Scheduled Monument

Old House of Keppoch,motte 250m SE of KeppochSM6323

Status: Designated

Documents

Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/termsandconditions).

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.

Summary

Date Added
05/03/1996
Supplementary Information Updated
03/02/2021
Type
Secular: bailey; castle; moat; motte
Local Authority
Highland
Parish
Kilmonivaig
NGR
NN 27061 80772
Coordinates
227061, 780772

Description

The monument consists of the earthwork remains of a castle, standing near the junction of the Rivers Roy and Spean.

The site is the end of a natural spur of land some 6m high, running approximately NW-SE. Ditches have been dug across the spur to isolate 3 mounds. The northernmost mound measures 40m NW-SE and tapers from 30m to 16m SW-NE. An earthen bank remains along much of the perimeter and although no stone is now visible it is possible either that this covers the footings of a stone curtain wall or that it originally supported a wooden palisade. There is a break in the bank at the NW end, where an entrance may have been located.

Towards the SE end of this mound is a rectangular hollow, which may mark the former position of a well. The middle mound measures approximately 6m NW-SE by 9m SW-NE, although it may originally have been larger. Its top is slightly lower than the northernmost mound. The southernmost mound (which may possibly have formed part of the system of defences rather than supported accomodation) measures approximately 12m NW-SE by 5m SW-NE.

A bank runs from this mound towards the northernmost mound, enclosing the SW side of the middle mound, and both this bank and the NW side of the southernmost mound contain significant amounts of stone. It is suggested that the castle was moated to the N and W. The castle appears to have taken the form of a motte and bailey, a form generally ascribed elsewhere in Scotland to the 12th-14th centuries.

A house or castle is recorded as having been built on this site at the beginning of the 16th century by the 6th Chief of the clan, MacDonnel of Keppoch. It is likely, however, that the site had been fortified at an earlier date than this and that this record refers to rebuilding work. It is said that after the incident known as the Keppoch murder took place in 1663 the castle was pulled down.

The scheduled area is irregular in shape, measuring a maximum of 170m NNW-SSE by a maximum of 85m WSW-ENE, as defined in red on the enclosed map. It includes the castle, its ditch to its NW, and extends 5m to the SW of the edge of the track at the foot of the mounds to include an area where it is likely that a moat existed. It excludes the surface of the modern track along the N and SW sides of the mound and the above-ground structure of modern fences and gates.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the earthwork remains of a castle, recorded from the 16th century and possibly of early medieval date. Earthwork castles of this type are extremely rare in the Western Highlands, where rocky knolls frequently provided naturally fortified sites.

Study of the remains can contribute to our understanding of the development of medieval fortification, the influence of lowland Scottish architectural forms of the Highlands, and of the structure of society in the Highlands in the medieval and early modern periods, as well as of medieval domestic life and material culture.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NN 28 SE 2.

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 www.historicenvironment.scot.

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

Images

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Printed: 24/10/2021 13:35