Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Barcaldine Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Barcaldine Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Black Castle Of Barcaldine

Canmore ID 23314

Site Number NM94SW 1

NGR NM 90793 40576

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Ardchattan And Muckairn (Argyll And Bute)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM94SW 1 90793 40576.

(NM 90794058) Barcaldine Castle (NR)

Barcaldine Castle, an imposing tower-house, was built by Sir Duncan Campbell, 7th laird of Glenorchy, between 1601 and 1609. Minor alterations were made in the early 18th century, but during the second half of the 19th century it was derelict and roofless. Restored between 1897-1911, it is still in use as a residence and despite its varying fortunes, it remains a good example of a laird's dwelling of its period. It is L-shaped on plan, the axis of the main block being approx E-W. The main block measures 14.5 metres E-W by 8.9 metres over walls varying in thickness from 1.4 to 1.9 metres at ground level. The wing at the SW measures 7.5 metres E-W by 7.3 metres. It projects slightly beyond the west gable of the main block and in the SE re-entrant angle, there is a circular stair tower.

The building as a whole consists of a vaulted ground storey with two unvaulted upper storeys and a rebuilt garret. Above the entrance doorway, which is on the east side of the stair tower, is an iron-grilled window over which is a schist panel inscribed with the initials of the original owner and the date 1609.

Angle turrets protrude on the NW, SW and SE corners, all with modern, conical roofs. The masonry was pierced by a number of peep-holes, pistol-holes and gun-loops but many of these have been blocked externally. The walls are now harled and white-washed.

Added interest is given to the castle by the survival of an inventory of fittings, compiled in 1621.

RCAHMS 1975.

As described.

Visited by OS (RD) 8 November 1971.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889.

Surveyed at 1:2500 scale.

NM 9079 4058 A watching brief on the installation of a new drain, septic tank and soakaway reed bed, covering c 70m2, was undertaken in January 2004 at the NE of Barcaldine Castle (NM94SW 1). No archaeological features of note were located. The ha-ha wall is of 1900s construction, confirmed in plans relating to the restoration of the castle and gardens in 1897-1911, and the land immediately surrounding the castle, at least in the NE, has been made up with imported garden soil.

Report lodged with WoSAS SMR.

Sponsors: Mr R D H Campbell, Trustees of Sir A W D Campbell's Trust.

F Baker 2004

Architecture Notes


Barcaldine Castle.

17th Century. Small but very perfect example.

Owner: Graham-MacDougall.


National Library: Country Life 16 Oct '42.

Scottish Record Office:

Inventory of the House of Barcaldine.

Provides a description of the interior of the castle as well as its furniture and furnishing.

1621 GD112/22/4A

Roofing of the Castle.

Payment made to Alexander Jack, for thatching Glenorchie's house in Lorn.

1609 GD112/5/7

Building work at the Castle.

Letter from Sir John Campbell of Glenochry (later 1st Earl of Breadalbane), to Barcladine, his Chamberlain. He wishes the work to continue over the Summer and a report sent to him of what has been done. Andrew Christie, Mason, is to remain in the Castle during the Winter.

1692 GD170/629/37

Condition of the roof of Barcaldine Castle.

Petition of Alexander McIntyre for another roon in the castle as the slates are off the room he occupies at present.

N.D. GD170/564/27

Either wright work at the castle or for the new house at Barcaldine (Dalfuir).

Disharge for wright work from Duncan Toschach.

1706 GD170/204

Repair of the roof of the Castle of Barcaldine.

Memorandum concerning sheet lead.

Estimates (2) for repairing the roof.

Selection of slates and receipt for them.

1777 GD170/351/3/1-5

Repairs to the Castle and the building of the new house.

Andrew Christie, mason, and two wrights are to undertake the work. Sir John hopes that the Castle and the house will be slated before the other workmen return.

Letter from Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy to Alexander Campbell of Bacaldine his chamberlain.

1698 GD170/629/80

Mason work in the Castle and at the Stable.

Order for payments to Andrew Christie, mason.

1693? GD170/629/38

Building and repair work at the Castle.

Estimate from Andrew Christie (#3,187.06.08 Scots).

1698 GD170/204

Report of its ruinous condition. Sir John Campbell has received Andrew Christie's report. He considers that he must have a house in the country so it will be necessary to pull down the old house and build a new.

1698 GD170/629/100

Memorandum, from Peter Drummond, of slates required from Ballachulish Quarry.

N.D. (c.1759?) GD170/1209/1 and 2

Repairs to the Castle and the building of a new house.

Boats are to be built to carry limestone and timber and the saw mill is to be kept going for the house would need a great deal and the castle was not to be 'unfurnished' for it.

Letter from the 1st Earl of Breadalbane.

1698 GD170/629/99a

GD 112/15 vouchers of Factors Accounts 1643-1797

161/12 Flooring house.


Archaeological Evaluation (3 March 2011)

NM 90793 40576 An evaluation was carried out on 3 March 2011 on the proposed site of a new service building, access track with parking, plus a drain and soakaway at Barcaldine Castle. No significant archaeological finds or features were recorded in the two excavated trenches.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: H and C Whitehead Ltd

Headland Archaeology Ltd, 2011


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions