Ancient Monuments

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Randerston Castle, promontory fort and site of castle

A Scheduled Monument in East Neuk and Landward, Fife

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Latitude: 56.289 / 56°17'20"N

Longitude: -2.6187 / 2°37'7"W

OS Eastings: 361796

OS Northings: 710896

OS Grid: NO617108

Mapcode National: GBR 2Y.7RML

Mapcode Global: WH8TL.R654

Entry Name: Randerston Castle, promontory fort and site of castle

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6574

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort); Secular: castle

Location: Kingsbarns

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: East Neuk and Landward

Traditional County: Fife


The monument is an Iron Age promontory fort, visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs, which may have been modified for re-use in or before the early sixteenth century.

The monument comprises three concentric ditches which have been drawn across the neck of a short, blunt promontory. A clear central entrance gap is visible through the two outer ditches. The innermost ditch is markedly broader than the other two. This might suggest a change in construction, representing the strengthening of the defences of the Iron Age fort.

However, a castle is attested here in 1528 and it seems most likely that the prehistoric site was modified for re-use in or before the early sixteenth century. The farmer has noted a change of soil colour and increased soil stoniness when ploughing in the vicinity of the cropmark.

The castle of Randerston, mentioned in 1528, stood on the shore but no trace is visible on the ground today. The lands of 'Randalstown' are recorded in 1429, and the 'tower, fortalice and manor-place' in the 1663 Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum (Register of the Great Seal of Scotland). The name 'Randerston Castle' on the Ordnance Survey 1:10000 scale map is applied to a natural rock feature on the shore.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, bounded on the S and W by the arc of a circle and on the other sides by the high water mark of ordinary spring tides. This includes the whole of the area of the fort and an additional small area around it to the S and W. It also includes an area at the foot of the low cliffs and coastal slope, in which remains of associated structures and deposits may survive, together with a small cave.

From the shore to its furthest extent inland, the scheduled area is 125m wide. It measures a maximum of 220m NW-SE. The area is shown in red on the accompanying map extract. The modern fence lines are to be excluded from the scheduling, for ease of maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an impressive cropmark site indicating the presence of a substantial Iron Age fort. The monument has the potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric settlement and economy.

The ditches are likely to preserve significant archaeological deposits and it is highly likely that other important prehistoric archaeological remains survive in the interior of the monument and immediately outwith its ditches, as well as on the coastal platform below.

Unusually, this prehistoric site appears to have been re-used in the medieval period, and the archaeological remains of a medieval castle are highly likely to survive within the scheduled area. The medieval site itself, as well as the nature of the medieval modifications to the prehistoric site, are also of importance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NO 61 SW 4.


Ordnance Survey (Name Book) Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, No. 84, 22.

RCAHMS (1933) Eleventh report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the counties of Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan Edinburgh, 177, No. 356.

Rodgers, C. (ed.) (1877) Register of the Collegiate Church of Crail, No. 95.

Welfare, H. (1980) 'Jigsaw puzzle and dustbin: air photography and the Iron Age in southern Scotland', Scot Archaeol Forum, vol. 10, 2.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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