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Inveraray Castle Estate, Dun Na Cuaiche, Tower

Folly (18th Century), Tower (18th Century)

Site Name Inveraray Castle Estate, Dun Na Cuaiche, Tower

Classification Folly (18th Century), Tower (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Duniquaich; Duniquiache; Duniquich; Inveraray Castle Policies

Canmore ID 23632

Site Number NN11SW 1

NGR NN 10034 10124

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NN11SW 1 10034 10124

(NN 1003 1012) Tower (NR)

OS 6" map, Argyll, 2nd ed., (1900)

1748. Roger Morris, architect; William Douglas, mason. 'Gothick' folly. Square, 1 storey and basement. Rubble, domed, aperture at top. Doorway; 2 pointed unglazed windows. Apsidal recess at basement. Stone floor.

HBD No. 21

Recently damaged by lightning.

M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964.

As described. Not an antiquity.

Visited by OS (D W R) 21 March 1973.

Architecture Notes

Duniquaich Water Tower.


James Adam, 1756-1757 - attribution.

Duniquaich - Fountainhead.

Precise location of fountainhead uncertain at time of upgrade, 6.3.2000


John Adam (attribution), 1747-1748.


Measured Survey (May 1983)

RCAHMS surveyed Dun na Cuaiche Tower, Inveraray Castle Estate in May 1983 producing a general site plan at a scale pf 1:400 and plans of the ground and first floor at a scale of 1:100. The plans were redrawn in ink, with the site plan published at a scale of 1:1000 and the floor plans at a scale of 1:250 (RCAHMS 1992, 417B & 418D).

Field Visit (May 1988)

This tower surmounts the rocky crag, 248m OD in height, that overlooks Inveraray from the NE. It is placed somewhat below the highest point, in a hollow near the S scarp of the sloping summit-area, but occupying a conspicuous position on the skyline as seen from the castle and town. It was one of the earliest ornamental buildings commissioned by the 3rd Duke of Argyll from Roger Morris, and was built in 1747-8 by William Douglas, at a contract price of £46 for the mason work, under the supervision of William Adam (en.1). A winding roadway on the N slope of the hill was built at the same time, for the transport of building-materials and the convenience of visitors. A surrounding earthwork has been identified in the past as a prehistoric fort, but it is not characteristic of this class of monument and may be the result of 18th-century landscaping, although an earlier military origin is possible (en.2*).

The tower was struck by lightning as early as 1752, and has been damaged on several subsequent occasions. The masonry was repaired in 1989.The tower measures 6.5m by 6.2m and is about 15m high. It is built of granite rubble quarried at Carloonan, with rough schist arch-voussoirs, and roofing-slabs also of schist. On the S, where the ground-level is lowest, a pointed arch opens into a half-domed room or 'cave'. A projecting rubble band marks the first-floor level, which is entered on the N by a straight-lintelled doorway whose threshold is 0.8m above the approach-causeway. Above the square schist eaves-cornice is the lowest of three stepped tiers of roofing-slabs; these are now damaged, and the form of the apex is not identifiable.

The circular first-floor room is 3.8m in diameter and is roofed by a corbelled domical vault 8.5m in height. In the Sand E walls there are lancet windows with segmental rear-arches, affording fine views of Inveraray and Loch Fyne, while in the W wall there is a recess, indicated on the contract drawingas a cupboard (3*).

The tower stands within an almost triangular enclosure following the scarp of the summit-area, 65m from E to W by30m in width at the Wend. The enclosing stony mound is most substantial at the W, rising to a height of 3m above the interior; elsewhere it is up to 3m thick and 1m high. At a lower level to the N, a similar bank running along a natural terrace encloses ground sloping steeply from the summit. The line of the main enclosure appears to correspond to that of a proposed crenellated wall with loopholes and intermediate circular towers, shown in a drawing of about 1750 attributed to John Adam. This scheme may have been designed as an elaboration of an earthwork contemporary with the tower, and it shows a flagpole on the highest point of the W bank. The tower itself was to receive a corbelled and crenellated parapet, with an arcaded ruin of ecclesiastical character extending to the N, and a wall with corbelled angle-turret at the W (en.4*).

RCAHMS 1992, visited May 1988


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