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Castle Campbell

Castle (14th Century)

Site Name Castle Campbell

Classification Castle (14th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Gloom; Castle Glume; Castle Doom

Canmore ID 48229

Site Number NS99NE 2

NGR NS 96128 99300

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Clackmannan
  • Parish Dollar
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Clackmannan
  • Former County Clackmannanshire

Archaeology Notes

NS99NE 2.00 96128 99300

(NS 9613 9927) Castle Campbell (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map, (1948).

NS99NE 2.01 NS c. 96130 99266 Garden

See attached pamphlet.

S Cruden 1953.

The remains of Castle Campbell, maintained by the MoW., are in a good state of preservation.

Visited by OS (JLD), 15 May 1953.


Publication Account (1985)

Castle Campbell is tucked away at the head of Dollar Glen and occupies the top of a promontory overlooking the confluence of the Bums of Sorrow and Care. From the 15th to the 17th century it served as the principal lowland seat of the Earls of Argyll; prior to 1490 it was known as Castle Glume, but in that year Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll, secured an act of Parliament changing its official name to Castle Campbell.

The present buildings date from the later 15th to the 17th century, but charter evidence suggests that there was an earlier castle on the site, and it is possible that the mound on which the tower stands is the remains of a motte and bailey. Like so many castles of the later middle ages, Castle Campbell developed from a relatively simple tower-house to a more complex design. The earliest section of the present castle is a well-preserved oblong tower-house dating to the third quarter of the 15th century. It is offour principal storeys plus a gan-et, and rises within massive walls to an overhanging parapet. The internal arrangements are in keeping with most tower-houses and there is a hall occupying the first floor.

During the later 15th or early 16th century the residential accommodation was augmented by the construction of a south range, which consists of a series of vaulted cellars under a fine first-floor hall (cf Newark Castle, no. 26). In the late 16th or early 17th century a block was added on the east, linking the tower to the south range. An unusual feature of the east range is a double arched arcade, or loggia; this was a detail borrowed from the contemporary continental Renaissance style and was more suited to the sunny south than to the windy climate of Scotland. At about the same time that the east range was added, the courtyard was enclosed within a curtain wall and was provided with a gateway with a covered pend. To the south of the castle, and entered through a pend running beneath the south range, there is a small walled garden.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Clyde Estuary and Central Region’, (1985).

Test Pit Survey (7 December 2009 - 14 December 2009)

Under the terms of its PIC call-off contract with Historic Scotland, Kirkdale Archaeology was asked to undertake an archaeological watching brief on the excavation of a series of trenches ahead of the erection of a scaffold at Castle Campbell near Dollar in Clackmannanshire. Forty trenches were excavated over a two day period around the W side of the N façade of the Tower, the W side of the S façade of the S Range and the E façade of the Tower, E Range and S Range. Where the ground was level, a simple de-turf or scrape was sufficient to bed the scaffold pads. The trenches ran deeper where the topography sloped i.e. around the area of the potential motte below the Tower, and the ravine falling away from the E façade of the castle. The brief was to dig a depth sufficient to provide a flat platform for each scaffold base - and as such, given the position of the trenches, there was no opportunity to assess the make-up of the mound below the Tower.

The trenches were manually dug by Historic Scotland under archaeological supervision. No archaeological artefacts were recovered.

Information from P Fox, J Godbert, D Murray (Kirkdale Archaeology) 22 March 2010.


Watching Brief (16 April 2010 - 21 April 2010)

NS 9610 9928 A watching brief was carried out, 16–21 April 2010, during the excavation of two trenches to locate a blockage in a drainpipe in the NW corner of the courtyard. Trench 1 was dug through the N doorway in the W courtyard wall but failed to locate the drainpipe. Trench 2 located the drainpipe and its associated soakaway in the corner of the courtyard. The blockage was removed and the trenches were planned, photographed and their contents recorded.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

David Murray – Kirkdale Archaeology

Watching Brief (20 April 2010)

NS 961 993 Two small trenches were excavated on 20 April 2010 to allow the installation of an information sign and the construction of a supporting bank behind it. The trenches were located to the E of the approach road and to the N of the castle. There were no finds or features of archaeological significance.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

David Murray – Kirkdale Archaeology

Watching Brief (3 March 2010 - 30 September 2010)

NS 961 992 A programme of monitoring and recording was carried out, 3 March–30 September 2010, during remedial works on the interior of the N elevation in the custodian’s apartments. This recording formed part of ongoing remedial works to weatherproof the existing wall-head and roof structures. The level of recording was directed by Historic Scotland’s programme of repair and consolidation, and was intended to augment existing survey records.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

Paul Fox, J Godbert and David Murray – Kirkdale Archaeology.

OASIS ID: kirkdale1-249880

Standing Building Recording (16 February 2016 - 24 February 2016)

NS 9613 9928 A standing building survey was carried out, 16–24 February 2016, comprising the production of an annotated measured drawing and feature descriptions of the various components of the external E elevation

of the castle ahead of remedial works to prevent water ingress.

The opportunity to examine the features of the E elevation was a welcome one; this elevation is not directly accessible and can only be examined from a raking angle at the top of a steep slope. The survey provided information about the development and phasing of Castle Campbell. Of

particular interest was the discovery that there is an earlier tower partially preserved within the current one, and that the historical record may allow us to ascertain an accurate date for the earlier tower’s destruction.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Historic Environment Scotland

Paul Fox – Kirkdale Archaeology

(Source: DES, Volume 17)

OASIS ID: kirkdale1-280269

Watching Brief (August 2017)

NS 9612 9929 A watching brief was carried out in August 2017 within the scheduled monument of Castle Campbell, as part of the Minor Archaeological Services Call-Off Contract. A small, shallow trench was hand excavated at the site for an interpretation panel. No finds or features of archaeological significance were identified.

Archive: NRHE (intended). Report: Stirling Council Archaeology Service

Funder: Historic Environment Scotland

Hannah Tweedie - CFA Archaeology Ltd

(Source: DES, Volume 18)

OASIS ID: cfaarcha1-295445


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