Scheduled Monument

Mote of Annan, motte-and-bailey castle, 70m SSW of Moat HouseSM702

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: bailey; motte
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
NY 19210 66755
319210, 566755


The monument comprises a motte-and-bailey castle dating to the 12th century AD. It survives as large, elongated earthworks under a mixture of parkland and mature amenity woodland. The W half of the monument has been denuded by substantial riverbank erosion. Motte-and-bailey castles are one of the main forms of medieval defensive works in Scotland, beginning in the early 12th century and characterising local centres of administration, economy and land tenure. The monument is located between the W edge of the town of Annan and the E bank of the River Annan at approximately 10m above sea level. The monument was first scheduled in 1954 but an inadequate area was included to protect all the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

This motte and bailey consists of a roughly circular earth and stone mound (the motte) up to approximately 15m in diameter and 6m high. An outer ditch that partly surrounds the E side probably provided some of the building material for the mound itself. The top of the motte is now uneven but originally its platform supported a timber castle. The protected outer enclosure (the bailey) was formed from a series of defensive ditches that created upcast material for a raised internal platform. The bailey is separated from the motte by a ditch and extends south of it for approximately 260m. As with the motte, it was probably originally protected by a wooden palisade and also contained timber buildings.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes all walls, fences and other modern boundaries, as well as the top 300mm of all existing paths, to allow for their maintenance.

Statement of National Importance

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The motte-and-bailey castle at Annan is well preserved, retaining a large proportion of its estimated original shape, extent and structure, despite the impact of riverbank erosion along its western half. It has 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 the local environment. The date of abandonment of the castle is uncertain, but it seems part of it was swept away by the river Annan in the 12th century. This is significant because it means that Anglo-Norman occupation was short-lived and that later military activity did not destroy earlier evidence for the use of the castle.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is a large example of a class of over 300 fortified earthworks dating from the 12th century that are clustered across Scotland. It forms part of group that stretches from the River Clyde to the Solway Firth and is significant not only in its size but its position, controlling land that formed part of the disputed territory between Scotland and England. Some researchers suggest that it was part of a more strategic initiative to conclusively hold the border territory between the Irish Sea and the North Sea.

Associative characteristics

The earthwork remains of timber castles are the most visible reminders of the Anglo-Norman landscape in this part of Scotland, where they are a reflection of the establishment of royal control. The monument has a direct association with Robert the Bruce through his father. Robert Bruce was granted the castle and the lands of Annadale in 1124 by David I and, despite its relatively short occupation, it was influential in the strategic control of this part of the Scottish/English border. It is a good example of a type of fortification associated with the development of feudal land tenure in Scotland.

National Importance

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 construction and function of medieval lordly residences and defended sites built in the 12th century and their role in the security and control of land, including at the border with England. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the construction and use of such monuments, their placing within the contemporary landscape, and the social structure and economy of the time.



RCAHMS record the site as NY16NE 4.


McNeill P G B and MacQueen H L 1996, ATLAS OF SCOTTISH HISTORY TO 1707, The Scottish Medievalists and Department of Geography, University of Edinburgh: Edinburgh.



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

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 25/07/2024 10:29