Bute, Kelspoke Castle

Castle (possible), Enclosure, Rig And Furrow, Township (pre-improvement)

Site Name Bute, Kelspoke Castle

Classification Castle (possible), Enclosure, Rig And Furrow, Township (pre-improvement)

Alternative Name(s) North Kelspoke

Canmore ID 40674

Site Number NS15SW 1

NGR NS 10660 54111

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kingarth
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Buteshire

Archaeology Notes

NS15SW 1.00 10660 54111.

NS15SW 1.01 NS c. 106 541 Bracelet

(NS 1065 5411) Kelspoke Castle (NR) (Remains of) (NAT)

OS 6" map (1957)

Known locally as Kelspoke Castle, from its situation and appearance, it was probably a watch tower, but that is mere conjecture. Only a part of the SE corner stands, 6' high, the remainder being merely turf-covered footings. It is built of red sandstone, cemented.

Name Book c.1863

The remains of Kelspoke Castle (name verified) which lie on high ground comprise an 'L' shaped structure traceable only as footings. The main building at the SE end is 6.0m square and has a section of walling 1.3m high and 1.2m wide surviving in its NE corner. The remainder of the building, poorly defined, is 16.0m long and 5.0m wide. The E wall makes use of a narrow outcropping ridge of sandstone as foundation. (The ruin adjacent to this feature is the old farmstead known as North Kelspoke).

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (BS) 3 November 1976

The farmstead adjacent to Kelspoke Castle, comprising one unroofed building and two enclosures is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire and Buteshire 1869, sheet ccxv), but it is not shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1978).

Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 15 October 1998.

NS 106 541 Site 6 North Kelspoke

Some 300m upstream from South Kelspoke, just north of the modern Upper Reservoir, are the remains of the other half of Kelspoke township. The name Kelspoke Castle is associated with a squarish red sandstone building of which only a small section remains standing 1m high. This structure abuts the gable of a whinstone longhouse, and there are the remains of two older buildings and a large squarish yard nearby. A sycamore tree growing on the yard is a conspicuous feature. Very fine broad rig is preserved on the slopes above and to the north of the site.

Proudfoot and Hannah 2000

NS 1065 5411 Farmstead remains: Located on level moorland, N of Upper Reservoir. Foundations and some walling of 3 houses, with a squarish yard (40m across) and traces of field system, partly submerged under Upper Reservoir. 'Castle' ruin is a fragment of a squarish building of dressed sandstone and mortar with shell sand, adjoining the ruin of a drystone built whin-stone long house 17 x 4m. There is a small square structure at the NE corner of the yard. This is a large farm that is well documented. Origin of the term 'castle' is obscure, and its use is not known before 19th century.

Information from Bute Natural History Society Deserted Settlement Survey (1991-9)

(RCAHMS WP000273)

The heavily robbed remains of Kelspoke Castle and adjacent farmstead of North Kelspoke are situated immediately N of Upper Reservoir, on a knoll with extensive views to the N, S and E. The castle remains include a length of dressed and mortared red sandstone wall, which tops a low scarp. This wall measures over 12m from NW to SE and is 0.9m thick and up to 1m high at the SE end, where it returns to the SW. The farmstead, which lies immediately SW of the castle, comprises at least three buildings and a subrectangular enclosure, all reduced to grass-grown footings. The farm of 'North Kelsbog' is shown on Roy’s Military Map (1747-55) and on a Foulis estate map (1758-9; RHP 14107/3), which depicts four buildings, one of them L-plan, and two enclosures.

Visited by RCAHMS (AGCH, IP) 17 March 2009.

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