MHG1591 - Brough Castle


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • CASTLE (Norse to Medieval - 800 AD? to 1559 AD?)
  • (Alternate Type) PROMONTORY FORT? (Early Bronze Age to Pictish - 2400 BC? to 900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Castle (NR) (remains of)
OS 1:10,000 map, (1976)

On landward end of the promontory are foundations of a castle. A trench some 40ft wide and 10-12ft deep has been dug across the neck and on either side of the rock. In rear of this has been a range of buildings separated by a narrow courtyard or passage. The keep is not recognisable. There appears to be no history of this castle. <1>

As described by RCAHMS. Resurveyed at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (R D) 26 February 1965.

The trench is c13m long and 4m deep. Many grass-covered foundations of structures of unknown period can be seen on the landward side of the promontory on either side of a raised central track. There is slight erosion of promontory only on the E side. <2>

Lamb (1980) records heavily robbed Castle of Brough as one of a group of promontory-sited castles which includes Borve (NC76SW 2) and Old Man of Wick (ND34NE 2). In each of these sites a feature is the keep, a large, plain tower, standing beside the approach, acting as a focus of defence and protecting buildings behind it, without actually being a gatehouse as in 15-16th century castles. He suggests that idea may be Scandinavian and compares these sites with 12th century Sverresborg in Trondheim and Lilleborg in Bornholm, a royal castle abandoned in 1259.
The site of Castle of Brough is a long, narrow promontory across the neck of which is a broad natural depression which has been enhanced to form a considerable flat-bottomed ditch. At the head of slope onto the promontory is a large mound of debris in a position corresponding to keep at Old Man of Wick and Borve. Seaward from this there are two ranges of buildings, identical in size and arrangement to those at Old Man of Wick, extending along the sides of the promontory and leaving a central pathway. At the end, where surface slopes down to rocks above the sea, the slope has been steeply scarped, a bank being made at the summit of the scarp and a ditch excavated at its foot, very much as at Borve. The Castle of Brough is entirely undocumented. <3>

The remains are as described by Lamb except that the keep he notes cannot be identified.
Visited by OS (N K B) 21 May 1981.

Mercer classifies 'Brough Castle' as a promontory fort measuring 36m N-S by 13m and 3m high. A bank and ditch cross the neck of the promontory and a series of scoops lie inside. <4>

1st ed OS shows "Fort (remains of) - HAW 10/2002

This site is included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <5>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 2283 7403 (300m by 300m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND27SW
Civil Parish DUNNET
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.