Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Castle Roy and the Battle of Cromdale 1690

Overlooking the River Spey near Grantown-on-Spey, Castle Roy is a rare example of an early castle. It stands upon a rocky hummock which is, perhaps, partially artificial. There is no trace of a ditch or any of the outbuildings one would associate with a castle but nearby is Abernethy Church which could have been the castle church.

The castle dates from the late 12th or early 13th century and is similar in plan to Kincardine and Kinclaven castles.

Castle Roy stands in the powerful Clan Comyn's territory and more information about the castle and those involved with it was presented in Scottish Castles Association member Simon Forder's book Fortress Scotland and can be read on the Castle Roy Trust's website - click here .

The castle is now under the care of Historic Environment Scotland who are undertaking conservation work. Robbed out stone is being replaced by recycled granite and the area is being landscaped.

Visitors could take advantage of being in the vicinity to also take in the site of the Battle of Cromdale of 1690 – read more below.

Castle Roy Plan
Castle Roy plan – main entrance in north wall with postern in south protected by tower – latrines in SW angle

The Battle of Cromdale 1690

The victory of the Jacobites over the Williamite Army at Killiecrankie in 1689 was largely negated by the loss of their charismatic leader, Viscount Dundee.

Castle Roy Churchyard
Castle Roy looking towards SE angle from Abernethy churchyard

The less able Major General Thomas Buchan assumed command and his outnumbered force of 800 was surprised at Cromdale near Castle Roy. The Jacobites made a brief stand and then scattered having lost some 400 men.

Castle Roy West Entrance
TOP: Castle Roy – west face with tower, postern and latrines
BOTTOM: Castle Roy – postern and tower ahead with main entrance right

A group of around 100 men formed in a body and retreated across the River Spey to seek the safety of Loch an Eilein Castle . Their attack on the island castle was repelled effectively marking the end of the uprising.

Loch An Eilean
Loch an Eilein Castle where the Jacobites fled after Cromdale


Article by Scottish Castles Association member Brian McGarrigle.

Added: 02 Oct 2019 Updated: 02 Nov 2019
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