Kirkcudbright Castle

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Alternative Names Castle Dikes; Castledykes
Canmore ID 64063
Site Number NX65SE 26
NGR NX 6771 5088
Former District STEWARTRY
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Archaeological Notes

NX65SE 26 6771 5088.

(NX 6771 5088) Kirkcudbright Castle (NR) Castledykes (NR)
OS 6" map (1938)

Kirkcudbright Castle is an English foundation datable to their occupation of 1288 to 1312. The site has produced the only piece of French polychrome pottery to be recovered in Scotland. This pottery has limiting dates of about 1275 - 1300.
S Cruden 1960

Castle Dikes: The existing earthworks form a central mound, 196 by 80 feet, with an uneven surface, surrounded by a ditch, generally 30 feet deep, except near the east corner where it is 20 feet deep. The outer bank varies in height internally from 16 to 25 feet and externally from 4 to 12 feet.
There are some traces of a bailey in an irregular squarish area, about 450 feet long, with ditches on each side, and a number of mounds suggesting the remains of ramparts.
F R Coles 1891

The Edwardian castle at Castledykes was excavated 1911-13 revealing the foundation courses, nowhere more than 2 1/2 feet high, of walls 9 1/2 - 7 1/2 feet thick, enclosing a rectangular area about 95 by 55 feet. There were towers, 36 1/2 feet diameter, at each corner, the eastern forming one of the externally buttressed gatetowers. The foundations of the southwest tower, 44 feet diameter were badly robbed, but it appeared to have been an addition buttressing the corner inside and out.
J Robison 1914; 1926; G C Dunning, H W M Hodges and E M Jope 1960

There is no extant masonry at the site of Kirkcudbright Castle. Castledykes, the earthworks on which the castle stood, are generally as described by Coles, although the reference to, and dimensions of an inner rampart are confusing. About 70.0m to the N of the central mound are slight remains of outer works, possibly of the bailey mentioned by him.
Re-surveyed at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (EGC) 10 February 1965

Information from E J Talbot Mottes TS.

NX 677 508 In April 2002 archaeological monitoring of civil engineering test pits and boreholes was undertaken in advance of a proposed expansion of the sewage works at Kirkcudbright, which is located immediately to the NW of the Scheduled remains of the 13th-century castle known as 'Castledykes'.
A total of nine machine-excavated trial pits were dug to a depth of 3.0-3.5m below the surface, and four boreholes were sunk to a depth of 15m below the surface. No archaeological features or recognisable archaeological stratigraphy were encountered.
Full report deposited in Dumfries and Galloway SMR and the NMRS.
Sponsor: West of Scotland Water.
M L Brann 2002

Books and References

Brann, M L (2002) 'Castledykes, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway (Kirkcudbright parish), watching brief', Discovery Excav Scot, vol.3
Page(s): 30

Brooke, C J (2000) Safe sanctuaries: security and defence in Anglo-Scottish border churches 1290-1690, Edinburgh
Page(s): 354-5 Held at RCAHMS F.5.31.BRO

Caldwell, A T (1954) 'Kirkcudbright', Roy Incorporation Architects Scot Quart, 97 August
Page(s): 39-40

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