Scheduled Monument

Dooket Hill, motte and doocot, AuldearnSM9293

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

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: doocote, dovecote, pigeon loft; motte
Local Authority
NH 91715 55626
291715, 855626


The monument consists of the remains of an earth and timber castle situated on the NW edge of the village of Auldearn. The earthwork is surmounted by a 17th century Doocot.

The castle is associated with William the Lion (1165-1214) and is believed to have been a royal castle, although the evidence is slight. King William signed the second burgh charter of Inverness at Auldearn some time after 1180 and the Earl of Ross submitted to Robert the Bruce there in 1308.

The remains of the earth and timber castle consist of a motte. It measures 59.0m in diameter externally by 8.0m high. The flat central area enclosed by a rampart, measures 32.0m E-W by 27.0m transversely, in the centre of which is a 17th century dovecot. No traces of outer defences can be identified although the traces of a ditch could apparently be identified earlier this century. The motte is associated with the burgh of Auldearn, which also was first mentioned in the reign of William the Lion.

An evaluation on a site immediately to the SW of the motte revealed several isolated pits and gullies, which may be associated with the occupation or construction of the motte. A large ditch oriented SE-NW was located on the SE edge of the evaluation area, perhaps representing the remains of the outer defences of the motte, but was not identified elsewhere.

The area to be scheduled includes the motte and an area around it which archaeological evaluation has shown has the potential for associated archaeology. The area to be scheduled has maximum dimensions of about 98m N-S and 79m transversely. The eastern boundary consists of the masonry retaining wall of the motte and runs along the exterior of boundary fences of Numbers 12 and 14 Doocot road.

The boundary fences are themselves excluded from the scheduling. The N, S and W boundary of the scheduled area lies 20m from the base of the motte. The doocot is also included in the schedule.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved motte. The archaeology of this monument has the potential greatly to increase our knowledge about the construction techniques, defences and domestic life of such early castles. The association of the motte with the burgh of Auldearn and the medieval church lying 190m ESE may inform about the nature of the feudalisation of Scotland.



RCAHMS records the monument as NH 95 NW 11 and NH 95 NW 8.


Glendinning, B. (1999) 'Dooket Hill Motte (Auldearn parish), evaluation', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 52.

Yeoman, P. A. (1988) 'Mottes in Northeast Scotland', Scot Archaeol Rev, 5, 1988, 131, no. 72.

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


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to Dooket Hill, motte and doocot, Auldearn

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 24/10/2021 14:02