Scheduled Monument

Kingsbarns Castle, 700m NE of KingsbarnsSM7691

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
Secular: castle; moat
Local Authority
NO 59866 12668
359866, 712668


The monument comprises the site of a medieval castle within concentric ditches, visible as a cropmark on vertical aerial photographs. The castle itself is no longer visible but is known from documentary evidence.

The monument lies in arable farmland at around 15m OD and is located on the top edge of a steep incline down towards the sea. It comprises a series of three concentric ditches each up to 3m wide, enclosing a semi-circular shaped area which lies on either side of a modern field boundary. The only visible break in the ditches coincides with the modern boundary and is unlikely to represent an entrance.

The remains of another semi-circular feature, about 25m in diameter, are visible within the enclosed area. This cropmark is fainter than the ditches, suggesting that it may represent a less substantial feature such as a palisaded enclosure. Overall, the monument has maximum measurements of about 85m NW-SE by about 40m wide NE-SW.

The castle is known from documentary sources. In 1836 the Reverend George Wright noted: 'the form of a moat is still discernible immediately above the sea-beach ... where what was called the castle of Kingsbarns once stood. The remains of its foundations, composed of large and mossy stones, regularly laid, were a few years ago removed by the present tenant'.

In 1845 it was reported that the moat was still visible and the site of the castle is shown as a circular ditched enclosure on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1855. It is very likely that archaeological traces of the castle survive below ground within the ditches, and possibly to the NE on the upper part of the steep incline.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, together with the upper part of the steep incline to the NE. The area is approximately semi-circular in shape with maximum dimensions of 95m NW-SE by 70m NE-SW, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of the form, function and organisation of medieval castles, and to our understanding of medieval settlement and economy more generally. It may be expected to contain material relating to the structural history, economy and environment of the site.



RCAHMS records the monument as NO 51 SE 21.

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: 02/12/2022 10:29