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Ardtornish Tower

Country House (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Ardtornish Tower

Classification Country House (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Ardtornish Estate; Ardtornish Mansion; Ardtornish House; Aird Toirinis

Canmore ID 105352

Site Number NM74NW 13

NGR NM 70327 47531

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Morvern
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Argyll

Recording Your Heritage Online

Ardtornish House, Alexander Ross, 1884-90 Thomas Valentine Smith's thumping great mansionhouse, built to replace his father's more modest-scaled shooting lodge, survives with virtually all its original fittings and much original furniture in situ, despite having been subdivided as holiday apartments. Riding high above wooded policies at the head of Loch Aline, its batteries of chimney stacks and Germanic towers are an arresting sight. Beneath this eclectic roofscape, the house is a loosely T-plan arrangement of heavily barge-boarded gabled ranges with mullioned windows and chunky piend-roofed dormers, girdled about the midriff with an iron and glass verandah. The external cladding of thinly coursed local sandstone disguises the early fireproof construction of shuttered "no fines" concrete and steel beams. A crescent of louvred game larders at the foot of a cliff encloses the service court to the rear. John Kinross's internal remodelling of 1908-10 replaced much of Ross's work in a richly eclectic mix of late 17th-through to late 18thcentury Revival decoration. The oak panelled drawing room has Grinling Gibbons-style panels carved by Thomas Beveridge, the business room ceiling richly modelled 17thcentury- style plasterwork, and the superb main staircase luxuriantly carved foliage in the c.1700 manner of Sudbury Hall. Kinross enlivened Ross's trabeated ceilings with plasterwork and introduced other decoration in the Adam Revival style. On the first floor, the boudoir ceiling is decorated with classical reliefs. Shades of Manderston - his flagship commission, which in turn echoed Kedleston - in the remodelled billiard room, and in the library, where the mahogany bookcases made by Morison & Co of Edinburgh are copies of ones designed by Kinross at Manderston. Other high quality examples of furniture by Morison & Co, modelled on 18th-century patterns, remain in the house, along with good pieces by Gillow in the principal rooms, and more standard bedroom furniture by Wylie and Lochhead of Glasgow. Edwardian fittings and upholstery by the architectural decorators Scott Morton & Co survive remarkably intact, and a number of rooms still have their curtains and wallpaper dating from that period. Also notable is the excellent range of original domestic fixtures, and five splendid marble-lined bathrooms.

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

Archaeology Notes

NM74NW 13.00 70327 47536

Ardtornish [NAT]

Twr [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1975.

NM74NW 13.01 NM 70362 47757 Clock Tower

NM74NW 13.02 NM 70359 47536 Game Larders

For possible predecessors, see Kinlochaline Castle (NM 6975 4763: NM64NE 3) and Ardtornish Castle (NM 6919 4265: NM64SE 1).

For related buildings see:

NM74NW 12.00 NM 70414 47334 Achranich Farmhouse

NM74NW 12.01 NM 70479 47315 Achranich, Stables

NM74NW 12.02 NM 70481 47341 Achranich Smith's Barn

NM74NW 12.03 NM 70456 47342 Achranich, Estate Power Station

NM74NW 12.04 NM 70463 47321 Achranich, Coach-house

NM74NW 12.05 NM c. 705 472 Achranich, Byre

NM74NW 14 NM 70058 47287 Old Boathouse

NM74NW 17 NM 7027 4725 Garden, kitchen (walled) garden and cottages

NM74NW 18 NM 7056 4727 Achranich Bridge

NM74NW 19 NM 7067 4730 Riverside

NM74NW 20 NM 7064 4743 to 7071 4754 Pond, dam and sluice

NM74NW 21 NM 7005 4774 Keeper's Cottage

NM74NW 22 NM 7001 4766 Kennels

NM74NW 23 NM 7021 4740 Bridge

NM74NW 24 NM c. 70 47 Double Cottage

See also:

NM64NE 25.00 NM 69912 49731 Claggan School

NM64NE 25.01 NM 69918 49723 Claggan Schoolhouse

NM64NE 26 NM 6992 4980 Claggan Cottage

NM64NE 28 NM 69806 47632 Ivy Bridge

NM64NE 29 NM 69682 47502 1 Castle Cottage

NM64NE 30 NM 69477 48366 Larachbeg Old Laundry

NM64NE 32 NM 69471 48318 1 Larachbeg

NM64NE 33 NM 69827 47845 Rose Cottage

NM64NE 45 NM 6979 4654 Loch Aline, Boathouses

NM64NE 50 NM 69472 48323 2 Larachbeg

NM64NE 51 NM 69474 48329 3 Larachbeg

NM64NE 52 NM 69477 48336 4 Larachbeg

NM64NE 53 NM 69480 48342 5 Larachbeg

NM64NE 54 NM 69483 48348 6 Larachbeg

NM64NE 55 NM 69693 47512 2 Castle Cottage

NM64SE 1 NM 6919 4265 (Old) Ardtornish Castle

NM64SE 15 NM 693 433 Old Ardtornish House

NM64SE 16 NM 698 433 Inninbeg

NM64SE 18 NM 69203 43260 Old Ardtornish Steading

NM64SE 19 NM 69516 43313 Bay Cottage

NM64SE 21 NM 68243 44733 Caolas Ferry House

NM64SE 26 NM 6911 4357 Old Ardtornish Cott

NM64SE 41 NM 6929 4268 Quay (Pier) - Ardtornish Bay

NM65SE 14 NM 6703 5212 Durinemast

NM75SW 13 NM 70111 50435 Acharn farmhouse

NM75SE 6 NM 75025 52230 Clounland

NM75SE 9 NM 76809 53313 Beach House

Ardtornish House, 3.8km NE of Lochaline. Victorian mansion overlooking Loch Aline, the bare hills of Morvern rising behind. A house was built on the site in 1856-66 for Octavius Smith. In 1884 Smith's son Valentine demolished almost all his father's building (a victim of dry rot), except for its free-standing campanile, and a new and larger mansion designed by Alexander Ross was built in 1885-91. The campanile of 1856-66 stands higher up on the hillside to the N. Italian Romanesque, built of whin with stugged sandstone dressings.

J Gifford 1992.

The country house or mansion of Ardtornish House and its associated campanile or clock tower are situated at NM 7033 4753 and NM 7036 4755 respectively.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 22 October 1998.

Architecture Notes

Architect: John Kinross c 1890 - some interiors

Ross & McIntosh 1885 (Alexander Ross)

Present mansion is the second Ardtornish Tower on site, the smaller (1856-66) was demolished in 1884.

A very large collection of drawings for Ardtornish House and Estate (Ardtornish Tower) copied 1994.

Ardtornish Drawings Sheet 17: 13 drawings at full size etc not copied, and print of cellar plan.

Drawings not copied because of their fragile state are listed below:

Ardtornish Drawings

Sheet 6 'Ardtornish' Elevation of arcade between housekeeper's

Staircase and Billiard Passage.

Sheet 4 Working drawing for new lead platforms etc near main stair.

Sheet 3 Working drawing for 'Ardtornish Servant's Stair'.

Sheet 5 'Ardtornish Roof details' Working drawing for steelwork in roof.

Two slides missing at time of upgrade - 14.10.1996. Borrowed 3.3.1994.

(Undated) information in NMRS.


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