Ancient Monuments

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Kerrowmore, motte and settlement 590m south of Innerwick

A Scheduled Monument in Highland, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.5912 / 56°35'28"N

Longitude: -4.2991 / 4°17'56"W

OS Eastings: 258913

OS Northings: 746730

OS Grid: NN589467

Mapcode National: GBR HCR9.9GX

Mapcode Global: WH3KK.XLZG

Entry Name: Kerrowmore, motte and settlement 590m S of Innerwick

Scheduled Date: 22 August 1974

Last Amended: 28 November 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3508

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Fortingall

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Highland

Traditional County: Perthshire


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 flat topped, sub-rectangular mound with two concentric terraces. To the west of the motte is an enclosed yard and to the southwest are remains of a settlement. The monument is located in a clearing within woodland in Glen Lyon at about 260m above sea level.

The motte is situated on ground directly above Allt Droma Uaine, a tributary stream of the nearby River Lyon. The site takes advantage of steep natural ground, particularly on the northern and eastern sides. The mound, a natural feature that has been significantly altered for defensive purposes, measures approximately 24m by 12m at the summit. The remains of a structure, surviving as a rectilinear footing, are visible on the summit. The summit is surrounded by an upper terrace measuring 2.5m in width while the lower terrace is of similar size. An enclosed yard extends west from the motte and a range of at least two conjoined structures adjoins the yard's southern side. At least three further structures lie parallel to the range to the south, beyond the line of a track. The structures are visible as turf and rubble footings, the largest measuring approximately 13m by 6m internally. Two structures adjacent to the stream are likely to be a mill and kiln.

The scheduled area is rectangular on plan and 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.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural significance

The monument's cultural significance has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics.

The monument includes a motte, a substantial earthwork expected to contain the archaeological remains of a timber or possibly stone castle. It is visible as a substantial mound with two concentric terraces. The earthwork appears to survive close to its original profile and extent and is in a stable condition. There is high potential for the survival of archaeological deposits, artefacts and ecofacts within and around the motte. The yard and related structures also survive in good condition and have excellent potential for buried archaeological remains.

Timber castles were built in Scotland in the 12th and 13th centuries and some continued in use into the 14th and 15th centuries. In this case scientific study could clarify the date of the motte, the date of the foundations on its summit, and the date and character of other nearby structures, adding to our knowledge of the form and function of early castles. The enclosed yard to the west of the motte may have been contemporary with it, serving as a bailey, or may be evidence for later expansion or re-use of the site. If contemporary with the motte, the settlement remains, including the mill and kiln, would be evidecne of a medieval high status site with a wide range of associated functions, increasing our understanding of the role of castles in medieval rural settlement. Artefacts and ecofacts have the potential to provide further information about the character of the site, enhancing understanding of the economy, diet and social status of the occupants, as well as providing information about contemporary land-use and environment.

Contextual Characteristics

There are around 300 fortified earthworks in Scotland dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. Many timber castles were associated with the establishment of Anglo-Norman lordships during and after the reign of King David I. They played a role in the consolidation of royal power and the development of centralised authority. This example is of additional significance as it displays evidence of a settlement at the foot of the motte. This and other castles of this date have the capacity to provide an insight into the feudalisation of this part of Scotland. Of particular interest is the potential to determine patterns of distribution, and duration and phases of use. Such patterns can aid our understanding of large-scale social changes, such as that brought by feudalisation, through time and within geographical disparate areas.

Kerrowmore is situated within Glen Lyon which would have been a main route across upland Perthshire. Around 9km east-northeast, on the opposite bank of the River Lyon, is Carnbane Castle, a tower house sitting on a possible earlier motte, (scheduled monument reference SM8996; Canmore ID 24516) and a further 21km northeast of Carnbane Castle is another motte known as Edradynate Castle (scheduled monument reference SM9512; Canmore ID 25713). The proximity of these monuments can give important insights into the distribution and chronology of medieval fortified earthworks in the region and add to our understanding of social organisation, patterns of land tenure and land-use. More specifically, the potential connection between Kerrowmore and Carnbane is of interest as the mottes may have controlled access through Glen Lyon. The monument, therefore, has the potential to broaden our understanding of the nature of medieval lordship, landownership and the organisation of territories in this area. It has the potential to broaden our understanding of the nature and chronology of medieval fortified earthworks and their place within the landscape of highland Perthshire.

In Scotland, mottes are typically sited in naturally defensible locations, often adapting a natural mound to form the motte, and Kerrowmore follows this pattern. It is located on a knoll, on locally steep ground and is adjacent to a stream feeding the more significant River Lyon around 225m north. The motte may have had distant views up and down Glen Lyon and would have been a highly prominent feature in the landscape.

Associative Characteristics

Historical documents and family histories associate the site with a John Stewart or John MacDougal who may have been the Laird of Glen Lyon known as Black John of the Spears. Black John is supposed to have held land in the Kerrowmore area in the second half of the 14th Century (Campbell 1888, 56).

Assessment of national importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the date, construction and function of medieval castles in upland Scotland. The monument retains its field characteristics and is a well-preserved example of its class, with little sign of disturbance. A yard and settlement adjacent to the motte suggest a complex development sequence and a variety of functions. The monument's significance is enhanced by its proximity to Carnbane Castle, probably on the site of another early motte, and it can enhance our knowledge of the distribution and chronology of medieval fortified earthworks in the region. The loss of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the character and development of medieval castles, settlement and land tenure in medieval upland Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 24233 (accessed on 22/09/2016).

Perth and Kinross Historic Environment Record ID MPK65 (accessed on 22/09/2016).

Campbell, D. (1888). The book of Garth and Fortingall: historical sketches relating to the districts of Garth, Fortingall, Athole and Breadalbane. Inverness.

Stewart, A. (1928). A Highland parish or the history of Fortingall. Glasgow.

Watson, W J. (1913). 'The circular forts of north Perthshire' in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 47.


HER/SMR Reference

Perth and Kinross Historic Environment Record ID MPK65

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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