Ancient Monuments

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Muness Castle

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.6885 / 60°41'18"N

Longitude: -0.8495 / 0°50'58"W

OS Eastings: 462935

OS Northings: 1201141

OS Grid: HP629011

Mapcode National: GBR S07H.CBD

Mapcode Global: XHF7K.CLQW

Entry Name: Muness Castle

Scheduled Date: 15 December 1953

Last Amended: 28 August 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90224

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Unst

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises a castle built at the end of the 16th century. It is in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland and is being re-scheduled to clarify the extent of the protected area.

The monument lies in grassland, at around 10m OD. It comprises Muness Castle, constructed in 1598 by Laurence Bruce, foud, sheriff-depute and chamberlain of the lordship lands of Shetland. It consists of an oblong building measuring about 22m NW-SE by about 8m transversely, with a circular tower attached to the N and S corners respectively and corbelled turrets to the other two corners. The main block of the castle comprised a first-floor hall between chambers leading into closets within the rounds, set above vaulted cellarage including a kitchen and below a further suite of chambers within an attic storey. To the SW of the castle earthworks betray the former existence of a south-facing garden. Remains of ancillary buildings may be expected to survive beneath the topsoil in the immediate surrounding area.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described, the wall immediately surrounding the castle and an area to the S and W within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular on plan, with maximum dimensions of 83m NE-SW by 55m NW-SE.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of what it contributes to our understanding of late 16th to early 17th century domestic and defensive architecture. Its significance is further enhanced by the role that its builder, Laurence Bruce, played in the political history of Shetland during the time of the Stewart earls of Orkney and by the potential that its below-ground remains have for shedding light on the material culture of the period. Its importance is reflected in its status as a Property in Care of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HP60SW 2.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Muness Castle
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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