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Island Muller

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Island Muller

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Kilbrannon Sound; Kilbrannan Sound; Island Muller Castle

Canmore ID 38787

Site Number NR72SE 4

NGR NR 7564 2244

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NR72SE 4 7564 2244

(NR 7563 2245) Fort (NR).

OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., (1924)

Castle. Island Muller is a small rock-promontory upon the summit of which, approached by means of a grass-grown causeway about 90m in length, there stand the fragmentary remains of a small tower-house of medieval date. The tower, now reduced to its lowermost courses, appears to be constructed of local random-rubble masonry laid in lime mortar. It is oblong on plan and measures 13.3m from E to W by 12.0m transversely; the side walls have a thickness of about 2.8m and the end walls a thickness of 2.6m. An external return in the masonry of the W wall may mark the site of an entrance doorway, while a small relieving-arch near the centre of the S wall (A on RCAHMS plan) probably indicates the position of a latrine-chute outlet. The low turf-grown mound that partly encloses the tower may represent the remains of a rampart-wall of contemporary, or of earlier, date.

It is uncertain whether the causeway is of natural or of artificial origin; it appears to lie above the level reached by the highest tides. At the inner end of the causeway there is a small rectangular platform (X) enclosed on its three landward sides by the remains of a wall of stone or turf; this may have served to shelter small boats hauled up from the shallow little bay situated on the N side of the promontory. The approach track passes the inner end of this platform and skirts the W base of the rock outcrop before turning eastwards to ascend its southern slopes. Immediately before the point at which it begins to ascend, the track passes through what seems to be the remains of a small sub-rectangular building or enclosure (Y) measuring about 10.7m from W to E by 7.6m transversely over all.

Almost nothing is known of the history of this castle, but the simple rectangular plan and massive construction of the tower suggest that it was erected at a comparatively early date within the medieval period. During the 16th century the lands of Ballimenach and Smerby appear to have been held by the MacDonald family, and it is on record that Sir James MacDonald, son of Angus MacDonald of Dunnyveg, imprisoned his father at Smerby in 1597.

RCAHMS 1971, visited 1965.

The remains of the tower-house are as described and planned by RCAHMS (1971).

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (JB), 31 October 1977.

NR 7564 2244 Site identified as part of a coastal zone assessment survey.

M Cressey and S Badger 2005.


Project (October 2004)

A rapid coastal zone assessment was carried out during October 2004. The survey included parts of East Kintyre and South Arran. The survey was aimed at increasing our knowledge of coastal archaeological sites in the aforementioned study areas to identify sites that are currently at risk from coastal erosion. /An important component of the study was to establish new Shorewatch groups and train them in basic site identification and recording techniques.

Funder: The SCAPE Trust and Firth of Clyde Forum on behalf of Historic Scotland.

CFA Archaeology Ltd.


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