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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andy Bell (7 days ago)
Stunning area and impressive backdrop. Free access at all times. No toilets, but a fab new coffee outlet ?
D B (18 days ago)
A very special place to visit, it has amazing views of the surrounding area and has a small car park situated very close by. There is also a small tea/coffee shop on site with seated areas and is reasonably priced. Although the area is open pretty much all the time it is absolutely spotless and kept to a good standard.
Gabe Y (19 days ago)
A great little stop! While there is not a ton to see at the actual site - it is well maintained and very clean, making for a good presentation. On top of that the collapsed north tower is actually very cool insofar as I don't think I've seen a similar castle structural fail quite like this! Also, the car park has a great little cafe trailer with a nice seating area just below the castle. Fab little spot if you are in the area and need to break up a long journey!
Stefanie Grier (Mrsg999) (25 days ago)
Lovely place to visit, has signs all over with information. Is quite steep and some bits feel a little unsafe. Part of the castle is fenced off at the moment due to erosion. Sadly there was a bit of litter left, we did pick this up (including 2 broken badminton rackets) and dispose of them. Generally the place was clean, the grass is long in the grounds of the castle just now but we kept to the paths made in the long grass, there was rubbish in the wet ditch but it wasn't accessible. We didn't walk around the right side of the castle as it is very steep. The only small complaint I would have it the raf seemed to be running an exercise and the planes were very loud which upset my son. This lasted our entire visit. We had a picnic beside our car in the car park and it was fantastic. We had visits from baby frogs. There is also a little coffee trailer (permanent) beside the car park now with picnic benches and its a very nice addition with decent prices.
Grant Rennie (33 days ago)
Well preserved and maintained historic ruin. Information board and plaques are very useful. Nice to see the original bridge, and path still intact
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