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Castle Toward, Auchavoulin House

Chapel (Medieval)(Possible), House (17th Century)

Site Name Castle Toward, Auchavoulin House

Classification Chapel (Medieval)(Possible), House (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Old Auchavoulin House; Auchawilling Chapel

Canmore ID 40704

Site Number NS16NW 10

NGR NS 1165 6817

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/40704

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Dunoon And Kilmun
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NS16NW 10 1165 6817.

(NS 1165 6817) Ruin (NR)

OS 25" map (1870)

An end or side of an ancient building still remaining entire, situated at the NE corner of the gardens. The proprietor supposes it to have been a religious house.

Name Book 1870

Auchawilling Chapel: A very small and ancient chapel near the modern Castle Toward. It probably formed part of the buildings of the old house of Acuhawilling.

Argyll County Council 1914

The ruin itself is the remains of a secular building of no architectural interest. Within the SW corner of the ruin, however, is a small cell-like room measuring 2.8m by 2.0m which has a small niche built into the S wall and an external arched doorway in the E. Although this room has probably been the reason for attributing a religious use to the building, the proprietors of Castle Toward (now a school) have no knowledge of its former purpose.

Visited by OS (IA) 1 March 1973.

Activities

Field Visit (October 1988)

The estate on which Castle Toward (No. 158) was built in 1820 had belonged since the early 16th century to the Campbells of Auchawilling or Auchavoulin, a cadet line of the Ardkinglas family (en.1). Pont's map of about 1590 (en.2) shows a tower-house with enclosure, similar to the nearby Toward Castle (No. 139), but the existing fragment appears to belong to a house of early or mid 17th-century date. It is uncertain whether this is the building on which James Campbell paid tax for 13 windows in 1799, but it was reduced to its present ruined state by 1870 (en.3*).

The existing remains, situated at the NE angle of the walled garden 130m E of Castle Toward, comprise a two-storeyed side-wall 14.5m long by 1.1m thick and about 6m high, oriented exactly E-w, with the stumps of return walls at E and W. There is no visible evidence of the original width of the building, which is of random rubble with copious dressings of the red sandstone found near Toward Point; traces of wall-plaster survive internally.

The ground floor comprised three transverse barrel-vaulted cellars, 3.1m and 3.5m in span, whose vault-scars and the tuskers of the springing-walls are best preserved in the W half. A further vault at the W, only 1.5m in span, probably belonged to a kitchen fireplace similar to that in the E range of Toward Castle (No. 139), its W wall being only 0.4m thick. This space was lit by a slit-window 0.36m high, and the cellars by single windows measuring 0.5m wide and 0.7m high in the W cellar, and 0.2m by 0.4m in the others. All of these openings have 60mm chamfered surrounds, sockets for vertical iron bars, and splayed embrasures with stepped sills and lintelled roofs. Below the windows of the E and central cellars there are recesses in the inner wall-face, of uncertain purpose. In the E and W cellars there are aumbries, 0.7m wide and 0.9m high.

The upper floor was divided into two rooms by a cross-wall whose tuskers remain 3.2m from the E end-wall. The smaller room was lit by a window with splayed embrasure and a daylight opening 0.6m wide and 1m high, wrought on the jambs and lintel with an 85mm roll and having a glazing groove; lintels with relieving-arches span the window and embrasure. Only the S ingo survives of another window in the E wall of this room. The two windows in the S wall of the larger room were similar, but are 0.8m wide, and the w window, which has lost its lintels, has straight ingoes. There are also two aumbries in this wall. The return of the W end wall preserves the S jamb of another roll-moulded window, presumably lighting a recess formed by the chimney breast above the kitchen fireplace. A small barrel-vaulted cellar was formed at the E end of the ground floor, probably in the early 19th century, and its segmental entrance-arch, in the W wall, was filled in the early20th century with angular tracery. This may have been inspired by the belief that the building was 'a religious house' or an 'ancient chapel’ (en.4).

RCAHMS 1992, visited October 1988

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