Duffus Castle, near Elgin, was a motte-and-bailey castle and was in use from c.1140 to 1705. During its occupation it underwent many alterations.

Freskin (died before 1171) was a Flemish nobleman who settled in Scotland during the reign of King David I, becoming the progenitor of the Murray and Sutherland families, and possibly others. He built the great earthwork and timber motte-and-bailey castle in c. 1140 on boggy ground in the Laich of Moray. It was certainly in existence by the time the king came to visit in 1151. The motte was a man-made mound with steeply sloping sides and a wide and deep ditch that surrounded the base. Timber buildings would have stood on its flat top and would have been further protected by a wooden palisade placed around the edge of the summit. The bailey contained the buildings necessary to sustain its inhabitants – brew and bake houses, workshops and stables – as well as the living accommodation.

Freskin’s direct line ended in 1270 and the castle passed into the ownership of Sir Reginald le Chen (d.1312) through marriage to the heiress Mary, daughter of Freskin de Moravia. The castle was destroyed in 1297 during a rebellion against English rule in the region. With the death of Reginald le Chen of Duffus in 1345, Duffus passed to his daughter Mariot who was married to Nicholas, the second son of the 4th Earl of Sutherland. The Sutherlands themselves were descended from Freskyn and remained in their possession until 1705 when the castle was abandoned.

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Elgin, United Kingdom
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Founded: c. 1140
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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