URQUHART CASTLE (Ref:15026)
This building is in the Highland Council and the
Urquhart And Glenmoriston Parish.
It is a category A building and was listed on 05/10/1971.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NH 5309 2864.
Ruinous walled castle, exploiting defensive site shaped roughly as figure of eight on Loch Ness side bounded 3 sides by water and on W by deep ditch. Surviving masonry dates from 13th through to mid 17th century. The curtain walls contain masonry dating from 13th century, enclosing motte, upper and nether baileys, kitchen and undercrofts of former hall and great chamber, gatehouse and tower.
Kitchens, hall and great chamber exploit SE promintory of site and appear to date from 14th century. 4-storey square tower of 16th century date rises from east corner of site; 3 sides survive, with portions of corbelled wallhead. Arched gate house, with centre passage flank by vaulted chamber each side reached across ditch by (modern) bridge linking masonry ramp.
SW gatehouse chamber contains kiln; further kiln to NW of castle on edge of ditch. Remains of circular (probably beehive) dovecote with 4 esting boxes in upper bailey.
Guardianship Monument. Though present ruins date probably from 13th century, excavation has revealed a vitrified fort near the motte. A royal castle is said to have existed at Urquhart in late 12th century. Earliest known Lords of Urquhart were 13th c. Durward family. Castle changed hands incessantly passing through Comyns, Sir Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray and Macdonald of the Isles. Finally granted to Grants of Freuchie in 16th century, on condition they repair the castle built tower and other improvements including "kiln, cot and dovegrove".
Scheduled 9 September 1997.
MacGibbon and Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND, iii (1889) pp.90-6.
W Douglas Simpson, URQUHART CASTLE (1971) (official guide)
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