Scheduled Monument

Castle of CowieSM9742

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Secular: castle
Local Authority
NO 88375 87149
388375, 787149


This monument consists of the remains of a medieval castle. The only remains of the castle visible today consist of a length of masonry which formed the plinth of a wall cutting across the promontory.

The promontory is close to the fine medieval chapel at Cowie and commands a view down the coast to Dunnottar. A later trench cuts into part of the promontory showing that it has a considerable build up of soils. The site is likely therefore to be archaeologically highly sensitive.

Cowie Castle is thought to have been a royal hunting lodge.

Tradition states that James IV prayed at the neighbouring chapel and Cowie may have played a role as a royal lodging house on journeys which involved Stonehaven harbour. Although now isolated, it is likely that the medieval burgh of Cowie was adjacent to the castle.

The site is irregular on plan being defined to the NW by the field boundary and on the other sides by the foot of the slope of the promontory. It measures approximately 50m N-S by 70m and is marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance as the site of a medieval castle. The archaeology of the site has the potential to greatly increase our understanding of the form and use of buildings of this type.



RCAHMS records the monument as NO 88 NE 21.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. 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 8716 or at


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Printed: 26/03/2019 14:10