Saturday, 28 November 2015

Castle Cluggy at Ochtertyre





Castle Cluggy
( written in 1880  by the Rev William Marshall in his book Historic Scenes of Perthshire )


“ Castle Cluggy on the peninsula on the north of the Loch of Monzievaird ( pronounced mony- vaird ) is a very old erection When it was built is not known but it was old upwards of four centuries ago. In the Charter  giving Ochtertyre to the Murrays , and bearing the date  of 1467 , it is described as an antiquum fortalicium . It is now reduced to a square tower of about seventeen feet  by eighteen , within walls ; but it was once very much larger . Its walls are five to six feet thick and as hard as adamant . In olden times the peninsula on which it stands was an island , separated from the bank of the Loch  by a narrow isthmus over which was  drawbridge , so it must have been a fortalice of great strength .
If tradition may be credited , this castle  may well be regarded as an Historic Scene ; for it is said to have been a seat of the Red Cumin ( Comyn ) , the rival of Bruce for the throne , and whom Bruce killed at the High Altar of the Convent of the Minorities at Dumfries .However this may have been, certain it is that Sir William Murray, the First Baronet of Ochtertyre , made Castle Cluggy his retreat for some time during the ascendancy of Cromwell. Moreover  , the artificial islet , formed of stones ,and supported by oak trees , about eighty yards  distant from the Castle , tradition represents as  being the prison attached  to it .”




Report  by Canmore ( Royal Commision on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland


The OS grid reference  for the castle is : NN 83977 23401
In July 2001 an archaeological evaluation of the remains of Castle Cluggy (NMRS NN82SW 1), near Crieff, was carried out in advance of the consolidation of the structure. The evaluation involved the hand-excavation of trenches both within the structure and to its E in order to ascertain the nature of deposits within the castle; the relationship between the original walls, and the later, possibly 17th-century E wall; and the original extent of the castle.
The castle consists of a ruinous three-storey stone-built tower, measuring roughly 8.6m N-S by 8.1m E-W. The walls are generally 1.5m thick, with the replaced E wall having a thickness of just 0.95m. The N and S walls obviously continued further E in earlier times, but there were no signs in the grounds surrounding the building of their former course.
The evaluation required the hand-excavation of six small trenches. The interior of the building contained a build-up of roughly 0.9m of deposits. At a depth of 0.7m the possible original floor of the undercroft of the tower was encountered. This thin silt and pebble layer overlay a further old surface, possibly dating to the construction of the original building. Unfortunately there was no dating evidence from these early deposits, although the foundations for the E wall were found to clearly overlie, and post-date, those of the S wall. Remains of the original, now-demolished, walls were only encountered just to the E of the eastern termination of the N wall. A probable robber cut was, however, visible in the trench across the projected line of the E wall and this evidence suggested that the original extent of the castle was not much greater than at present, measuring around 9.3m E-W.
( Sponsor:      Mr Brian Souter )

Addendum  by Colin Mayall


Those of you who have  been following  my PerthshireCrieffStrathearn local history Blog  over the last three years  will be aware of the importance in the Strath of the Earls of Strathearn , their opposition to Bruce and their domination  of the religious  life of the people locally . As founders of the Augustinian Abbey at Inchaffray as a continuation and in parallel with the older Culdees establishment , they  wielded  great  power and  a direct line with the Pope in Rome and not through the Bishops in Dunblane and Dunkeld .It is probable that apart  from their power base at Fowlis Castle , south east of the village of Fowlis Wester , their Palace at Tom – a- chastel  (Tom-nan – chaistel or in English translated as “the round hill of the Castle “ ) and their re claimed Pictish citadel at Dundurn , they also were in occupancy of Cluggy allowing  them to maintain an iron grip on the heart of Strathearn.  

Where you might ask is Tom-nan-chaistel ? It is  the high hill  whereupon Baird's Monument  now reposes ! The pics  below allow  you to appreciate  the dominance of the locus and how  it would  have been an important part of the defence mechanism of our  ancient robber barons - the Earls of Strathearn ! 








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