Ryehill Castle was a motte-and-bailey fortification raised by the Ross family. It overlooked the River Nith which in the medieval era was an important communications artery linking the site with Dumfries. The castle was superseded by Sanquhar Castle in the thirteenth century.
Ryehill Castle was a motte-and-bailey fortification built to control a portion of the River Nith, a major communications artery connecting to the site to Dumfries and the sea. The castle was probably raised in the late twelfth century by the Ross family who settled in the area at that time.
The castle probably started as an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification. The flat topped mound would have been topped by a timber palisade and/or tower. Traces of stone on the summit suggest the curtain wall may have been rebuilt in stone. The base of the motte was probably originally surrounded by a ditch although all visible traces have been eliminated by subsequent cultivation.
The Ross family built Sanquhar Castle in the thirteenth century which replaced Ryehill. Both sites passed into the hands of the Crichtons in the early fourteenth century.
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Stell, G (1996). Dumfries and Galloway: Exploring Scotland's Heritage'. Edinburgh.
Tabraham, C (2000). Scottish Castles and Fortifications. Historic Scotland, Haddington.
Ryehill Castle survives as an earthwork. The motte is on private land with no easy access but it can be viewed at a distance from the A76.
Ryehill Castle. The castle started life as an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification. The flat topped mound would have been topped by a timber palisade and/or tower which may have later been replaced by stone structures.