Scheduled Monument

Knockhall CastleSM5577

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: castle; manor house
Local Authority
NJ 99358 26458
399358, 826458


The monument consists of the remains of Knockall Castle, a sixteenth- century towerhouse with late seventeenth-century additions. It was possessed by the Udny family but was temporarily captured by Earl Marischal, a covenanter, in 1639. Knockhall fell into ruin after it was accidentally burnt in 1734.

The towerhouse is situated 150m ESE of Mains of Knockhall. The building is L-shaped, the long elevations lying N and E, with a square stair-tower projecting 3.45m from the N wall. Knockhall has had a vaulted ground floor (the vault over the kitchen has collapsed), two upper storeys and a garret. The rubble-built walls stand to roof height and measure 14.05m E-W by 14.05m N-S overall, with walls about 1.2m thick. The basic fabric dates from the sixteenth century, later modifications being confined to windows, internal details and probably the N stair-tower.

The entrance, with a lintel dated 1565, is in the re-entrant angle of the W wing. Above the entrance are two empty moulded panels. This entrance is connected by a passage directly to the stair tower. Entering off the passage on the W is the kitchen, with its fireplace, sink and drain. The E portion, originally one apartment, also has a sink and drain. The upper floors have gone and the stairs are demolished. Most of the rooms are provided with garderobes. Security features include oval gun-loops, small windows and a door with a hole for a sliding bar.

The castle was also provided with an enclosed courtyard to the S, in the SE angle of the enclosure are the foundations of a fortified round tower, 4m in external diameter. This feature was latterly converted into a dovecot. The area to be scheduled is rectangular, to include the castle and associated courtyard, and measures a maximum of 25m NE-SW by 30m NW-SE, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The castle is of national importance as it is a well preserved example of a fortified tower-house built in the sixteenth and renovated in the seventeenth century, which retains part of its enclosing barmkin and a separate defensive round tower. Individually and as part of the body of surviving Medieval domestic residences it provides architectural, cultural and scientific evidence retrievable through excavation and analysis which has the potential to increase our knowledge of late Medieval/early modern Scotland.



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ92NE 2.

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: 02/04/2023 06:47