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Inverneill House

Country House (Post Medieval)

Site Name Inverneill House

Classification Country House (Post Medieval)

Canmore ID 39427

Site Number NR88SW 9

NGR NR 8464 8148

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish South Knapdale
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR88SW 9.00 NR 8464 8148.

See also:

NR88SW 8 NR 84720 81535 Walled Garden

NR88SW 9.01 NR 84771 81582 Gardener's House (Summer House)

NR88SW 9.02 NR 84775 81520 Kitchen House (Summer House)


Field Visit (November 1988)

The remains of this small mansion stand 40m from the N bank of the Inverneil Burn and 300m from its outflow into Whitehouse Bay on the w shore of Loch Fyne. The existing building is a crenellated two-storeyed tower with crowstepped E and W gables, added in the late 19th century as the N wing of a house of late 18th- or early 19th-century date, demolished in 1955, whose roof-line is still visible on the S side-wall. The earlier house, described about 1840 as 'the Cottage', was also two-storeyed and was of four bays, including at the S end a projecting round-fronted and hip-roofed bay with a tripartite window at each level. The interior was described about 1840 as containing dining- and drawing rooms and eight bedrooms including two, with adjacent dressing-rooms, in 'the bow' (en.1).

The estate of Inverneill was acquired in 1773 for General (Sir) Archibald Campbell, then on active service in Madras, by his brothers James and Duncan; (Sir) James inherited the estate on his brother's death in 1791, and his descendants held it until 1954. A survey of 1776 shows that the site of the present house and garden was then arable surrounded by woodland, but there was a building on the S bank of the Inverneil Burn and NNE of the present Inverneill Farm (NRc.841811). It is said that this area, known as 'the castle garden', was the site of an earlier mansion and that Sir Archibald laid out an avenue intended to lead to a new house which was never built (en.2). Langlands's 1801 map of Argyll appears not to show the present house, but it and the adjacent garden were probably built before the death of Sir James in 1805. Sir Archibald had been buried in Westminster Abbey, but his brother erected a mausoleum (No. 42) 850m WSW of the house in 1802. Further proposals of 1827 for a house to the S of the burn were not carried through (en.3).

GARDEN. The large walled garden lying E of the house is of irregular plan, measuring about 120m by 60m and enclosing an area of about 0.75ha. Except for a dismantled stretch immediately in front of the house the slab-coped rubble walls, 0.65m in thickness, stand to about 4m. Asymmetrical E frontage some 64m in length includes a central arched gateway and two-storeyed circular angle pavilions, the S one also incorporating a basement. The conical-roofed pavilions have crenellated parapets, first-floor Venetian windows, and external forestairs to the first floors, supported in one case by a Doric column; the perron of the N pavilion is entered from within the garden. The remains of raised paths show that the internal area has been divided into four roughly equal quarters, and in the centre of the NE quarter there is a stone baluster-shafted sundial with brass gnomon.

ICE-HOUSE. About 30m W of the S pavilion there are turf-covered remains of a domed ice-house. It has a slab-lintelled entrance-passage and a corbelled egg-shaped interior about3m in maximum diameter and over 4.6m in height above accumulated soil at the base. It was built into the steep N bank of the Inverneil Burn, and at the base of the structure there is a lintelled and slab-sided drain.

RCAHMS 1992, visited November 1988


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