Berriedale Castle

Berriedale Castle was originally a fortification under Sir Reginald Cheyne in the 14th century, who had many such fortifications in the area and thus great power in the 13th and 14th centuries. The second daughter of this Reginald Cheyne married Nicholas Sutherland, the progenitor of the Sutherlands of Duffus, who then received the castle of Berriedale. The Castle was built upon this early fortification by the Sutherlands, through William Oliphant's marriage to Christian Sutherland (daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Duffus) in 1497, by which the Castle passed to the Clan Oliphant. This William was styled William Oliphant of Berriedale, and was subsequently Knighted. He was progenitor of the Caithness branch of the Oliphant Clan.


Berriedale Ruins: this is the site of the ruins of Berriedale castle,
parts of the wall's can still be seen. Access to the castle was by a
wooden plank over a small crevice in the shoreline.

Oliphants held this castle and the other lands acquired through the marriage to the Sutherland heiress firstly, through the Oliphants of Berriedale and later in the chiefly line of the Lords Oliphant. This transfer was due to the fact that the lands were under constant attack by the Sutherlands, who even took their dispute of the Oliphant claim to Pope in Rome, the Gunns and the Sinclairs and the chiefly Oliphant line was the only one powerful enough to protect the land. After the fall of Oliphant Chiefs from power, Berriedale Castle (floor plans), was sold to the Sinclair Earls of Caithness in 1606.


An artistic reconstruction of Berriedale Castle by
Andrew Spratt

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