Ancient Monuments

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Castleton, site of castle 90m south east of The Feathers

A Scheduled Monument in Kirriemuir and Dean, Angus

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.6067 / 56°36'24"N

Longitude: -3.0881 / 3°5'17"W

OS Eastings: 333302

OS Northings: 746618

OS Grid: NO333466

Mapcode National: GBR VG.XSQ0

Mapcode Global: WH6PK.J6PL

Entry Name: Castleton, site of castle 90m SE of The Feathers

Scheduled Date: 15 October 1975

Last Amended: 20 June 2017

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3554

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Eassie and Nevay

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Kirriemuir and Dean

Traditional County: Angus

Description

The monument is the site of a castle, likely to date from the 12th or 13th centuries AD. It is visible as a generally flat topped rectangular mound, defined by a deep ditch and internal bank around the east side and a steep scarp and stream around the west. The ditch is broken by a causeway on the southeast.  The monument is located on the level valley floor of Strathmore, at about 50m above sea level.

The mound measures 89m from northeast to southwest by 67m southeast to northwest. The highest section of the mound is at the southwest end and is partially occupied by a house but the remaining portion suggests it was sub-oval on plan.  The mound is flanked by a ditch up to 15m wide and 5m deep on the east side with an internal bank measuring up to about one metre in height and around four metres wide at the base.

The scheduled area is irregular 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. The scheduling specifically excludes all modern boundary fences and boundary walls, the top 30cm of the driveway, parking area and paths, the above-ground elements of all garden walls and steps, wooden handrails, barbeque area, concrete base and hut, footbridge, climbing frame, telegraph pole, summerhouse, garden lights, 19th century memorial stone and the south piers of the road bridge.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows

Intrinsic Characteristics


The monument consists of a series of substantial earthworks likely to contain the archaeological remains of a timber or possibly stone castle. It is visible as a substantial mound, likely a modified natural knoll, and a series of ditches and ramparts. Although a house and garden have been constructed across the summit of the mound, the monument appears to survive close to its original extent.

There is good potential for the survival of archaeological deposits, artefacts and ecofacts within, beneath and around the motte and bailey, and in the base of the ditch. In the 19th century Edward I coins and a spearhead was found at the site.  Buried archaeological deposits have the potential to provide information about the date and character of the site. Artefacts and ecofacts would enhance understanding of the economy, diet and social status of the occupants, as well as provide information about contemporary landuse and environment. Scientific study of the form and construction of the monument and the remains of any structures would enhance our understanding of the character, structure and development sequence of this site and add to our knowledge of early castle architecture.

Timber castles were built in Scotland in the 12th and 13th centuries and some continued in use into the 14th and 15th centuries. It is possible that the mound and ditches and banks may contain evidence for more than one constructional phase. Scientific study of the monument would allow us to develop a better understanding of the chronology of the site, including its date of origin, the nature of any structures and later re-use.

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 royal authority.

This example is one of a small number of similar sites in the region, including Castle of Rattray, motte and bailey (Canmore ID 30764) and Meikleour motte (scheduled monument reference SM7293; Canmore ID 28558). 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 widely, Castleton is part of a larger regional group of mottes and medieval fortified earthworks in eastern Scotland. The monument, therefore, has the potential to broaden our understanding of the nature of medieval lordship and organisation of territories in this area. It has the potential to broaden our understanding of the nature and chronology of medieval castles and their place within the landscape of eastern Scotland.

Early castles are often sited in defensible and prominent locations, making defensive use of natural features. Castleton is located on a mound that is likely at least partially natural, forming a prominent feature within Strathmore. Defences enhance the steeply sloping sides of the mound on the northeast and southeast, while a stream defines the northwest and southwest sides. The position of the monument in the landscape can enhance our understanding of the status of the site, communications and relationships with other territories, and the nature of land ownership and control during the medieval period.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known significant associative characteristics which contribute to the site's cultural significance.

Statement of national importance

The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant addition to our understanding of the date, construction and function of medieval castles. It is an impressive monument that retains its field characteristics. Early castles were local power centres in the medieval period and as such this monument would have been an important component of the wider medieval rural landscape. The monument's significance is enhanced by its proximity to similar, contemporary sites. Together these sites can enhance our knowledge of the distribution and chronology of medieval fortified earthworks in the region. The loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the character and development of medieval castles, settlement and land tenure in medieval Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 32134 (accessed on 09/12/2016).

Local Authority SMR Reference NO34NW0005 (accessed on 09/12/2016).

Christison, D. (1900) The forts, "camps", and other field-works of Perth, Forfar and Kincardine , Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 34, 1899-1900, p53

RCAHMS. (1984) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of central Angus, 2 (medieval and later), Angus District, Tayside Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 22.

RCAHMS. (1950-9) Marginal Land Survey (unpublished typed site descriptions), 3 volumes.

Stell, G. (1985) Provisional list of mottes in Scotland , in Simpson, G G and Webster, B, Charter evidence and the distribution of mottes in Scotland , in Stringer, K J, Essays on the nobility of medieval Scotland. Edinburgh.

Canmore

https://canmore.org.uk/site/32134/


HER/SMR Reference

NO34NW0005

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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