Ancient Monuments

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Glebe Cottage, motte 30m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Culloden and Ardersier, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5213 / 57°31'16"N

Longitude: -4.1083 / 4°6'29"W

OS Eastings: 273827

OS Northings: 849863

OS Grid: NH738498

Mapcode National: GBR J87V.6VQ

Mapcode Global: WH4GB.V6VY

Entry Name: Glebe Cottage, motte 30m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 30 December 1971

Last Amended: 19 July 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3141

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Petty

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Culloden and Ardersier

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises a motte of medieval date, visible as a grass-covered mound. It lies 1 km from the S shore of the Moray Firth, within a private garden and between a vehicle track and burial ground. It was first scheduled in 1971, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains. The present rescheduling rectifies this.

The motte is approximately 50 m in diameter and stands over 5 m high. It has steep sides with a top platform measuring a maximum of 17 m in diameter. Mottes are mounds, usually artificial, which formed the foundations for timber (sometimes stone) castles. In Scotland these date from the 12th to 13th centuries, appearing in NE Scotland from around the third quarter of the 12th century. They were generally accompanied by baileys (enclosed courtyards for ancillary buildings), although there are no visible remains of a bailey at this site.

The area to be scheduled is sub-circular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of the greenhouse, garden shed, garden steps, fences and walls to allow for their mainenance.

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological and historical significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The motte is well preserved, retaining a good proportion of its estimated original shape, extent and structure, despite the impact of subsequent localised and more widespread disturbance (sand quarrying, rabbit colonies, invasive vegetation, flooding, fencing and power line poles). Although there is no record of any systematic investigation here, a piece of pottery picked out from the base of the mound was deposited at Elgin Museum in 1871. The site retains the potential to provide information about the date and nature of its construction and subsequent use, as well as sealing evidence for earlier land-use and environment. Evidence for structures associated with the use of the motte may also survive around its base.

Contextual characteristics

We know of around 300 mottes in Scotland, 100 or so from the NE of Scotland. Varying in form, they chart the extent of royal power, reflecting where land was granted to incomers in return for military service. The majority are found in peripheral parts of the kingdom where political unrest might be expected. Mottes therefore indicate where local power centres, often undocumented, are to be found. They also have have the potential to enable us to understand the impact of feudalism, patterns of land tenure and the evolution of the local landscape. Mottes are one of a range of later medieval castle types that are found in Scotland.

Associative characteristics

While we still have much to learn about the date, form and development of mottes in Scotland, they reflect the introduction of new, southern political ideas (feudalism) and foreign forms of castle building. With its characteristically prominent form, the construction and occupation of a motte such as this would have spoken loudly of the presence of new lords and new ways of doing things. Its coastal location emphasised this visibility. The influence of the new lords permeated all aspects of rural life. Auld Petty lay within the royal hunting reserve of Darnway, emphasising the close links between kings and the new nobility.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

National Importance

This monument is of national importance as the prominent remains of a motte and is a visual reminder of the advance of a new form of centralised, royal authority into north-eastern Scotland during the 12th and 13th centuries. As a high status site and a centre of local lordship, it can contribute to the relatively small body of knowledge for this process, as well as evidence for medieval rural land-use, settlement and economy. The well-preserved earthwork has the potential to provide information about its date, construction and use which can contribute to our understanding of the development and use of medieval castles in NE Scotland, and in Scotland in general.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NH74NW 3; Highland Council SMR as NH74NW0003 (copies of their short reports are appended).


Yeoman, P A 1988, Mottes in northeast Scotland. In, Scot Archaeol Rev, 5, 1988, 131, 132, 76, 107.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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