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Old Inveraray Castle

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Old Inveraray Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Inveraray Castle, Old Castle; Inveraray Castle Policies

Canmore ID 23367

Site Number NN00NE 7

NGR NN 0968 0930

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NN00NE 7 0968 0930

See also NN00NE 15.00.

NN 095 093. Inveraray Castle - site of.

A long trench 6' wide was cut N from a point 200' in front of the present castle front door, and midway in its length another trench was cut eastwards at right angles to it. These revealed the site of the old castle, but the building itself had been entirely cleared away down to its foundation by landscape gardeners in the 18th century, after the present castle was completed. It bore all the signs of hasty construction. This bears out a statement from a report of 1743 in the Argyll archives which pointed out that the old castle was cracked from parapet to foundation in several places and was not worth repairing. No artifacts were found, save for a scatter of 18th century pottery in the topsoil, now in the possession of the Duke of Argyll.

The old castle is shown in an engraving (Campbell 1885) as a tower house. The first reference to a 'manor house' here is mid-15th century.

Lord A Campbell 1885; M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964; H B Millar and J Kirkhope 1966.

NN 0968 0930: The excavation trenches are still visible, and the site is marked by three concrete pillars.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (DWR), 7 March 1973.


Publication Account (1992)

This 15th-century tower-house stood about 80m NE of Inveraray Castle (No. 184), and 60m from the W bank of the River Aray. Small-scale excavations in 1966 identified the robbed foundations of the tower, which was demolished about 1774, and the site is now marked by three concrete pillars (en.1). The tower stood at the edge of a terrace 10m above the river, and the subsidence of 'the bancke' was among the causes suggested in 1744 for its ruinous state (en.2).

The original rectangular tower, said to have been erected in the 1450s by the builder of Kilchurn Castle, was converted to an L-plan and otherwise modified, probably in the late 16th century, and at about the same period an elongated SW range was added. Further to the sw, on the site of the present NE terrace, stables had been built, probably some time before 1720-2 when they were remodelled and a matching L-plan domestic block added to the designs of Alexander McGill, 30m apart and flanking the approach to a forecourt 58m long. These pavilions remained in regular use by the 3rd Duke of Argyll until 1761, but the whole complex was swept away in the early 1770s. However, some parts of it are recorded in plans of about 1722 and in drawings by Paul and Thomas Sandby and other artists (en.3*).


[A full architectural description and historical note is provided in RCAHMS 1992, 286-289)


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