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Little Cumbrae Island, Castle Island, Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Little Cumbrae Island, Castle Island, Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 40651

Site Number NS15SE 14

NGR NS 15248 51348

NGR Description Centred on NS 15248 51348

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council North Ayrshire
  • Parish Cumbrae
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cunninghame
  • Former County Buteshire

Archaeology Notes

NS15SE 14 1524 5134.

(NS 1524 5134) Castle (NR) (In Ruins)

OS 6" map (1897)

Little Cumbrae Castle is an oblong building, 41'3" by just over 29' and 46' high to the parapet walk. It is probably of 16th century date.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889

The "Aud Castle" was occupied by Robert II in 1375 and again in 1384.

It is said to have been burnt by Cromwell in 1653.

W Lytteil 1886

Little Cumbrae Castle is as described above; the shell of the building is in sound condition and most of the interior stonework is still in place. There is no local information concerning an earlier structure.

Visited by OS (JTT) 3 November 1964

Little Cumbrae Castle, which was once surrounded by a rampart and ditch, is a simple square keep of probable early 15th century date, long ruinous, but in a fair state of preservation. Three main storeys rise to the parapet and walk, with the usual garret chamber above. Most of the original windows are small, and there are wide splayed gunloops at basement level, with arrow slits. The entrance is at first floor level, now reached by a stone fore-stair but formerly by a removable timber ladder.

The island of Little Cumbrae was apparently a royal property from very early times, possibly coming with the High Steward; the Hunters of nearby Hunterston were hereditary keepers of the castle, which was burned by Cromwell in 1653, and has been semi-ruinous since then.

N Tranter 1970

The exercise was a general survey of the island to report on the condition of known sites and to identify and record any new sites. The survey was carried out by members of ACFA and the Cowal Archaeology & Historical Society in March 1996. A copy of the full report has been lodged with the NMRS.

NS 1524 5134 Little Cumbrae Castle

E B Rennie and J Macdonald 1996


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