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Eilean Assynt

Castle (Medieval)(Possible)

Site Name Eilean Assynt

Classification Castle (Medieval)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Assynt Castle

Canmore ID 4534

Site Number NC12NE 1

NGR NC 1954 2502

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Assynt
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC12NE 1 1954 2502.

(NC 1954 2502) Castle (NR) (remains of)

Os 6"map, (1967)

A castle or fortalice on the Isle of Assint was granted in 1343 to Torkyll M'Cloyd of Lewis by David II, together with grants of certain lands in Assynt. It appears to have been included in the subsequent grants of the land, particularly in the grant of 1511. In 1585 it was beseiged by Houcheon MacKay of Strathnaver in the interests of Donald Neilsone, and defended by Neil Houcheonsone, then ruler of the district, but the seige was raised by Alexander, Earl of Sutherland. In 1646 it was beseiged by the Clan Kenzie and held by the same Donald Neilsone, then laird of Assint, but the seige was abandoned. (Shown on map in

OPS 1855.)

OPS 1855; R Gordon 1813.

The island shown as Isle of Assint on OS 6" is a small, low-lying islet, measuring about 30.0 m by 15.0 m and showing no trace of a building. In three places, however, there are traces of very crude dry stone walling with a maximum height of 1.5 m. This seems to have been constructed as a retaining wall around the edge of the islet and in no place does it project above the upper surface.

The existence of a castle or fort of conventional type on such a small, low-lying island must be considered doubtful. It may be that it was used as a place of temporary refuge. There is a local tradition that the island was once used as a prison and Miss Munro (Margaret Munro, Old Post Office) can remember a wall round the edge, the traces of which have been described.

Visited by OS (E G) 23 May 1962.

Eilean Assynt (OS 6" 1967) is generally as described by the previous field investigator, although the tumbled remains of the wall survive on all but the rocky W side. No entrance or landing is evident. The construction of the wall and placement around the perimeter of the islet resembles that on Eilean nam Faoileag in Loch Brora (NC80NE 8).

Visited by OS (J B) 12 August 1980.


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