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Gourock, Castle Levan

Castle (Medieval)

Site Name Gourock, Castle Levan

Classification Castle (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Levan Castle; Levan Burn; Leven Castle

Canmore ID 41324

Site Number NS27NW 3

NGR NS 21584 76365

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Inverclyde
  • Parish Inverkip
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Inverclyde
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS27NW 3 21584 76365

(NS 2159 7635) Levan Castle (NR)

(remains of) (NAT)

OS 6" map (1970)

Though called 'Leven Castle' by Macgibbon and Ross (and scheduled by that name) all other authorities consulted give the name as 'Levan Castle'. Occupying a very strong site on the edge of a ravine, it consists of two towers, joined only at one corner (see plan). The castle probably dates from two periods; the original tower, that to the N, being of 15th century date while a larger keep was added to the SE in the early 16th century. It stood three storeys and a garret high, with very thick walls and a parapet and walk carried on chequered corbelling. The windows are notably small, and there are a number of keyhole-type arrow-slits. Macgibbon and Ross note that the vault shown in the foreground of their illustration was probably connected with outbuildings in the barmkin.

Excavations to trace these were carried out in the early 1970's (E Talbot and P C Denholm 1970; P C Denholm and A Hallifax-Crawford 1974; P C Denholm 1993) they showed that the barmkin was about 13.7m inside width and the S tower of the castle was partly built on the robber trench of the E barmkin wall. The kitchen midden was found, centred on the E side of the S wing. It contained 5,000 pieces of bone and sea-shell, Mid 15th- 16th century pottery was also found. Foundations of a possible early gatehouse were found in the courtyard area. Finds were to be placed in Paisley Museum.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887; N Tranter 1970; E Talbot and P C Denholm 1970; P C Denholm and A Hallifax-Crawford 1974; P C Denholm 1993.

When seen in 1955, Levan Castle was described as 'Situated on a rocky eminence overlooking Levan Burn, the remains, apart from the W side, are in poor condition. The structure is composed of large coursed blocks of stone with walls 1.5m thick. The corbelling is very similar to that at Ardgowan (NS27SW 1). A shaft leads from a niche 1.5m high in the N wall to the top of the castle. The windows vary from narrow slit type to broad rectangular'.

Visited by OS (JD), 23 June 1955.

Now restored and occupied.

N Tranter 1990.


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