Scheduled Monument

Glebe Cottage, motte 30m NNE ofSM3141

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Secular: motte
Local Authority
NH 73827 49863
273827, 849863


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.

Statement of National Importance

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.



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.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 22/04/2024 01:16