Duffus Castle

February 08, 2020
Duffus Castle near Elgin

Duffus Castle once a powerful stronghold in Moray

If you know anything about castles then Duffus is an excellent example of a 12th century motte and bailey castle.

The original fortification was built in timber by a Fleming named Freskin, Lord of Strathbrock who was given a representative of royal authority by King David 1 Freskin also held property further south in West Lothian. The family were to become one of the most influential noble families in northern Scotland

Duffus Castle

King David I stayed here whilst he was supervising the construction of nearby Kinloss Abbey close to Findhorn and Forres. The Scots destroyed the castle in the 12th century and it was rebuilt in stone either in the late 13th or early 14th century by the Cheyne Clan who derived from Quesney in France and setup shop in the north-east of Scotland as far back as the 12th century.

By marriage the property passed in 1350 to Sutherland Lord Duffus, the family retained the property till 1843.

Duffus castle and bailley

In 1452 the castle was sacked by the Douglas Earl of Moray a Scottish nobleman during the reign of King James II of Scotland. He was one of the five brothers from the Black Douglas family who clashed with the king.

Duffus castle and bailley

It was again sacked in 1645 by Royalists John Graham of Claverhouse better know as “Bonnie Dundee” who was a general in the Scottish army. Claverhouse remained loyal to King James VII of Scotland after the Revolution of 1688.

He rallied those Highland clans loyal to the Jacobite cause and, although he lost his life in the battle he led the army to victory at Killiecrankie.

The castle was abandoned at the end of the 17th century when the family moved to Duffus House at Banff.

Duffus castle and bailley

From the 12th to the 18th century Duffus Castle was once one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland. Initially the fortress was constructed in timber and was rebuilt in stone in the 14th century. Abandoned in the early 1700’s the property fell into ruin, even though it’s still well worth a visit being set on an artificial mound it is still an impressive sight.

By Allan

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