MHG7064 - Castle of Auldearn, Dooket Hill


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Type and Period (1)

  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (Early Medieval to Medieval - 561 AD to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Provisional Consent received from Historic Scotland dated 18/01/01.
See assoc. docs. File.
J Aitken : 21/01/03.
Visited by John Wood and Rod Murchison 5/10/00.

Site clearance work in progress for housing scheme revealed that uphill side of the housing site is largely composed of recent rubbish (hlinked photos Auldearn 1-9) - was there a sand quarry here that has been filled in? Photo Auldearn 3 shows view from motte to new housing site. Photo Auldearn 7 shows sole remaining farm building (on right.) Photos Auldearn 8,10 show excavations for new housing site

Also examined line of proposed HC footpath from new car park to motte. Photo Auldearn 6 shows HC new car park. Photo Auldearn 2 shows view to new HC car park along line of proposed new footpath from foot of motte. Photo Auldearn 4 shows view along line of proposed footpath following foot of motte and recent scrub clearance work by HEAT Team. Photo Auldearn 5 shows motte viewed from approx line of new path, inc. drystane dyke and former hedge - becoming a zone of erosion as people scramble up & down here. (Grid Ref NH 91714 55600)
John Wood 5/10/00

Watching brief report in associated documents.

NMRS Notes:
NH95NW 11 9172 5562.
Dooket Hill (NR) (Supposed to have been A Mote Hill (NR) OS 6" map (1906)

Castle, or Doocot, Hill, a motte, is site of Royal Castle of Auldearn of William the Lion (1165-1214). In support of this statement the National Trust write (List of Properties 1959) that second charter of Burgh of Inverness was signed at Auldearn by William the Lion some time after 1180 and (letter from NTS, 1 June 1966) the Earl of Ross submitted to Robert Bruce at Castle of Auldearn in 1308. They deduce from this that "it is safe to say that there was a royal castle here which dated back to 12th century, but whether it was built by William the Lion or not cannot be determined."
The outline of the ditch is still clearly visible.

The motte on Dooket or Castle Hill overlooks village of Auldearn. It measures 59m diameter externally by 8m high. The flat central area enclosed by a rampart, measures 32m E-W by 27m transversely, in centre of which is 17th century dovecot (NH95NW 8). No trace of an outer ditch could be seen, and external slopes are bounded by a modern wall.
Resurveyed at 1/2500. Visited by OS (RD) 26 November 1965

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NH 9172 5562 (99m by 108m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH95NW
Civil Parish AULDEARN
Geographical Area NAIRN

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Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

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