Cromwell’s Citadel

The citadel at Perth was designed by Richard Deane and was intended to contain six companies of foot and one of horse. The North and South Inches were stripped to provide turf for the ramparts, ruining the town grazing. Timber was obtained from the king’s hunting park at Falkland, and buildings in Perth were demolished to provide stone. These included the schoolhouse, the Hospital of Perth, 140 houses and their garden walls, and the remains of the bridge which had been washed away in the flood of 1621. Greyfriars Burial Ground was also robbed of its walls and some 200 or 300 gravestones. he citadel was 266 yards ( 244m) square and enclosed by a curtain wall with angled bastions at each corner. Surrounding the citadel was a moat, 100 feet (30m) wide at the top and which still had a depth of around 10 feet (3m) as late as 1780. The ramparts were constructed with earth and sand from the moat trenches.The thick, high ramparts protected the buildings inside from artillery, while guns mounted on top of the ramparts and bastions would repel infantry attack. The guns could also control any shipping coming up the Tay, and any traffic from Edinburgh coming up the old road, down St Magdalene’s Hill and through Craigie. In 1661, after the restoration of Charles II, the citadel was given to the town. Orders were given to demolish the citadel and fill in its trenches. Although most of the buildings and walls of the citadel were demolished, the ditches were not completely filled in, remaining visible into the early 19th century. During the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745 the citadel was incorporated into the Jacobite defences of the town. After 1746, cavalry barracks occupied the site of the citadel. A stable block of the barracks became the Town Stables and housed the horses of the Perthshire Hunt. In 1769 a new road from Edinburgh was constructed across the South Inch through the citadel, replacing the old road through Craigie. In 1994, excavations by the Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust located the south-eastern bastion in the South Inch car park. In 1999, excavations in advance of the Flood Prevention Scheme found the south-western bastion. The rampart bases and revetment walls, the moat and the internal roads were all clearly visible. The two northern bastions must lie under Marshall Place and the Fergusson Gallery. Cromwell’s citadel is one of Perth’s largest archaeological monuments, but lies hidden just under the turf.

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