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Standing Building Recording

Date 2005

Event ID 545803

Category Recording

Type Standing Building Recording


Standing building recording; watching brief NN 7844 4652 Historic building recording was undertaken between June and December 2005 of this 350-room castle complex (NN74NE 14.00) in advance of and during ongoing renovation.

The principal findings have been:

Original castle. It seems that little now remains of 16th-century Balloch Castle, other than the many re-used stones and a single substantial wall footing that have been encountered so far. The latter was revealed along the W side of the main block during interior services excavations and may be the footing of the W wall of the SW tower of the castle.

Main block. The general interior strip of the upper levels of the main block confirmed it to be of a single principal phase (Elliot, c 1810). Other than a general record of construction details and minor subsequent modifications (partition sub-divisions, etc.), the principal discoveries in these areas were numerous fragments of early decorative schemes, in particular a wide range of early wallpapers, many of the highest quality, and some previously unidentified papers by Crace. Some of these may relate to a redecoration in advance of Queen Victoria's visit in 1842.

W wing. Surviving parts of the 1730s William Adam extensions to the castle were better defined, principally within the W wing where his original two-storeyed pavilion was re-faced and raised by a storey. Here, much of the original internal arrangements were recordable. One 1730s window was discovered in situ, external dressings complete and surrounded by original limewashed harl. The 1730s stair was found not to be in the same position as original designs by Adam in his Vitruvius Scoticus suggest, rather it was further to the W.

E wing. In the E wing, an extensive early 19th-century kitchen and stables court, the general sequence of construction was recorded, with blocks of ranges added, perhaps year by year. First built were the kitchen range to the W and accommodation to the SW. Next were the eastern part of the S range and the western three-fifths of the N range. On their courtyard elevations these latter constructions re-use 1730s window dressings from the demolished William Adam E wing.

It was discovered that the NE part of the complex was added somewhat later. Below floor level within this area earlier walls and cobbled surfaces were revealed that may relate to the 18th-century stables/offices complex known to have been on the site.

The original early 19th-century stables were identified following stripping of later internal linings at the E end of the S range - large chambers with hay lofts above on either side of the clock tower.

Within a ground floor room at the W end of the S range, a substantial overmantel painting of a coat of arms, most likely

of the Earls of Breadalbane, was identified and now awaits conservation.

A complicated sequence of later infill structures within the courtyard were recorded during demolition. Of these, the 1920s boiler house was found to contain a series of painted vignettes on its walls, one of which represented the sinking of the sister-ship of the Titanic, the Lusitania, by the Imperial German Navy in 1915.

Services tracks were excavated around the exterior wall footings of the entire castle, and internally in a number of areas. Little that pre-dated the standing buildings was identified, and most features were found to have been cut directly into the gravelly subsoil. Almost no overlying stratigraphy was encountered. Wall footing structures were recorded in most areas. Within the area of the NW re-entrant of the main block and the W wing, a series of substantially built

subterranean ducts was discovered - masonry walled and capped with large slabs. This system, which was also revealed within the interior of the structures, seems to be early 19th century.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Taymouth Highland Village Co Ltd.

T Addyman, K Macfadyen 2005

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