m.
Visited by OS (R D L) 21 June 1963.

Ackergill Tower is generally as described by the previous authorities. The arched doorway is in the SW. A print in the Tower dated 1821 shows a crenellated four storey tower without copehouse and modern wings. Revised at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (J B) 18 September 1982.

Plate XLVI - carved stones from Castle Sinclair, now at Ackergill Tower
Plate XLIX - Supporters of Arms from Castle Sinclair now at Ackergill Tower

Reference, Scotland's Magazine (SMT), November 1952, p.34.

East Caithness Local Plan, May 1987: P17/2.26. High Technology Industry.
POLICY - The Council will seek to identify and promote high amenity areas.
J Aitken : 22/05/01.

A gunflint from Ackergill Tower is listed in the Caithness Horizons catalogue under Acc. No. ARC792. It may be from a kitchen midden but th label is not explicit. <1>

Sources/Archives (12)



Grid reference Centred ND 3528 5467 (45m by 35m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND35SE
Civil Parish WICK
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

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