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Tiree, Island House

Castle (Medieval), House (19th Century), Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Tiree, Island House

Classification Castle (Medieval), House (19th Century), Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Heylipol Island House, Tiree House

Canmore ID 21451

Site Number NL94SE 10

NGR NL 98599 43530

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NL94SE 10 98599 43530.

(NL 9859 4353) Island House (NAT) on site of Castle (NR)

OS 1,10000 map, (1976)

The existence of a very strong tower on Tiree was noted by Fordun in the later 14th century (J de Fordun 1871), and in 1549 Donald Monro (D Munro 1961) referred specifically to 'ane fresh water loch, with ane auld castell'. The site can be identified with the 'Castel Loch Hyrbol', shown on Blaeu's map (Blaeu 1654), the loch in question now being known as Loch an Eilein at Heylipoll. A MacLean garrison occupying the 'fort in the Isle of Hinleboll' was successfully beseiged by Archibald, 9th Earl of Argyll on at least one occasion in 1678-9 and by the later years of the 17th century the castle was described as 'ane ruinous tour surrounded with ane trintch of stone and earth'; its remains were probably utilised as a source of building-material during the erection of Island House (which is fully described and planned by the RCAHMS (RCAHMS 1980) in 1748.

The site appears originally to have been an islet, access to the castle having been obtained from the S by means of an approach road and drawbridge, but the subsequent replacement of the drawbridge by an embanked causeway composed of large boulders, extends from the end of an old field-boundary on the N shore of the loch to within a few metres of the NE shore of the peninsula.

Island House, two storeys high, was erected in 1748 by Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Aryll, as a residence for his factor of Tiree. Alterations and additions were made in the 19th century. The harled walls are build of random rubble with pinnings. A single-storeyed range of offices adjoins the W gable-wall, and the peninsula is bounded on the N and W by a re-constructed enclosure wall.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1973; J de Fordun 1871; R W Munro 1961; Macfarline 1908; Statistical Account (OSA) 1794; New Statsitical Account (NSA Rev N MacLean) 1845.

There is no external evidence of the early castle.

Visited by OS (R D) 28 June 1972.


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