MHG4510 - Ruthven Barracks


The ruins of Ruthven Barracks, built between 1719 and 1721 but burnt in 1746 and never repaired.

Type and Period (1)

  • BARRACKS (18th Century - 1719 AD to 1746 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

The ruins of Ruthven Barracks, built between 1719 and 1721 but burnt in 1746 and never repaired.

Ruthven Barracks (in ruins)
On Site of Ruthven Castle (NAT)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1903)

The site is an alluvial mound. There was a fortress on it during the 14th century and probably earlier. In the 16th century, another castle was built here; this was destroyed in 1689 but seems to have been rebuilt before 1715. The Barracks were erected by the government in 1718 for a garrison, but were burnt by fugitives from Culloden in 1746 and never repaired. No trace of the earlier works survived.
D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887.

The site was Scheduled in 1957.

Ruthven Barracks, generally as described and planned by MacGibbon and Ross, now being restored by the MoW.
Visited by OS (N K B) 31 November 1967.

The barracks and stable block were listed at Category A in 1971.

Ruthven Barracks stood hard by Kingussie, a village and a parish in the Badenoch district of S.E.Inverness-shire, occupying a conical mound one and a quarter mile S by E of the village and on the other, or right, bank of the River Spey. The distance is stated as 44 and a half miles from Inverness and 50 E.N.E. of Fort William. The Barracks, according to Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer, were built by the Government in 1718, and were burned by fugitives from Culloden in 1746. In the National Library of Scotland is a series of Military Maps and Drawings (many coloured) of the Board of Ordnance and of the 18th Century. In the Index Volume No.1852 it is recorded that in 1928 the guardianship of the buidings was offered the Commissioners of H.M.Works, but was declined. In Case or Volume No.1648 are the following Drawings:-
Number. Year.
Z.3/18. No date. Small scale Plans, Sections, and Elevations of the four Barracks of Killiwhiman, Inversnait, Ruthven of Badenoch, and Bernera, with Explanations. Scale 30 Feet to an Inch. There are copies. Also indexed under the names mentioned besides Ruthven.

Z.3/19. 1719. "Plan showing situation of the barrack at Ruthven in Badenoch Anne 1719", and surrounding Country. Scale 10 Feet to an Inch. There is a copy.

Z.3/20. No date. "Ruthvan of Badenock" Plan, Sections & Elevations of Barracks. With Explanation. Scale 10 Feet to an Inch. There is also a small scale Engraving.

David Macgibbon and Thomas Ross, in "The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland" give a Plan of these Barrack and Stable buildings, as an example of a fortification of that late period, with a sketch, in pen and ink, from the South-West. They state there is no vestige of any earlier building or castle on the mound.

National Library - Country Life 6th April 1945 - photograph.

National Library of Scotland: Nattes Drawings. 1 Drawing, Vol IV No 20.

Excavations in 1983 brought to light physical evidence for the later medieval castle, including the well, and shed new light on the layout of the military barracks which replaced it after the 1715 Jacobite Rising. The standing remains of the barracks came into the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1968. Extensive consolidation of the masonry has been carried out on the barracks, which were in a state of considerable disrepair. Archaeological examination of the barracks complex was carried out for Historic Scotland's predecessor department to elucidate certain aspects of its plan prior to the implementation of a scheme for its presentation to the public. <1>

The scheduling was amended by Historic Scotland in 1996.

BAS Local Plan, Sept. 1997: P19/2.5.13. Historic Buildings.
J Aitken : 24/05/01.

A watching brief was undertaken by Kirkdale Archaeology on 19 December 2012 during the excavation of small holes to allow the installation of permanent survey markers around the exterior of the barracks. The interventions did not exceed 200mm in depth and nothing of archaeological significance was noted. <2>

This site was reassessed as part of the Historic Environment Scotland Dual Designations project in 2018. It was proposed to delist the buildings but retain the Scheduled status. <3>

The proposed designation changes by Historic Environment Scotland came into effect as of 09/03/2018. <4>

GIS spatial data amended in 2019 according to area of site as seen on 2013 vertical APs. <5>

Sources/Archives (23)



Grid reference Centred NN 7645 9976 (103m by 66m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NN79NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (4)

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