Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Balcastle Farm, motte 250m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire

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Latitude: 55.9789 / 55°58'44"N

Longitude: -4.0831 / 4°4'59"W

OS Eastings: 270114

OS Northings: 678175

OS Grid: NS701781

Mapcode National: GBR 16.W6PK

Mapcode Global: WH4PQ.7ZXC

Entry Name: Balcastle Farm, motte 250m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1967

Last Amended: 27 April 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2584

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Kilsyth

County: North Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Kilsyth

Traditional County: Stirlingshire


The monument is a motte, the earthwork mound of a castle likely to date from the 12th or 13th centuries AD. It is visible as a substantial mound with a ditch and bank to the north. The monument is located at the foot of the Kilsyth Hills at about 95m above sea level and has extensive views along the Kelvin Valley.

The motte is situated at the confluence of two streams and was constructed by enhancing a natural knoll. The mound  rises approximately 3.5m above the ground level of the field and about 12m above the banks of the surrounding stream. Three courses of a stone revetment is intermittently visible under the turf near the base of the motte along the northern arc. The mound has a flat oval summit which measures about 35m northwest-southeast by 26m transversely. There is a later track ascending the northeast flank of the mound. The ditch measures 5m in width and survives to a depth of 0.20m and the bank to a width of 1.5m and to a height of  0.20m high.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan and bounded by the streams to the east, west and south. The scheduled area includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of the post and wire fence. The monument was last scheduled in 1967 but the documentation does not meet current standards; the present scheduling rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the dating, construction and function of  medieval castles. The monument retains its field characteristics and is a well-preserved example of its class, with little sign of disturbance other than a later track. Comparison with other excavated examples suggests that we can expect evidence for internal buildings and perimeter defences to survive. The monument's significance is enhanced as it is located in relatively close proximity to other mottes along the Kelvin Valley. This can enhance our knowledge of the distribution and chronology of medieval fortified earthworks in this area. The loss of this motte would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand medieval castles, settlement and land tenure, in medieval Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 45883 (accessed on 26/04/2016).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference: 9980.

Coventry, M 2001 The castles of Scotland Musselburgh, 68

RCAHMS 1963 The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Stirlingshire: an inventory of the ancient monuments, 2v Edinburgh, 173-4, 182

RCAHMS 1982 The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District and Strathkelvin District, Strathclyde Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 2. Revision Edinburgh, 10

Tabraham, C 2005, Scotland's Castles


HER/SMR Reference

North lanakshire SMR ref: 9980

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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