Ancient Monuments

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Castle Shuna

A Scheduled Monument in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.5798 / 56°34'47"N

Longitude: -5.3957 / 5°23'44"W

OS Eastings: 191537

OS Northings: 748258

OS Grid: NM915482

Mapcode National: GBR FC1B.C7Y

Mapcode Global: WH1GS.2WW6

Entry Name: Castle Shuna

Scheduled Date: 20 December 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6279

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Lismore and Appin

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument consists of the ruins of a castle, probably dating from the late 16th century, and an area to its SE, where foundations of buildings appear to represent a barmkin, or outer enclosure.

The castle initially comprised a rectangular block measuring 11.6m NE-SW by 7.4m NW-SE over walls 1.1m in thickness. To the SE side a circular stair tower projecting approximately 2.5m was added during the 17th century. The NE half of this stair tower is now missing.

The ground floor retains an intact barrel vault and is divided into 2 compartments. The NE room has the remains of a fireplace (the arch and rear wall of which have collapsed) with a salt-box in its NW side. The room is lit by a splayed window in its NW wall, and there is a similar window in the SW wall, lighting the second ground-floor chamber. A turnpike service stair in the W corner leads to the first floor.

The first floor - the SE and SW walls of which largely remain - appears to have formed a single compartment, the hall. There is a fireplace in the SW wall, and a window embrasure in each of the 2 remaining walls. Some of the corbels to support the joists of the second floor survive in the SE wall, and a scarcement at that level in the SW wall, but few other traces of the upper storeys are discernable, although the newel stair added to the SE side of the block rose at least to this level.

About 10m SE of the castle are the turf-covered footings of a building measuring 20m NE-SW by 7.3m NW-SE over walls 1.2m in thickness, and lying approximately parallel to the axis of the castle. The masonry is set in clay mortar and the structure formed two unequal compartments with no internal communication. A small annexe stood against the NE wall. It is possible that these represent barmkin buildings or later occupation of the site.

The island belonged to the Stewarts of Appin, and the builder of the castle is likely to have been either John Stewart (d1595) or his son Duncan Stewart.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular in shape, aligned with the castle. It measures 32.5m NW-SE by 30m NE-SW, and extends approximately 20m from the SE side of the castle, 10m from the SW, 5m from the NW and 8m from the NE, as shown in red on the attached map. It excludes the above-ground structure of the modern fence.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the remains of a small defensible residence, of markedly domestic character, probably of late 16th-century date, extended during the following century, and with associated, possibly contemporary, buildings. Study of its remains has the potential to increase our knowledge of domestic architecture and social conditions during the late medieval and early modern periods in the West Highlands. It is particularly valuable in illustrating the transition from defensive residences to those of fully domestic character in that part of Scotland bordering on the Highlands.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NM 94 NW 1.


RCAHMS, Inventory of Monuments in Argyll, Vol. 2 (Lorn), 187-8.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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