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Standing Building Recording

Date June 1999

Event ID 922815

Category Recording

Type Standing Building Recording


NS 087 645 Archaeological recording of the NW tower of Rothesay Castle (NMRS NS 06 NE 3) was undertaken in advance of the repair required after the collapse of its stone facing in June 1999. At this time, the structure was encased in load-bearing scaffolding.

The circular curtain wall was built in the 13th century and retains the original crenellations beneath the 16th-century wall heightening, clearly seen between the NW tower (Pigeon Tower) and the gatehouse. Four towers were constructed against the curtain wall later in the 13th century, of which the NW tower is one. It originally had three floors, evidenced by the arrow slit windows, and housed the lord's chambers. In the 16th century another storey was added which can be seen in the two windows at that level.

The tower was made into a doocot in the 17th century and the windows were blocked, the upper windows were furnished with pigeon holes and landing platforms. After abandonment, the tower fell into disrepair until the 19th century when the Marquis of Bute began the renovation (part of the NE tower collapsed in 1937 and was partially rebuilt), which continued until the castle was handed over to State care in 1961. Since that time the tower has been under constant threat of collapse with regular minor repair work carried out since the 1960s.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

A Dunn 2000

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