Scheduled Monument

Ruthven Barracks, KingussieSM90255

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
Supplementary Information Updated
Secular: barracks; castle; motte
Local Authority
Kingussie And Insh
NN 76467 99751
276467, 799751


The monument consists of the ruins of a small 18th-century fort, known as Ruthven Barracks, constructed between 1719 and 1721 on the former site of a medieval castle, together with the motte on which these remains stand. The majority of the area is already scheduled, and the present scheduling merely extends the margins of the area on all sides to ensure that an adequate area is protected.

The fort comprises two opposed single-pile barrack blocks, each aligned NW-SE and containing three storeys and garret above a semi-basement. A central stairwell separates the two rooms on each floor, each measuring 5.5m x 5.2m. Loopholed enclosure walls join the outer angles of the barrack blocks, enclosing them and other structures (eg latrines) within an approximately square courtyard. The NW and SE ramparts of the enclosure are formed of a series of open-ended vaults forming gun embrasures. Above these ran wall-walks, from which access was gained to the upper storey of each of the angle-towers projecting from the E and W corners. The lower storey of the W tower contains a bread-oven and remains of a brew-house vat, and there was a basement below the ground floor of the E tower, possibly forming a cell with access from the guard-house above. The courtyard measures 28.35m NW-SE by 25.6m NE-SW externally, excluding the projecting towers. The barrack blocks were constructed with gun-loops in the rear walls, but those in the basement were soon blocked up. To the NW of the main barracks (as recommended by General Wade) a stable-block for 28 horses was built in 1734, and the remains of this survive. A postern was formed in the NW enclosure wall to allow access. Horses were used by dragoons acting as messengers on the military road network.

The barracks were built on the site, and over the remains, of an important early castle. The Comyns are said to have had a castle here when lords of Badenoch during the 13th century, and it was later owned by the Wolf of Badenoch. Ruthven and Lochindorb were the two main castles in Badenoch and Ruthven's position commanding the main route from Perth to Inverness gives it a very high strategic importance. During the 16th century the castle was rebuilt by the Earls of Huntly, but is said to have been demolished in 1689. Some remains of earlier work were excavated beneath the north-western part of the courtyard in 1983, and it is possible that some stonework around the edge of the mound may also be a survival from the castle.

The barracks were constructed for the Board of Ordnance by Sir Patrick Strachan of Glenkindie on land acquired from the Duke of Gordon at a cost of ?1,555-3s. They resisted attack by the Jacobite army on its way south in 1745, but succumbed in 1746 to the siege guns the Jacobites had by then acquired. The barracks served as a rallying-point for the Jacobites following Culloden, but were allowed to fall into ruin thereafter, as military strategy concentrated government forces in the Highlands in large forts rather than small barracks such as Ruthven. The site was re-acquired by the Duke of Gordon in 1792.

The mound on which the fort stands, although natural, appears to have been artificially scarped, and has traces of terraces. Many mottes had ditches and, although the surrounding ground is marshy, this possibility cannot be ignored. The site is also a likely point for prehistoric settlement.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, measuring a maximum of 165m NW-SE by a maximum of 140m NE-SW. It extends 10m from the foot of the mound except to the SE, where it extends to the side of the road, as indicated in red on the accompanying map. It includes the barracks, the mound, and an area where a ditch may have existed.



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Ruthven Barracks

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Related Designations


    Designation Type
    Listed Building (A)

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.

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Printed: 21/05/2024 01:39