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    NJ 576 37
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Peel Ring of Lumphanan, castle, Peel Bog of Lumphanan


The monument comprises the site and remains of a castle and its surrounding defences. The earliest record of a castle on this site is of thirteenth-century date, but local tradition, supported by scholarly opinion, places the death of Macbeth at or near Lumphanan, and may reflect earlier use of the site.

The castle known as the Peel Bog, or Peel Ring, of Lumphanan appears to have been established in the thirteenth century by the de Lundins or Durward family, the hereditary door-wards or ushers to the king, whose chief seat lay at Coull, 9.6km to the W.

The castle was probably the scene of the submission of Sir John de Melville, of Raith in Fife, to Edward I of England in July 1296. After a period of abandonment, the castle mound was reoccupied in 1487 when Thomas Charteris of Kinfauns, Perthshire, built the residence known as Ha'ton House on it. This was in ruins by the eighteenth century.

The castle's remains consist of a large earthen mound, measuring some 46m by 37m and probably in part natural, rising about 9m above the bottom of a now mostly dry though boggy ditch or moat, some 15m wide, which surrounds it. The ditch, which was evidently originally filled with water from the Lumphanan Burn, is bounded by an earthen bank standing 3m high and measuring 2.45m across the top, with a further shallow ditch 3m wide lying beyond it.

Remains of a post-medieval curling pond, filled by a stream controlled by a sluice, lie in the south-western part of the ditch. The summit of the central mound is ringed with the lowest courses of a post-medieval stone dyke, 0.9m thick, which encloses the foundations of the fifteenth-century hall.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains of the castle and its outer defences, representing an oval area defined by the modern fence line and measuring some 140m NW-SE by 165m SW-NE, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a good surviving example of an earthwork castle with water-filled outer defences. Its significance is enhanced by its recorded historical associations and by the potential of its surviving below-ground archaeological remains for shedding further light on its structural development and on the material culture of its occupants in different periods. The traditional association with Macbeth adds interest to this site.

Other Information

RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 50 SE 2.


Bogdan, N. and Bryce, I. B. D. (1991) 'Castle, manors and 'town houses' survey', Discovery Excav Scot, 33.

Cruden, S. (1960) 'The Scottish Castle', Edinburgh, 28-9.

Fraser, G. M. (1929) 'Lumphanan and its historical interests', The Deeside Fld, 1st, vol. 4, 11.

NSA (1845) The new statistical account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the society for the benefit of the sons and daughters of the clergy, 15v, Edinburgh, Vol. 12, 1090.

Simpson, W. D. (1929) 'A compendium of the Deeside castles', The Deeside Fld, vol. 4, 24 plan (1).

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