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Duntrune Castle

Castle (Medieval), Fort (Prehistoric)(Possible)

Site Name Duntrune Castle

Classification Castle (Medieval), Fort (Prehistoric)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Duntroon Castle; Poltalloch Estate; Loch Crinan

Canmore ID 39147

Site Number NR79NE 3

NGR NR 79363 95576

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NR79NE 3.00 79363 95576

(NR 7936 9557) Duntroon Castle (NR)

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

NR79NE 3.01 centred NR 7936 9557 Garden

NR79NE 3.02 NR 7940 9570 Farmsteading and gate piers

NR79NE 3.03 NR 79214 95650 Boat House

See also:

NR89NW 131 NR 80223 95859 Gate Piers

OWNER: Colonel G I Malcolm of Poltalloch



I G Lindsay Collection, W/365


1 newspaper cutting - missing at time of upgrade (10.9.1999).

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Castle visible on oblique air photograph - CUCAP JS 71 1.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Duntrune Castle (information from OS) occupies a promontory projecting into the N side of Loch Crinan. It comprises a 13th century enceinte wall, 6' thick, 24-28' high, enclosing an irregular area 70' by 50'. The entrance is in the NE and has been strengthened later by a lower wall, forming a narrow way round two sides of the enceinte. A 17th century L-plan house stands in the S angle of the courtyard, evidently on the site of an earlier one, incorporating part of its walls. This has few important features, the roof having been modernised. but the crow-stepped gables survive. It is now a private residence, and was the seat of the Campbells of Duntroon, besieged by Colkitto or his son Alasdair in the 17th century.

It may occupy the site of an earlier (prehistoric) fort (Campbell and Sandeman 1964).

NSA 1845; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; S Cruden 1960; M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964; Information from Col G Malcolm, owner.

'Duntrune Castle' is as described above. There is no evidence of an earlier fort.

Visited by OS (RD) 6 April 1970.

As described in the previous information.

Surveyed at 1/10,000.

Visited by OS (TRG) 26 January 1977.


Field Visit (May 1982)

This castle stands on a rocky promontory on the N side of Loch Crinan commanding a wide prospect on all except the N and NW approaches. To the S of the castle the promontory extends into the loch as a low rocky spit reached by a causeway and usable as a boat-landing in calm weather. There is a more sheltered beach and boat-landing on the E side of the headland. The landward approach is now by a driveway and an artificial terraced platform, but the castle may at one time have been protected by a natural gully or ditch, separating it from a higher knoll to the NE. There are the footings of an oblong building of bicameral plan and indeterminate age on the summit of this knoll.

The castle consists of an irregular round-angled polygonal enclosure incorporating a three-storeyed L-plan tower in the S angle. It is roofed and inhabited, and modern ranges of buildings extend along the internal NW and NE faces of the courtyard. The sequence of building is reasonably clear, but precise criteria for dating the earliest phases of construction are lacking. The enclosure itself probably belongs to the late medieval period, and the general layout and character of the castle are more analogous to the 15th-century Breachacha and Kisimul Castles than to earlier enclosure-castles such as Mingary and Tioram (en.1). The existing tower-house can be ascribed to about 1600, probably replacing an earlier structure in a similar position, and the manner in which it has been built against and over the top of the earlier enclosure is particularly evident on the SW wall. A scheme of restoration and alterations was undertaken after 1796 when the castle was purchased by Neil Malcolm of Poltalloch. Following the abandonment of Poltalloch House (No. 177), the buildings of the castle were further modernised and extended between 1954 and 1957 by Col. George Malcolm of Poltalloch.

RCAHMS 1992, visited May 1982

[A full architectural description and historical note is provided in RCAHMS 1992, 276-282)

Measured Survey (May 1982)

RCAHMS surveyed Duntrune Castle in May 1982 with plane-table and alidade producing plans of the first and second floor at a scale of 1:100. The plans were redrawn in ink and published at a scale of 1:250 (RCAHMS 1992, 279A).

Measured Survey (May 1982)

RCAHMS surveyed Duntrune Castle in May 1982 with plane-table and alidade producing plan of the ground floor and courtyard at a scale of 1:100. The plan was redrawn in ink and published at a scale of 1:250 (RCAHMS 1992, 278A).

Measured Survey (13 May 1982)

RCAHMS surveyed Duntrune Castle on 13 May 1982 with plane-table and alidade producing plan of the site at a scale of 1:400. The plan was redrawn in ink and published at a scale of 1:1000 (RCAHMS 1992, 277).


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