Ancient Monuments

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Bannachra Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Helensburgh and Lomond South, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.0229 / 56°1'22"N

Longitude: -4.6608 / 4°39'38"W

OS Eastings: 234264

OS Northings: 684300

OS Grid: NS342843

Mapcode National: GBR 0H.SGX9

Mapcode Global: WH2LZ.CWT5

Entry Name: Bannachra Castle

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7770

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: tower

Location: Luss

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Helensburgh and Lomond South

Traditional County: Dunbartonshire


The monument comprises the fragmentary remains of a simple 16th-century tower house measuring approximately 14m by 7m.

The building appears to have been a simple rectangular block in plan, aligned E-W with the main stair at the E end, possibly in an outshot. While the E gable is reduced to its footings, the W gable appears to stand to full height, showing the building to have consisted of vaulted ground floor, first floor hall with solar and an attic storey. A particular feature of the building are the small gun loops which survive beneath some of the windows.

Bannachra was built by the Colquhouns sometime after they acquired the associated lands in 1512, presumably on the site of the principal building of the previous owners, the Galbraiths. In 1592 it was attacked and taken by the MacGregors who killed Sir Humphrey Colquhoun with an arrow fired through a stair window. It does not appear to have been repaired after the damage it suffered in this episode.

The castle now stands within and forms part of the gardens of Bannachra House. The area to be scheduled extends 5m out from the N, S, and W walls of the tower, and 1m out from the line of the E wall. The area measures approximately 20m E-W by 17m and is marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance as the remains of a 16th-century towerhouse. Although considerable parts of the building are missing, it is still possible to recognise it as marking the transition between largely defensive and largely domestic architecture.

Although both the interior and the exterior of the tower have been incorporated into the gardens of the later house, it appears that the ground levels have risen so that the archaeology of the site still holds considerable potential to tell more about this building and its short life.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NS 38 SW 3.


MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Vol. 3, 445-7, Edinburgh.

RCAHMS (1978) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Dumbarton District, Clydebank District, Bearsden and Milingavie District, Strathclyde Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series No. 3, 16, No. 93, Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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