Duffus Castle

Elgin, United Kingdom

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.



Your name


Elgin, United Kingdom
See all sites in Elgin


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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Chris Harris (3 years ago)
Absolutely fantastic place to visit me and my wife went late in the day and had the place to ourselves just wandering about and sitting on the grass enjoying the moment. Sunning views of the area. Unspoilt beauty
Cat (3 years ago)
Beautiful setting, if not the largest of castles. Some some amounts of info. A small mobile cafe, which we did not use, no other facilities. So if your travelling from a far keep this in mind. The site however is free and lots of open space for younger children ti be entertained with.
Hayley Stanley (3 years ago)
A special gem! Beautiful castle ruins free to explore and far reaching views. Fun for the children and pooches. Unspoilt Space for a picnic or a lovely coffee hut serving good coffee and pieces (cakes) that really adds to the charm of this beautiful place. Small car park but we had no issues as not overrun with visitors, highly recommend!
Andy Bell (3 years ago)
Stunning area and impressive backdrop. Free access at all times. No toilets, but a fab new coffee outlet ?
D B (3 years 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.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle stands high above the Austrian town of Werfen in the Salzach valley. The castle is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the adjacent Tennengebirge mountain range. The fortification is a 'sister' of Hohensalzburg Castle both dated from the 11th century.

The former fortification was built between 1075 and 1078 during the Imperial Investiture Controversy by the order of Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg as a strategic bulwark. Gebhard, an ally of Pope Gregory VII and the anti-king Rudolf of Rheinfelden, had three major castles extended to secure the Salzburg archbishopric against the forces of King Henry IV: Hohenwerfen, Hohensalzburg and Petersberg Castle at Friesach in Carinthia.