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Skye, Monkstadt House

House (18th Century)

Site Name Skye, Monkstadt House

Classification House (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Mugstead

Canmore ID 11192

Site Number NG36NE 7

NGR NG 37973 67485

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmuir
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Monkstadt House (or Mugstead), 1732 -41 , interior remodelled by James Gillespie Graham, 1803

Plain former laird's house of five bays with later extension and porch, set above what was once an orchard on a sward of reclaimed land. Built for Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat re-using stones from Duntulm Castle, which it replaced as the Macdonald seat, Monkstadt was reputedly the first slated house in Skye. It became a tacksman's house after the Macdonalds moved to Armadale in 1798, and was ruinous by the 1950s. But measured drawings of 1928 document it well, recording elegant Georgian plasterwork and panelling. Recent investigation has revealed bits of 17th-century fireplaces behind window embrasures. Court of Farm Offices, Gillespie Graham, c.1803, also roofless, with surviving gearing and arm for two-beast horse-walk.

[In June 1746, the fugitive BPC, disguised as Betty Burke, landed with Flora Macdonald about a mile away from Monkstadt on the Kilbride shore, having sailed from Benbecula. He did not have the support of Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat, but his wife Margaret was sympathetic and helped them to reach Kingsburgh.]

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

Archaeology Notes

NG36NE 7.00 37973 67485

(NG 377 674) Monkstadt (NAT)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1903)

NG36NE 7.01 NG 37788 67425 Steading

(NG 376 748) Monkstadt House, originally built in the second half of the 17th century as a dower house for the widow of Sir James Mor, was rebuilt c.1732 by Sir Alexander Macdonald as a replacement for Duntulm Castle (NG47SW 1), using that later place as a quarry for materials. Monkstadt House was vacated by the MacDonalds in 1798 and then became the dwelling of successive tacksmen of the adjoining lands.

A large part of the house is now a roofless ruin, but half of the main block is still inhabited. The old crow-stepped gable at the W end - the stones of which may have come from Duntulm - is still intact.

J Macintyre 1938.

Monkstadt: a roofless, gutted, ruin.

Visited by OS (C F W) 28 April 1961.

No change.

Visited by OS (R L) 8 September 1971.

Architecture Notes

Skye, Monkstadt House.


Scottish Records Office :

Proposed repair of the house.

The work is noted in 'Buildings to be erected in Skye in 1803'.

1803 GD 221/73/8

Proposed building of a stable, byre and cartshed.

Letters (2) from James Gillespie, Architect, to John Campbell, W. S.

He forwarded plans, specification and estimate. The barn is to be slated because he considers thatch unsuitable for that exposed part of the country.

1814 GD 221/24

Expense of repair of Mugstead House and building of a barn.

1802-1803 #437.14.8 1/4

1803-1904 #332.4.8 3/4

1804-1805 #47.12.1 1/4

1813-1814 #11.13.8

Abstract of Entailed Improvements. Certified by James Gillespie, Architect.

GD 221/43/42


Scottish Records Office :

Report on the condition of the house.

Letter from John Campbell, Chamberlain in Skye.

He enclosed a letter from James Gillespie about the House of Mugstot.

1801 GD 221/28/42

Rebuilding of the house.

Letter from James Gillespie, Architect to John Campbell, W. S.

He writes that he is at present preparing all the inside work for the House of Mugstead, which is to be gutted.

Meantime he has finished the barn and small additional buildings.

1803 GD 221/91

(Undated) information in NMRS.


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