Ancient Monuments

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Pitfoddels Castle, motte 30m east of Norwood

A Scheduled Monument in Airyhall/Broomhill/Garthdee, Aberdeen City

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Latitude: 57.1176 / 57°7'3"N

Longitude: -2.1497 / 2°8'58"W

OS Eastings: 391035

OS Northings: 802973

OS Grid: NJ910029

Mapcode National: GBR S45.7F

Mapcode Global: WH9QW.YCJD

Entry Name: Pitfoddels Castle, motte 30m E of Norwood

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1975

Last Amended: 8 December 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3744

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Peterculter

County: Aberdeen City

Electoral Ward: Airyhall/Broomhill/Garthdee

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle, which controlled a nearby ford across the River Dee. The monument was first scheduled in 1975, but subsequent development of Norwood Hall Hotel, immediately adjacent, has necessitated the present re-scheduling.

The motte, known as Castleheugh, comprises an irregular oval mound c.40m long by 25m wide, with regularly scarped sides. This is surmounted by a smaller mound with an artificial level top measuring 7m by 3m. The site as a whole stands to a maximum height of c.4.5m. The ground surface immediately around the motte is flat and grassed over. The presence of a bailey was recorded in 1961 but no trace of it is visible today; it may have been removed by landscaping around the motte.

Originally Pitfoddels belonged to the Moray family, passing in the late 14th century to the Reids. In the early 16th century, it passed by marriage to the Menzies, and it was probably they who were responsible for erecting a late medieval stone-built castle within the bailey of the earlier motte. This castle was ruinous by the 18th century but the site remained in the hands of the Menzies until 1843.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, with maximum dimensions of 70m from its easternmost to its westernmost point by 32m due N-S to include the motte and an area around it in which evidence relating to its construction and use may be expected to survive. The geogrid access road and car parking area is excluded from scheduling to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the substantial remains of a medieval motte. Although partly damaged by recent development and earlier landscaping, it retains considerable potential to provide important information about the architecture and use of defensive and domestic structures in medieval period, and about their place in the contemporary landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NJ 90 SW 1.


Bogdan, N. Q. and Bryce, I. B. D. (1988) Directory of the Castles, Manors and Town Houses of Scotland (c 1052-c 1707) Scottish Castle Survey and Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (NE Group), 16.

Robertson, J. (ed) (1843) Collections for a History of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, Aberdeen (78, 264-6).

Stell, G. (1972) 'Provisional list of mottes in Scotland', in Simpson, G. G. and Webster, B. (edd) 'Charter Evidence and the Distribution of Mottes in Scotland', Chateau Gaillard, v, 175-92 (180, No. 18).

Stell, G. (1985) 'Provisional list of mottes in Scotland', in Stringer, K. J. (ed) Essays on the Nobility of medieval Scotland, 13-21 (14, No. 18)

Yeoman, P. (1984) 'Excavations at the Castlehill of Strachan', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot. 114, 315-364 (317, No. 9).

Yeoman, P. (1987) 'Mottes in northeast Scotland', Scot Arch Rev 5 (parts 1 & 2), 125-33 (130, No. 4).

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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