Conference Proceeding

Castles and colonists in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Scotland: the case of Moray



Oram R (2006) Castles and colonists in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Scotland: the case of Moray. In: Ettel P, Hericher AF & McNeill T (eds.) Actes du colloque international de Voiron, Isere, France, 28 aout-4 septembre 2004: chateau et peuplement. Chateau Gaillard: etudes de castellologie medievale, 22. Chateau Gaillard 22 Chateau et Peuplement, Voiron, Isere, France, 28.08.2004-04.09.2004. Caen: Publications du CRAHM, University of Caen, pp. 289-98.

Conventional Scottish medieval historiography presents castle-building as a component in the alien cultural vocabulary imposed by a colonial elite who settled in the kingdom after c.ll00. Castles, par excellence, are viewed as key indicators of the impact of colonists on the social, political and cultural landscape, and linked inextricably with the aggressive expansionist policies of the crown in its drive to both extend royal authority into regions such as Moray and also to 'modernise' the core of the kingdom. Mattes in particular are presented as indicative in their distribution of the scale and extent of the colonisation and of its primarily military nature. This conventional interpretation and the current chronology offered for motte and early stone castle construction in Scotland requires re-assessment. The implied link between castle-building and the colonial elite, and the traditional association of mottes with the crown's military policies, are shown to be secondary considerations, with economic forces instead determining and powering the process of colonisation.

castles and colonisation; Moray; Flemings; Flanders; drainage; reclamation; sheep-farming; marginal and upland

Title of seriesChateau Gaillard: etudes de castellologie medievale
Number in series22
Publication date31/12/2006
PublisherPublications du CRAHM, University of Caen
Publisher URL…p.php?article122
Place of publicationCaen
ConferenceChateau Gaillard 22 Chateau et Peuplement
Conference locationVoiron, Isere, France

People (1)


Professor Richard Oram
Professor Richard Oram

Professor, History