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An Cormer

Motte (Medieval)

Site Name An Cormer

Classification Motte (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Balliemeanoch

Canmore ID 40794

Site Number NS19NW 1

NGR NS 1026 9997

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NS19NW 1 1026 9997

NN 099 012. [This NGR is presumed to be incorrect] Motte: Approximately 1/2 mile from the old village, and beside the A815 road, there is a square mound 15' high, with the traceable remains of a ditch to the E and S. The top is flat and measures 78' N-S by 77' transversely. There are overgrown foundations of a long building along its S side, measuring 59' by 29' overall. In size and form it resembles the motte called Sir John de Graham's castle (NS68NE 1) near Fintry.

There appears to be no early record of a feudal grant in the area; the lands were occupied by the MacArthur Campbell family from at least the first half of the 14th century.

J Kirby and H B Millar 1966.

NS 1026 9997: The motte is as described. It is also similar in shape and construction to NS08NW 2.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (DWR) 28 February 1973.


Field Visit (December 1988)

This rectangular flat-topped earthen mound stands close to the A815 on the NE side of the valley of the River Cur, 0.7kmSSW of Balliemeanoch farmhouse and 120m NNE of a modern cottage named An Cormer. A burn skirts the N flank of the earthwork, which rises up to 7m above the surrounding marshy ground, and there are remains of substantial turf field-dykes at the base of the SW and SE sides. The regular steeply-scarped banks are squared or slightly rounded at the angles and there are slight traces of stony debris at the E angle and around a depression in the centre of the NW side, where a later terraced path probably marks the position of the original entrance.

The summit-area measures some 24m from NW to SE by about 20m, and has an 8m length of low perimeter-bank along the NE edge, while the SW half of the site is occupied by the turf-covered remains of a rectangular building. This measures about l3m from NW to SE by 6m within low walls, apparently rounded at the angles and now spread to widths of 1m to 2m. A gap at the S end of the E side-wall probably marks the position of an entrance, and there are also traces of a possible opening in the opposite wall.

The earthwork can be interpreted more readily as a hall- or house-platform than as a conventional motte, for which ahistorical context is lacking before the arrival of the MacArthur Campbells in the late 13th or 14th century (en.1). On typological grounds the building may belong to the 15th or 16th century.

RCAHMS 1992, visited December 1988

Measured Survey (1988)

RCAHMS surveyed the motte at Balliemeanoch, Strachur in 1988 with plane-table and alidade producing a site plan and section at a scale of 1:400. The plan and section were redrawn in ink and published at a scale of 1:1000 (RCAHMS 1992, 213).


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