Skibo Castle

© Copyright and database right 2015. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100020548.

Alternative Names Skibo Castle Policies; Castle Of Skibo
Canmore ID 14646
Site Number NH78NW 13
NGR NH 73624 89052
Former Region HIGHLAND
Former District SUTHERLAND
Former County SUTHERLAND
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Architectural Notes

ARCHITECT: Ross & Macbeth 1899 alterations and additions;
Thomas Mawson 1904 garden schemes with terraces
(Undated) information in NMRS.

Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NH78NW 13.00 73624 89052

NH78NW 13.01 NH 7351 8889 Boathouse
NH78NW 13.02 NH 73442 88932 Stables
NH78NW 13.03 NH 73724 89313 Dairy
NH78NW 13.04 NH 7357 8933 to NH 7484 8910 Road
NH78NW 13.05 NH 7350 8931 Cottage
NH78NW 13.06 NH 7356 8920 Pavilion
NH78NW 13.07 Centred NH 73590 89139 Greenhouses
NH78NW 13.08 Centred NH 73782 89030 Walled flower garden and greenhouses
NH78NW 13.09 Centred NH 7320 8885 Garden; Garden Feature (Loch Ospisdale)
NH78NW 13.10 NH 7357 8950 North Lodge
NH78NW 13.11 NH 7351 8952 Kennels Cottage
NH78NW 13.12 NH 7383 8924 Farmhouse; Farmsteading (Skibo Home Farm)
NH78NW 13.13 NH 7351 8949 Kennels
NH78NW 13.14 NH 73660 89028 Sundial
NH78NW 13.15 NH 73465 88912 Swimming Pool
NH78NW 13.16 Centred NH 73659 89014 Terraced Garden
NH78NW 13.17 NH 71131 89013 West Lodge
NH78NW 13.18 Centred NH 7400 8759 Garden; Garden Feature
NH78NW 13.19 NH 7355 8940 Gardener's Lodge
NH78NW 13.20 Centred NH 7368 8908 Formal Garden
NH78NW 13.21 NH 73398 88760 Bridge (Lake Ospisdale)
NH78NW 13.22 NH 73441 88947 Loch Ospisdale West
NH78NW 13.23 NH 73450 88945 Loch Ospisdale East

Skibo Castle is first mentioned in a charter dated 1211 AD. It was in use as a Bishop's residence even after the erection of the Bishop's Palace at Dornoch in the 16th century. A letter, incorporated in a 16th century charter, shows the castle to be at that time thatched and in disrepair. The structure is not mentioned again until the 17th century when it is noted as being amongst the first to be slated from a new-found local quarry. In the late 18th century it is described as being the Bishop's summer residence and as having been repaired. Since then all proprietors seem to have repaired, altered, renovated, extended, enlarged and improved the structure down to 1895 when Andrew Carnegie became the proprietor and built the present castle.
Campbell (1920) states that "no part of the old Castle Skibo remains".
C D Bentinck 1926; D Matheson 1902; H F Campbell 1920.

Workmen found two cists, whilst excavating the foundations of Skibo Castle, beneath the walls of the old castle which had been demolished.
J H Stevenson 1899.

NH 7363 8904. No part of the old castle now remains. The oldest part of the present castle was built about 1875, but most of the present building was built between 1899 and 1901
(Information from J P Whittet, Estate Factor, Clashmore to OS).

Nothing is known about the discovery of the cists.
Visited by OS (W D J) 6 June 1963.

No change.
Visited by OS (J M) 10 December 1980

The present castle stands on the site of the Bishop's residence and was purchased in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie. It was rebuilt in 1900 by Ross and Macbeth, incorporating the baronial house of 1880 (Clark & Bell, Glasgow). Currently owned by Peter de Savaray (1996) and run as a venue for corporate entertaining.
Information from RCAHMS (VCO), 2 July 1996.

Books and References

Anon (1995?) The Carnegie Links at Skibo Castle, Skibo Castle, Dornoch
Held at RCAHMS D.6.53.SKI.P

Bentinck, C D (1926) Dornoch: cathedral and parish, Inverness
Page(s): 413-18 Held at RCAHMS D.6.53.DOR

Bowditch, G (1994) Blaze damages De Savary's castle [Skibo Castle, newscutting], The Times 10 December 1994
Held at RCAHMS Hi Su.N

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Charity SC026749