Ancient Monuments

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Drumin Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Speyside Glenlivet, Moray

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Latitude: 57.3563 / 57°21'22"N

Longitude: -3.3573 / 3°21'26"W

OS Eastings: 318436

OS Northings: 830345

OS Grid: NJ184303

Mapcode National: GBR L928.NT3

Mapcode Global: WH6KR.DCJG

Entry Name: Drumin Castle

Scheduled Date: 3 March 1965

Last Amended: 7 March 2023

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM356

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Inveravon

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Speyside Glenlivet

Traditional County: Banffshire


The monument comprises the remains of Drumin Castle, a medieval tower house, located on the edge of a steep promontory to the southeast of the confluence of the rivers Avon and Livet. 

The monument is a tower house believed to have been built in the late 14th century by a member of Stewart family. It is constructed of coursed rubble masonry with walls up to 3m thick on the ground floor and 2.2m thick above this. Originally standing to four stories in height, the northwest wall and 6.5m of the northeast wall of the castle survive to wall head height. The wall head retains elements of corbelling and fragments of the parapet wall. The southeast end of the castle has collapsed and its rubble removed. The ground floor is barrel vaulted with slit windows and a blocked recess in the northwest wall. The upper floors had timber floors supported on joists, the stone corbels for which can still be seen. The tower has a number of fireplaces, including one on the third floor with surviving roll moulding. The third floor also has a latrine in the north corner which has a chute through to the exterior wall, and two windows in the northwest wall. In the 19th or 20th century a small structure with two rooms and a sloping roof was built at the southeast end of the castle. This room was used as a store and had a flue built into the southeast wall to support a stove or boiler. At this time a stairway to the first floor was also created and this runs along the remains of southwestern wall - the original stair would have been in the collapsed part of the tower.  

The scheduled area is rectangular and measures 23m by 17m. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. All above ground elements of the fire pit base, gates,  fencing, garden walls and interpretation sign as well as the top 200mm of modern paths are specifically excluded from the schedule to allow for the their maintenance. 

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17): 

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past as a medieval castle. In particular,  it is an early example of a tower house  and therefore adds to our understanding of the development of castellated architecture and the siting of castles in the landscape.

b.   The monument retains structural, architectural or other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the northwest wall and part of the northeast wall survive to wall head height with surviving fragments of the parapet corbelling and wall. The monument retains important architectural features such as parapet corbelling, gun loops and a roll moulded fireplace. 

d.   The monument is a particularly good example of an early tower house. It is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

e.   The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, its study would contribute to our understanding of Scottish castle architecture and historical research could provide a better understanding of its phases of construction;  its later use and abandonment. 

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape and our understanding of the historic landscape. In particular, sited at a strategic location with views of three valley it was the core of the Barony of Inveravon and continues to provide a strong physical reminder of the area's medieval past. The monument can also be studied alongside other fortifications in the area to better understand their relationship as well as the castles role in the development, control and administration of the surrounding landscape.

g.  The monument has significant associations with historical figures such as Alexander Stewart, son of King Robert II, also known as the Wolf of Badenoch his son Andrew Stewart and the Barons of Inveravon. 

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

Drumin Castle is a good example of an early tower house castle dating to the 14th century. Although the southeastern half of the tower is now missing, the surviving elements retain important features including the remains of a ground floor barrel vault, window openings and fireplaces, some of which still retain their mouldings. Of particularly importance is the surviving elements of the wall head arrangement. Although only fragmentary this includes corbelling and parts of the parapet wall, which rarely survive from such early towers. The evidence shows that the wall head was finished with a rubble parapet wall resting on corbels and a moulded wall plate. The form of the corbelling near to the southwest corner indicated that here the parapet wall projected out further with open corbeling to form a machicolation, while at the corners there were corbelled turrets. 

The castle is thought to have been occupied for a relatively short period of time, though later interior modification is suggested by the inclusion of a roll moulded fireplace on the third floor. Archaeological investigation carried out in 1996 established that no deposits dating to the medieval period remained within the stone structure. However, stratified archaeological deposits and evidence of ancillary structures, courtyard or bailey may survive outside the tower house itself. A mound beneath the garden wall at the northwest of the tower may represent the remains of an earlier enclosure. A possible roof-raggle on the northeast wall suggests a range of buildings may have stood between the tower house and the slope above the river. 

Castles are a fortified building or complex of buildings constructed during the medieval period. Some castles remained in use for an extended period of time and were administrative and economic centres as well as the fortified residences of societal elites. Castles were often expanded or remodelled to accommodate changes in function, technology, architectural style and ownership.  There is the potential to study the physical characteristics of this castle to better understand its construction and use. Further historical research could provide a better understanding of its decline and abandonment. Archaeological investigation of the areas immediately adjacent to the castle could confirm the suggested date of construction t in the 14th century and the existence of any earlier fortification ancillary buildings and enclosures. 

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

Tower houses are a widespread but diverse class of monument across Scotland. They became a popular form of elite residence with the Scottish nobility and lairdly class from the later 14th century perhaps influenced by David II building a tower house at Edinburgh Castle (David's Tower, mid-14th century). Towers houses continued to be the chosen architectural form for the residences of Scottish elites throughout the late medieval and early post-medieval periods. Tower houses provided a degree of security but were also a means of displaying wealth, social status and martial knowledge. This example is of particular significance in our understanding of the development of tower houses due to its early date and the remaining elements of its wall head, which is a rare survival. 

The monument is located on a ridge of land with steep drops to the north and east approximately 360m to the southeast of the confluence of the rivers Avon and Livet. With views over three valleys this was a defensive and strategic position. The castle would have been clearly visible and an impressive statement of power and authority during the medieval period. 

Other castles  in the area include Deskie Castle (scheduled monument SM2341; 1.4km east) which is traditionally held to be medieval but may have earlier origins and Blairfindy Castle, 20m N of Castleton (scheduled monument SM105; 2.2km southeast) a medieval L-shaped tower house completed in 1564 (Canmore 15970). It is a later tower house and the seat of the Barony of Inveravon was moved from Drumin Castle to Blairfindy Castle when it was acquired by the Gordons. 

There is the potential to study the monument in relation to other castles in the area and wider Scotland. This could help us to better understand the medieval landscape and the role of Drumin castle in its development, control and administration. 

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

The monument is traditionally associated with Alexander Stewart, third son of King Robert II, also known as the Wolf of Badenoch, who it is believed to have been built for. He was granted the lands of Inveravon in the late 14th century. Alternatively the castle was established by Sir Andrew Stewart, the illegitimate son of Alexander Stewart. The castle was the core of the lordship of Inveravon. In the late 15th  century the castle was sold to the Gordons who would move the seat of the Barony to Blairfindy Castle. After this Drumin Castle fell into decline and was eventually abandoned as a lordly residence. 

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 16027 (accessed on 28/10/2022).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference NJ13SE0002 (accessed on 28/10/2022).

Alexander, D. (1996g) 'Drumin Castle, Glenlivet (Inveravon parish), 14th-century tower', Discovery Excavation in Scotland, 1996. Page(s): 76

MacGibbon and Ross, D and T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v. Edinburgh. Page(s): Vol. 3, 134


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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