Aberscors was the seat of the Murray family, a sept of Clan Sutherland, who seem to have arrived in Sutherland in 1198.
Being closely connected to the Earls of Sutherland, the Murrays of Aberscors (also spelt Moray or Morray) assisted them in various clan issues.
In 1518 Adam Gordon, the husband of Elizabeth, the 10th Countess of Sutherland, sent John Moray of Aberscors and Alexander Leslie of Kinninuvy to besiege Dunrobin Castle which had been occupied by Alexander Sutherland during a dispute over the Earldom of Sutherland.
The same year Gordon offered Janet and Elizabeth Clyne, heiresses of William Clyne of Clyne, to the sons of Moray for marriage, as a reward for Moray’s loyalty. However Moray didn’t accept, although the reason why is unknown.
In 1561 Hugh Murray of Aberscors killed a member of the Siol Thomas family, one Iver Mackean-Mack-Thomas, which enraged John Gordon, the 11th Earl of Sutherland. Murray fled to Caithness, seeking refuge from George Sinclair, the 4th Earl of Caithness.
The Earl of Sutherland suspected that Hugh’s father, Hucheon, might also have been involved, so imprisoned Hucheon in Dunrobin Castle. He was later released and set about reconciling his son with the Earl of Sutherland.
In 1624 John Murray of Aberscors sold some land to James Sutherland of Duffus, but not Aberscors itself it would seem.
Aberscors appears as Abirscors on Robert Gordon’s map which may have been published as early as 1636 (see image below) and also in Blaeu’s Atlas of 1654 (see image at the top of the page).
The castle apparently fell into ruin during the 17th century, although there is a reference from 1671 in estate papers belonging to the Earls of Sutherland detailing an appeal made to Lord Strathnaver by Margaret Payne, married to a Murray, complaining that people were stealing peat and turf from Aberscors.
Aberscors doesn’t appear on Herman Moll’s map created before 1732, or on Roy’s map, created between 1747 and 1755, and nothing now remains of the castle, although it falls within a deserted settlement.
Alternative names for Aberscors
Abbirscross; Abercross; Aberschoir; Aberscross Castle; Abirscors; Abirscurs; Hibberscor
Where is Aberscors?
Aberscors is in the parish of Golspie and the county of Sutherland.
Grid reference:NC 769 001
Lat / long:57.973540,-4.082022