Long before a mighty stone keep stood at Duffus - its tumbled ruins still visible today, an earlier castle built of wood dominated the island fortress in Morayshire. It was built by Freskyn, a Fleming who had served under David I and was rewarded with lands in Morayshire after defeating the rebel Earl Angus. This reconstruction depicts the early castle at about the time David I is recorded as having visited in 1151.
Exactly what type of timber structure occupied the summit of the motte is unknown. This conjectural reconstruction draws some influence from what little is understood of timber towers in England and Wales. It may have been a hall house rather than a timber tower. Historians both agree and disagree about this.
What is certain is that the site looked very different in the twelfth century than it does today. The castle effectively stood on an island or a promontory in what was then Loch Spynie which drained into the river Lossie. This loch was drained in the nineteenth century to make way for agricultural use.
The timber castle passed to the Cheynes in 1280 and it was burned by the Scots in 1297 after the Cheynes sided with the powerful Comyns in support of Edward I during the Wars of Independence. A stone castle replacement was built in 1350 by which time the castle was then in the hands the Sutherlands - distant descendants of Freskyn.
With thanks to Simon Forder (The Castle Guy) and Will Wyeth for their generous assistance and advice with this project.
Duffus Castle 1151 - Visual Reconstructions| PDF Booklet (5Mb)