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Loch Awe, Innis Chonnel Castle

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Loch Awe, Innis Chonnel Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Ardchonnel Castle; Ardconnel Castle; Connel Castle

Canmore ID 23162

Site Number NM91SE 2

NGR NM 97678 11916

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilchrenan And Dalavich
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM91SE 2 97678 11916.

(NM 9767 1192) Castle (NR)

Innis Chonnel Castle stands on a small, rocky island in Loch Awe opposite the village of Dalavich. The castle, which occupies almost all the island above the shore line, was, until the late 15th century the chief strong hold of the Campbells.

The general plan incorporates an outer bailey to the east, separated from a smaller, middle bailey by an entrance-gatehouse, and, to the west, the main structure of the castle with its inner bailey. The existing buildings belong to several different periods, the earliest surviving building being the inner bailey which was erected in the first half of the 13th century as a small, rectangular castle of enceinte. Within this, a number of buildings were grouped round a small, central courtyard. The inner bailey was extensively remodelled during the 15th century, but its present plan and overall dimensions - 25.7 by 25.1 metres - correspond closely with those of the 13th century structure. The entrance gateway is on the east side and is of 15th century date, though the original entrance probably occupied a similar position.

The south range and SE tower contain much early work, the south elevation in particular being mainly 13th century in character, but the existing courtyard buildings of the south range are predominantly of 15th century date. They comprise a substantial four-storeyed block, which occupies the SE corner of the courtyard, together with an adjacent three-storeyed block of much smaller size.

The west range, as reconstructed during the 15th century comprised a hall and kitchen set over a range of vaulted cellars, including a small prison, together with a tower at the SW angle containing a series of small private rooms.

The north curtain wall, except at its extremities, appears to be of 13th century date and evidence for the existence of contemporary, internal buildings can be seen towards the west end.

The wall of the middle bailey, mainly of 15th century date, is best preserved on the south and east sides where it rises to a maximum height of 2.4 metres. The gatehouse appears to have been a single storey structure and was equipped with parapet wall-walks on the north and south sides overlooking the entrance doorway below.

The wall of the outer bailey is now ruinous and incomplete, the remains being of 15th century date.

The castle has little recorded history, but it is known to have been ruinous by 1806.

RCAHMS 1975; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889.

As described.

Surveyed at 1:2,500.

Visited by OS (DWR) 16 October 1971.


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