Keiss Castle

Keiss Castle


Location: Sutherland  Map


Description of Keiss Castle

Keiss Castle is a medieval castle situated in Sutherland region of Scotland in United Kingdom.  Keiss fortress was build in the late 16th century or early 17th century by George Sinclair, fifth Earl of Caithness (1582- 1643) on a site of the older citadel. The strange feature of the castle is the fact that is defended by the wall only on side of the sea suggesting that it was build to prevent oversea intrusion of Scotland. Unfortunately erosion takes a toll of the Keiss castle and the cliff where it was build. The original gateway fell as part of the cliff collapsed. The castle was abandoned in the 1700’s.



The old castle, now a Scheduled Monument, was built by George, 5th Earl of Caithness (1582-1643) possibly in the late 16th or early 17th century on the site of an older fort. It appears that the castle was already in existence when King James I commissioned Sir Robert Gordon to bring armed forces to Caithness. The 7th Earl died at the castle in 1698 but it is recorded that the castle was in ruins as early as 1700 and was repaired in 1726 'with a pleasant house recently built at its side'.

The estate was bought by Sir William Sinclair, 2nd Baronet of Dunbeath in the early 18th century and in 1752 Keiss Castle became his family home. The present house was built circa 1755 and had to be sold by Ulbster in 1765 due to financial difficulties experienced by the Sinclairs. It is a country house that was remodeled and enlarged in the Scottish Baronial style by the architect David Bryce, commissioned by Colonel K. Macleay. In 1866 it was sold to the Duke of Portland. Historic Scotland has listed the country house as a category B historic building. This includes the walled garden to the north east of the house, the gate lodge and the gate pillars with their cast iron gates, which were added in the 1860's.

Nearby is the Broch of Keiss.