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Castle Stalker

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Castle Stalker

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Island Stalcaire; Elen Stalker Castle

Canmore ID 23298

Site Number NM94NW 2

NGR NM 92078 47310

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Lismore And Appin (Argyll And Bute)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Summary Record (2006 - 2007)

Guarding the mouth of Loch Laich from the islet of Eilean an Stalcaire. Tower house built c. 1540 by the Stewarts of Appin after the subjugation of the W Isles by King James V.

Having passed through a number of owners and states of repair, roofless by the mid C19th. In the 1960's the castle was bought by the Allward family who embarked on a full repair and restoration.


Archaeology Notes

NM94NW 2 92078 47310.

(NM 9208 4731) Castle Stalker (NR)

Castle Stalker stands on a rocky islet at the mouth of Loch Laich. The existing remains consist of an imposing, well-preserved tower-house and fragmentary remains of an associated barmkin. An extensive scheme of reconstruction was begun in 1965 and is still in progress.

The usual approach is from the east over a stretch of water about 100 metres wide. There is no sign of a causeway and it would appear that access has always been by small boat. From the landing place, a roughly constructed staircase, traces of which still remain, ascended to the barmkin which, except on the NW side, seems to have enclosed the tower. Traces of a postern doorway adjacent to the west corner of the tower are still visible. Little of the barmkin wall remains, but a 3 metre length of footings survives immediately SW of the doorway and some scanty remains are visible at the north corner of the tower. It can be deduced that the barmkin wall was intended to be about 1.5 metres thick and 3.9 metres high. A rock-cut pool just below the postern doorway appears to have constituted the only source of water supply for the castle.

The tower-house, oblong on plan, measures 14.8 metres NE-SW by 11.8 metres over walls 2.7 metres thick. It consists of a ground floor, two upper storeys and a garret. The ground floor entrance is situated near the centre of the SE wall, and has provision for two doors of which the inner, probably an iron yett, was secured by a drawbar. This entrance is also protected by machicolation at parapet level above. The ground floor comprises three cellars and a pit prison, all of which are barrel-vaulted. In the north corner a turnpike stairway, which rises to the full height of the building, forms the only means of access to the upper floors.

The principal entrance is in the NE wall at first floor level. It was originally probably reached by a timbered stairway and gang-planks, but this arrangement was later replaced by a drawbridge which, in turn, went out of use when a stone forestair was constructed.

The first and second floors each consist of a single large apartment whilst an enclosed parapet walk surrounds the garret chamber.

The castle was probably constructed about 1540 and, historically, is closely associated with the Stewarts and Campbells. It became roofless shortly before 1831.

RCAHMS 1975; MacGibbon and Ross 1889.

As described.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (JP) 2 December 1971.

Architecture Notes



Board of Ordnance (Ref. MSS 1645-1652) Vol.1648 - report on state of castle.


July 1951, page 20 - 1 photograph.


Photographic Survey (2006 - 2007)

Photographed by the Listed Building Area Survey, Argyll upgrade programme.



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