Ancient Monuments

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Midmar, Church, settlement and (Cunningar) motte

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1431 / 57°8'35"N

Longitude: -2.4953 / 2°29'42"W

OS Eastings: 370126

OS Northings: 805910

OS Grid: NJ701059

Mapcode National: GBR X2.VZ0Q

Mapcode Global: WH8PD.MQZD

Entry Name: Midmar, Church, settlement and (Cunningar) motte

Scheduled Date: 21 February 1955

Last Amended: 2 June 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM100

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church; Secular: motte

Location: Midmar

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the site of the medieval settlement of Midmar. Its most prominent features are the motte, known as Cunningar Motte, and the old parish church. Between them is an area of open ground which is likely to contain the remains of the associated settlement. The motte was first scheduled in 1955 and this rescheduling is intended to incorporate all parts of the settlement.

The monument lies in improved grassland, occupying a gentle spur between two watercourses. The motte comprises an artificial mound of earth measuring approximately 40m in diameter, and upstanding to a height of about 10m. The summit of the motte appears to have been ringed by an earthen bank to support the palisade but this may be the result of previous rabbit damage (Cunningar means rabbit warren). At the foot of the motte there are traces, particularly to the SW, of an encircling ditch. The motte was constructed to form the defensive base for the timber residence of either a Norman lord or a Normanised indigenous nobleman, and is likely to date to the 12th or the 13th century. Lordly occupation of the motte had ceased by the 16th Century when Midmar Castle was built almost a kilometre to the SE.

The church as it stands dates from the 17th century but occupies the site of an earlier building. It is complete to wallheads and has been subdivided to form family burial enclosures. The church was abandoned in c.1787 when the new church was built over half a kilometre to the N.

The likelihood that the ground between the motte and the church contained the related settlement is supported by the difficulty which stone in this field presents to the plough. At the NE edge of the field there is a strip of land which contrasts clearly with the rest of the field and may mark the line of a road.

The NE and SW edges of the area to be scheduled are defined by the edges of the field. The area is irregular in shape measuring 230m from its northernmost corner to its southernmost, and 110m NNE-SSW, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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