MHG6283 - Motte - Castle Leod


Motte - Castle Leod

Type and Period (1)

  • MOTTE (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Mid Ross Local Plan, Oct 1990: P13/2.46. Conservation Areas/Listed Buildings.
J Aitken : 06/06/01.
NH45NE 9 4860 5933. Castle Leod (NR) OS 6"map, (1971)

An early C17th tower-house impressively situated on a green mound and built to a modified L-plan whose re-entrant angle has been infilled by slightly later addition, which contains a secondary doorway, defended by shot-holes and surmounted by a heraldic panel bearing MacKenzie arms.
Original building had an open parapet at wall-head with bartizans at angles. The addition however covers up this parapet on original front wall and is carried a storey higher being finished with ornamental dormers and pyramidal-roofed turrets. Some of other angle-turrets and dormers probably added at same time. One dormer, on N, bears date 1616, but whether this is date of original (MacGibbon and Ross 1889) or modification (Tranter 1970) is not clear. Tranter says orignal was built in 1600 by Tutor of Kintail, Sir Roderick MacKenzie and is still seat of his descendant, Earl of Cromartie.
D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; N Tranter 1962-70.

Castle Leod (Info from notice board). This castle is still occupied and in good condition. According to owners wife (Lady Cromartie), original date is not known but believed to be 15th century and top storey additions date from 1616. Additions of Victorian and Edwardian eras are built onto N wall of the castle.
Visited by OS (J B) 23 April 1975
ARCHITECT: D Matheson 1914 Squash Court

The plans shown in photographs C12925-30, C12975/CN-77/CN and C12981/CN (from survey of plans lent for copying in June 1993 by Mr Mike Taylor) were found in a derelict estate office on Castle Leod estate. The material relates to two periods of alteration work carried out at Castle Leod, for Earl of Cromartie- first 1851 by Andrew Maitland, who adapted designs by David Bryce, second in 1904, when N wing, previously altered 1874, was mostly rebuilt. The material also relates to the nearby Inchvannie Farm Steading, and the pump room at Strathpeffer Spa, which were both owned by the Castle Leod estate.

Country Life, August 3rd 1935 p.130

An archaeological survey of features within the policies of Castle Leod, Strathpeffer, Ross-shire, was carried out by members of the North of Scotland Archaeological Society January – May 2013.

The castle sits on a man-made “motte”or mound which probably dates to the 13th or 14th century. Initially there would have been a timber fortification on the mound but this would have been later replaced by a stone built structure; evidence of 14th century stonework has been located within the basement of the castle. <1>

Castle Leod Archaeological Evaluation Strathpeffer, Easter Ross; Results of the Archaeological Test Pitting Evaluation 2014, Ross and Cromarty Archaeological Services & West Coast Archaeological Services.

The present castle occupies a grass-covered mound that is believed to be an earlier motte on which a previous wooden or stone castle tower was built. There are references to a possible Pictish fort on the same site, which may also have been later re-used by the Norse. Although the earliest period of construction for the tower is unclear and the earliest documented construction refers to the early 17th century, the construction and fabric of the lower storey of the castle indicates it was built as early as the 14th century. <2>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NH 4860 5932 (60m by 60m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH45NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish FODDERTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (2)

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