Ancient Monuments

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Lochranza Castle, Arran

A Scheduled Monument in Ardrossan and Arran, North Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.705 / 55°42'18"N

Longitude: -5.2922 / 5°17'32"W

OS Eastings: 193242

OS Northings: 650641

OS Grid: NR932506

Mapcode National: GBR FF9M.QNT

Mapcode Global: WH1M2.PV2V

Entry Name: Lochranza Castle, Arran

Scheduled Date: 21 November 1994

Last Amended: 2 March 2021

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90206

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Kilmory

County: North Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Ardrossan and Arran

Traditional County: Buteshire


The monument consists of a castle sited on a peninsula projecting into Loch Ranza on the north coast of Arran.

The castle was constructed during the late 13th or early 14th centuries as a two-storey hall house with its long axis lying northwest-southeast and with a projecting square tower at the south corner. The entrance to the lower storey was in the southeast wall, and a mural stair also led between this and the first-floor entrance in the northeast wall (both entrances now blocked).

The ground floor entrance has a heavily-ribbed barrel vault, traces of two doors and either a "murder hole" or hatch going up to the first floor, where was situated the hall, with the lord's solar in the tower. There are traces of two windows in the southwest wall of the hall and one in the southeast.

At a later date, probably during the 16th century, the castle was significantly altered. A cross-wall and spiral stair was inserted, a new ground-floor entrance formed in the southwest wall and the walls, with remodelled windows, partly heightened so that it now took the form of a tower house. This work was carried out in similar rubble masonry to the earlier work, but with plum-coloured sandstone for dressings rather than the earlier red. A box machicolation sits above the entrance door and the frame for a heraldic panel, and there is a bartizan at the west corner.

In both phases, a defended courtyard with more dispersed outbuildings would have accompanied the main castle.

The scheduled area is irregular and includes the castle and an area which may contain evidence for the defences and any activities associated with the castle. It measures a maximum of 220m east-northeast-west-southwest by 90m, as marked in red on the accompanying map, and is defined by the high-water mark along the edges of the peninsula and by the edge of the public road along its southwest edge.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved medieval castle showing evidence of two main periods, one of them unusually early, and as providing evidence for changing architectural fashion. Study of the standing fabric, in conjunction with investigation below ground, has potential to provide evidence on military architecture, domestic planning and social organisation during the Middle Ages.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NR 95 SW 1.


Cruden, S, 1960, 'The Scottish Castle', Edinburgh, 95, 140.

MacGibbon, D, and Ross, T, 1887-92, The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 490-4, Fig. 422.

Ritchie, J N G (ed.) 1973, Prehistoric Society field guide Glasgow, 14.

Tranter, N, 1962-70, 'The fortified house in Scotland', Edinburgh, Vol. 5, 79-80.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Lochranza Castle
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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