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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User Reviews

Ian Gray (35 days ago)
I've been coming here with family fun outings for as long as I can remember. I love the place, great views all around, wonderful full access to the castle ruins. Space to ring and play, my children are nuts the ones playing hide and seek and discovering the magic of duffus castle. Plenty of space to park and even if there are a few others around the is never a feeling of being hemmed in. If the raf are flying it is a great viewpoint to see the places land or take off whilst you take in since history bathing.
Dan Lyons (2 months ago)
Duffus castle was once considered one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland. Built under bishop Andrew. It's was abandoned after the death of Lord duffus in the 1500s due to being unsuitable for habitation.
Tony Miller (5 months ago)
The castle was well worth going to see. There are a few plaques explaining some of the details of the castle and the view is fantastic. As far as I could make out it is as safe as could be expected considering age and condition, but of course in any old building like this the visitor must take some responsibility for their own safety. There is a path allowing wheelchair access from the tarred car park and it curves round to try and prevent it becoming too steep. My only observation for real improvement would be seating on the path and at strategic places in the castle for elderly or disabled people and expectant mothers. Perhaps even obtained through fundraising initiatives.
Colin Harris (5 months ago)
Well worth a visit, it's quite unique. There is a small information board there but I'd like to find out more about its history. Google to the rescue I'm sure!
Kimneil J (HomelessHappy&ontheroad) (5 months ago)
Really good little castle to visit. Only ruins but very pretty. Also a great place to spot planes going into RAF Lossiemouth.
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