Keiss Castle

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Old Keiss Castle ruins - - 574566.jpg

Keiss Castle is a partially ruined castle in Scotland, located less than one mile north of Keiss village centre, on sheer cliffs, overlooking the bay. Keiss House replaced Keiss Castle around 1755.[1]


The old castle, a Scheduled Monument, was built possibly on the site of an earlier fort in the late 16th early 17th century by George 5th Earl of Caithness (1582-1643). It seems the castle was in existence in 1623 when James I commissioned Sir Robert Gordon to enter Caithness with an armed force.[2] The 7th Earl died in the castle in 1698 but it is reported that the castle was ruinous in 1700 and in 1726 as being in repair with 'at the side of it a convenient house lately built'. The estate was purchased by Sir William Sinclair, 2nd Baronet of Dunbeath early in the 18th century and in 1752 Keiss became his family seat.

The current house was built about 1755 but had to be sold in 1765 because of financial difficulties to the Sinclairs of Ulbster. This Category B Listed Baronial mansion was altered to its current form on the instructions of Col. K Macleay by David Bryce in 1860, during which it was extended in the Scottish baronial style.[3] It was then sold to the Duke of Portland in 1866. Also included in the listing is the Walled garden to the NE of the house and the gate lodge and gate piers with cast-iron carriage gates installed in the 1860 alterations.


  1. ^ Baptist Reporter and Missionary Intelligencer. 1846. p. 265. 
  2. ^ Publications. 1855. p. 780. 
  3. ^ Close-Brooks, Joanna (1995). The Highlands. H.M. Stationery Office. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-11-495293-8. 

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Coordinates: 58°32′17″N 3°06′22″W / 58.5381°N 3.1062°W / 58.5381; -3.1062