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Watching Brief

Date 25 April 2011 - 27 April 2011

Event ID 966114

Category Recording

Type Watching Brief


NB 4192 3315 (centred on) A watching brief was undertaken 25–27 April 2011 during the excavation of geotechnical trial trenches in the 1.3ha grounds of Lews Castle. The castle was built between 1847 and 1857 for Sir James Matheson, who purchased the island of Lewis in 1844. The castle was designed in a Tudor Gothic style by Charles Wilson, a renowned architect from Glasgow. The principal building comprises a three storey, crenellated mansion house flanked by a series of towers and lower service wings to the N and W. The castle was constructed on the site of the late 17th-century Seaforth Lodge, and it is likely that remains from this building are preserved beneath the castle. A recent architectural survey of the castle indicated that parts of the earlier building were incorporated into the fabric of the 19th-century castle.

The excavation of 14 trenches revealed a number of 19th-century features and deposits. These included foundation walls and a mortared surface, which seem to confirm the location of 19th-century glasshouses to the W of Lews Castle. It is presumed that the 19th-century building rubble identified in several trenches related to the demolition of the glasshouses. A sand and shell rich deposit recorded across the site may be the remnants of an imported soil used within the glasshouses. No evidence relating to the 17th-century lodge or earlier activity was recorded.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended). Report: CNES SMR

Funder: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Uist Archaeology, 2011

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