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School (19th Century), Village (18th Century)

Site Name Kenmore

Classification School (19th Century), Village (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Kenmore Village; Kenmore Clachan; Clachan Of Kenmore; Kenmore, Cottages; Felinmore Field; Loch Fyne

Canmore ID 106719

Site Number NN00SE 25

NGR NN 06481 01996

NGR Description Centred NN 06481 01996

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Inveraray
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NN00SE 25 centred 06481 01996

Formerly entered as Kenmore Village at cited location NN 064 020.

Formerly entered in error as NN00SW 34, and also as NN00SE 45 at incorrect cited location centred NN 06842 01995.

For Euan MacColl Monument (NN 06562 01996), see NN00SE 24.


Field Visit (May 1985)

This small improved village occupies the level ground between two small bays which cut off a rocky promontory on the NW shore of Loch Fyne. It was begun on the instructions of the 5th Duke of Argyll in 1771, when his Chamberlain reported that the surveyor William Douglas was 'making a survey of the ground proposed for the new village', and that he had applied to Lord Findlater and the laird of Grant, two well-known improving landlords, for information about the conditions on which they erected their villages (en.1). Douglas's plan of that year showed two parallel rows, each of nine houses, and by 1772 fourteen houses had been completed and 'neatly thatched with heather' as instructed by the Duke (en.2). A proposal of 1775 to build additional houses to a total of fifty-two, in a cruciform arrangement of four hollow rectangles, was not acted upon (en.3). Early rentals show seventeen tenants, probably occupying two rows of eight houses with a detached property, Top House, 90m to the W. The population rose from 60 in 1779 to 137 in 1811, but there was considerable depopulation in the late 19th century, and by 1900 two or three houses in each row were ruinous (en.4). At the date of survey six properties were occupied, all but one as holiday residences.

The single-storeyed houses were laid out in two parallel rows measuring about 85m from NE to SW and 60m apart, fronting a green which retains a few trees of a central avenue. The existing buildings have been extensively remodelled, but that at the NE end of the SE row, which at the date of survey was in process of restoration, is typical of the original arrangement. It measures 11.2m by 6.4m over 0.8m walls of lime-mortared rubble, having a central doorway and two windows in the front wall, and the gable-walls are surmounted by rectangular chimneys with drip-courses at the level of the original thatch. Only a fragment of the adjacent house to the NE has been preserved, as a lean-to outbuilding, but it retains the substantial lower members of a scarf-jointed cruck-couple 2.6m from the end-wall. An early photograph shows that this house, already roofless, had a loft window in its NE gable, but the roof-spaces of the other houses were presumably unlit until their roofs of roped thatch, shown in the same view, were replaced during the present century.

Most of the houses had detached outbuildings to the rear, and the remains of several other small storehouses are buil tinto the revetment-wall adjoining the approach-track. The early tenants included some craftsmen, but lived mainly by agriculture and fishing. A small quay was built against the rocks at the SE side of the NE bay, whose shore was used for drying nets, and a rectangular building S of the stream that flows into the bay is believed to have been used for gutting and storing herring. Subsequently this structure was incorporated in a sheep-fank used by the farm that had absorbed most of the agricultural holdings, and the two cottages at the SW end of the NW row were remodelled as a steading early in the present century. The remains of a rectangular enclosure of about 27ha, laid out by William Douglas in 1771, are identifiable on the afforested hillside to the NW, as is the central track giving access for cattle to the former rough grazings above the enclosure.

A schoolmaster was resident at Kenmore as early as 1778,and a Gaelic school which had sixty pupils in 1830 is believed to have occupied a small building above the shore of the SW bay, while the remains of a later school are situated on the N bank of the stream close to the approach-track (en.5). A memorial cairn was erected on the rocks near the NE bay in 1930 to commemorate the Gaelic poet Ewan MacColl, 'the bard of Loch Fyne', born at Kenmore in 1808.

RCAHMS 1992, visited May 1985


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