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St Catherines, St Catherine Hotel

Hotel (Period Unassigned)

Site Name St Catherines, St Catherine Hotel

Classification Hotel (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Inn

Canmore ID 158996

Site Number NN10NW 16

NGR NN 12150 07499

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Site Management (28 January 2010)

2-storey with attic, 3-bay rectangular-plan coaching inn with late 20th century ground floor extension to entire NW (principal) elevation and long, low wing. Long, rectangular-plan former stable block with incorporated 3-bay single storey cottage adjoins hotel at SW. Render with some painted stone surrounds to windows. Inn; overhanging eaves with exposed rafters, narrow plain bargeboards to gable ends. Inn and cottage; gabled dormers with bargeboards.

It is reputed that there has been a hostelry on this site since 1460 however the present building dates back to the mid 18th century with later alterations. To the SE of the hotel there are fragmentary remains of a ruined chapel, founded in the mid 15th century by Duncan Campbell of Lochawe. Groome's Gazetteer records that next to the chapel was a holy well, which was frequented by pilgrims. With both buildings established during the mid 15th century the inn would have been built to provide shelter and accommodation for the pilgrims and travellers. To the NW of the hotel is the remains of an 82m stone pier built to Thomas Telford's design in 1812-1820 (RCAHMS), which possibly replaced a much smaller pier. With the improvement of communications throughout Scotland in the 18th century the inn was rebuilt in 1756 as a coaching inn. A ferry service operated from Inveraray to St Catherines crossing Loch Fyne whereupon travellers would be able to continue the next part of their journey via roads leading to Kilmun, Lochgoilhead, Cairndow and Glencroe. This route was favoured by the Earls of Argyll as the most direct route to and from the Lowlands. The inn's low wing may pre-date 1756 but this has not been established. The main building of the inn is similar in size and form to the mid 18th century coaching inn at nearby Cairndow, the only real difference being the roof. The roof of St Catherines with its overhanging eaves and bargeboards implies a19th century roof placed on an older building. Said to have suffered a fire in the 19th century, the inn may originally have had a steeper pitched roof, similar to that at Cairndow. This theory is further supported by evidence of raggles on the inner faces of the stacks which indicate remains of a steeper pitched roof. The rebuilding date of 1756 also ties in with the opening of a nearby quarry to the S of the inn. From 1751, stone quarried at St Catherines was the main source of ashlar for Inveraray Castle with its distinctive light green hue. With up to fifty quarriers being employed, the inn would have been at the hub of all this activity. After this flurry of activity in the latter half of the 18th century the quarry was occasionally worked in the 19th century with no new workings after 1849 (RCAHMS) The car park to the NE of the hotel is thought to have been the paddock area where horses were grazed. ( Historic Scotland)


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