Scheduled Monument

Duffus CastleSM90105

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
Local Authority
NJ 18936 67255
318936, 867255


The monument to be scheduled consists of Duffus Castle.

The castle was built in about 1150 by Freskin, a Flemish soldier. His son adopted the title de Moravia and by the end of the century the family had become the most important dynasty in northern Scotland, with their caput at Duffus. Their first castle there was a fine motte and bailey. It consisted of a great earthen mound surrounded by a deep ditch.

The mound was encircled with a palisade and safe within its walls were the main buildings of the wooden castle. The castle was rebuilt in stone in the late 13th or early 14th century, although the only firm evidence of this rebuilding is a reference to the supply of 200 oaks from Darnaway forest "to build his manor of Dufhous".

The great stone keep stood three stories high, with massive timbers 11m long spanning the floors. Although it provided magnificent accommodation the instability of this great tower was soon obvious. A slice of the north wall of the keep can still be seen at the base of the mound after it slid to rest there.

The bailey is surrounded by the remains of a stone curtain wall and within this is a 15th century domestic range including a hall and cellars. This building replaced the abandoned tower and may itself have been greatly remodelled by the time Claverhouse dined here during the campaign that ended at Killiecrankie in 1689. Around the whole site is a boundary ditch, now filled with water.

The area to be scheduled includes the boundary ditch and all of the area within it. It is an irregular oval on plan and measures a maximum of 235m E-W by 240m N-S. It is marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

Duffus Castle is of national importance because it is a particularly fine example of a motte and bailey castle which remains intact. In addition it has one of the finest stone keeps in Scotland. It also has the potential to provide archaeological evidence of fortifications, domestic arrangements, material culture and architectural details from the 12th to the 17th centuries. The castle is in the care of the Secretary of State.



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 16 NE 4.


Bogdan, N and Bryce, I B D, 1991, 'Castles, manors and 'town houses' survey', Discovery Excav Scot, 36.

Cannell, J, 1985, 'Duffus Castle (Duffus p), motte and bailey castle', Discovery Excav Scot, 19.

MacGibbon, D and Ross, T, 1887-92, The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v Edinburgh, vol. 1, 278-80; vol. 5, cv.

Mackie, E W 1975, Scotland: an archaeological guide: from the earliest times to the twelfth century, London, 201-2.

Mackenzie, W M, 1927, The medieval castle in Scotland, London, 45-8, 55, 57, 135.

Renn, D F, 1968 Norman Castles in Britain, London, 176n.

Scottish Castle Survey 1988, 'A directory of the owners and occupiers of the castles, manors and 'town houses' {c. 1050-c. 1707} of Scotland: Grampian Region', Aberdeen, 56, no. 123/3.

Simpson, W D, 1961, 'The castles of Duffus, Rait and Morton reconsidered', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 92, 10-14.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Duffus Castle

Find out more

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 Duffus Castle

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 15/05/2021 19:03