Benbecula, Borve Castle


Site Name Benbecula, Borve Castle

Classification Castle

Alternative Name(s) Caisteal Borve; Castle Wearie

Canmore ID 9962

Site Number NF75SE 12

NGR NF 77336 50519

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish South Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Borve Castle, mid-14 th century Large, oblong tower-house with attached ranges, thought to have been built between 1344 and 13 63 by Amy MacRuari, and if so making an interesting comparison with Castle Tioram. The lichened lump of mortared rubble is the ruin of a massively thick, three-storey structure, with an entrance in the south wall. A former stronghold of the Macdonalds of Benbecula, Borve was occupied until at least the earlier 17th century. It was surveyed by Rev. Aeneas Macdonald in 1913 , when the south and east walls stood to three storeys and it had "a vaulted chamber in the west wall and another in the north wall".

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

7733 5050.

(NF 7733 5050) Borve Castle (NR) (Ruins)

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

Borve Castle, Benbecula. The ruins of an oblong tower, 60ft by 36 1/2ft over walls 5 to 9ft thick, stand to 30ft high, indicating at least three storeys. The entrance is in the south wall, 6ft above the ground.

NSA (1845) states "there is no tradition in regard to the time or person by whom it was built," but MacGibbon and Ross attribute it to Lady Amie, wife of John of Isla, in the latter half of the 14th century.

New Statistical Account (NSA, R Maclean) 1845; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889; RCAHMS 1928.

The remains of Borve Castle are generally as described above; the E, W and S walls stand to the height mentioned but the N wall is reduced to a rubble bank scarcely 1.0m high.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (J T T) 25 May 1965.

Borve Castle is of at least three periods, the building sequence being, the erection of a nearly square tower to the E, the addition to this on the W of a smaller building of the same width, and the thickening of both the original E gable and later W gable to the interior, presubaly as floor scarcements. No sign of vaulting is visible in either section. The walls are so fragmentary as to make dating difficult, although the 14th century date assigned to the whole is parfectly possible. The E portion could be even earlier.

H B Millar and J Kirkhope 1965d.

NF 7733 5050 A desk-based survey and non-invasive site assessment was made of the ruin, in association with Simpson & Brown Architects.

Sponsor: Southern Isles Amenity Trust.

T Addyman 2000



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