Ancient Monuments

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Dingwall Castle, 20m south west of The Castle House

A Scheduled Monument in Dingwall and Seaforth, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5977 / 57°35'51"N

Longitude: -4.4225 / 4°25'21"W

OS Eastings: 255318

OS Northings: 858999

OS Grid: NH553589

Mapcode National: GBR H8GN.0YP

Mapcode Global: WH3DP.19BB

Entry Name: Dingwall Castle, 20m SW of The Castle House

Scheduled Date: 13 February 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM9678

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Dingwall

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Dingwall and Seaforth

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument consists of the remains of Dingwall Castle, situated in the private garden of The Castle House.

The castle was one of the two Scottish strongholds marked on Matthew Paris' map of 1259. It was first held for the crown by the Mormaer of Ross and in 1291 it was held by William of Bratroft who delivered the fortress to John Balliol on the orders of Edward I. After the reconcilation of Robert I with William, fourth earl of Ross, Dingwall Castle became the seat of the family until the forfeiture of the earldom in 1476, when the castle became the property of the Crown.

James IV, on a number of visits to Tain, stayed at Dingwall Castle and the Crown continued to appoint keepers until 1584 when James VI granted it to Sir Andrew Keith who was subsequently created Lord Dingwall. The castle site was largely levelled in 1818, but was depicted in a town plan published in 1821 as being on an isolated mound about 100 feet in overall diameter, and about 40 feet in diameter across the top.

The remains of the castle are now extremely fragmentary, consisting of a small circular tower about 3.5 m in diameter, standing to a height of about 2.5m, with walls 0.5m thick (this tower may be a later addition, relating to the landscaping associated with the house built after 1818). Attached to the NE side of the tower is a large block of masonry 3m wide and standing to a height of about 3m, and on the north-west side of the tower project the remains of a wall about 1.5m long and 7m high.

To the west of the tower is a large mass of masonry covered with ivy, probably the remains of a wall. This stands to a height of about 3m. About 10m to the SW of the round tower is the entrance to a small underground barrel vault, measuring 5m in length, by about 2m in width and about 1.5m in height.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains mentioned above and an area around them, in which associated remains could be expected to be found. The area is roughly rectangular in shape and has maximum dimensions of 18m NE-SW and 8m transversely as marked in red on the attached map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the last fragments of Dingwell Castle, the seat of the earls of Ross, and a royal castle. The archaeology of this monument has the potential to greatly increase our knowledge about such monuments and the earldom of Ross. The presence of the castle at Dingwall probably accounts for the formation and growth of the burgh of Dingwall.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NH 55 NE 4.00.


MacDonald, Polson and Brown, D. A. and J. (1931) The book of Ross, Sutherland and Caithness, Orkney and Shetland: descriptive, historical and antiquarian notes, Dingwall, 28-30.

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries', II, 5v, Edinburgh, Vol. 4, 390.

MaeRae, N. (1923) The romance of a royal burgh: Dingwall's story of a thousand years, Dingwall, 48-76.

Mackenzie, W. M. (1927) The medieval castle in Scotland, London, 30.

McInnes, C. T. (1940) 'Calendar of writs of Munro of Foulis 1299-1823', Scot Rec Soc, 72, Edinburgh, Nos. 5, 6, 8, 12, 15, 18, 21.

OSA (1791-9) The statistical account of Scotland, drawn up from the communications of the ministers of the different parishes, Sir John Sinclair (ed.), Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 16.

Scottish Burgh Survey (1982) Historic Dingwall: the archaeological implications of development.

RCAHMS (1979) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites an monuments of Easter Ross, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series No. 6, Edinburgh, 30, No. 255.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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