Ancient Monuments

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Dunollie Castle

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

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Latitude: 56.4269 / 56°25'36"N

Longitude: -5.4843 / 5°29'3"W

OS Eastings: 185239

OS Northings: 731521

OS Grid: NM852315

Mapcode National: GBR DCVQ.LPR

Mapcode Global: WH0GC.QQNF

Entry Name: Dunollie Castle

Scheduled Date: 28 February 1931

Last Amended: 26 September 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM293

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Kilmore and Kilbride

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises the remains of Dunollie Castle, visible as an upstanding monument, together with earthworks relating to the Dark Age and medieval occupations of the site.

The monument was first scheduled in 1931 and rescheduled in 1993, but only the upstanding remains of the castle were included. The present rescheduling rectifies this by taking in the earthworks to the N of the castle.

Dunollie Castle is situated upon the summit of a rock promontory towards the N end of Oban Bay. The existing remains comprise a tower house with an associated bailey (or courtyard), standing on the SW portion of the promontory, together with fragmentary traces of an outer enclosure which surround the remaining area of the summit. The tower occupies the NE portion of the courtyard, the remainder of which is enclosed by a curtain wall and contains traces of internal buildings. The greater part of the castle may be ascribed to the 15th century, but some portions of the curtain wall appear to be of later date.

The tower house is almost square on plan and measures 12m from E to W by 11.3m transversely. It incorporates four main storeys, each of which comprises a single apartment, the lower floor being a barrel-vaulted cellar. The tower has an overall height of about 14m.

The courtyard measures about 24.4m square and was formerly enclosed by a curtain wall. This is now reduced to its lower courses, except on the N and E sides.

About 9m E of the SE angle of the courtyard, a natural defile, which provides a possible way of ascent to the summit, has been sealed off by a well-constructed wall of rubble and lime mortar. Traces of ramparts can also be seen on the N side of the castle. These defences may have been associated with an earlier Dark Age fortress.

Dunollie was the chief stronghold of the Lorn kings in Northern Dalriada. It is said to have been captured and burnt in AD 698 and afterwards re-built by Selbach, ruler of Northern Dalriada. During the early Middle Ages, the lands of Dunollie formed part of the extensive MacDougall lordship of Lorn, and it remained a stronghold of the MacDougalls until the early 18th century when it was abandoned in favour of a new house on an adjacent site.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is irregular in plan, with maximum dimensions of 150m N-S and 83m E-W, as shown in red on the attached map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of the evidence that it provides (or has the potential to provide) for the study of early historic fortification, settlement, society, economy and industry; the military, political and social interaction of Picts & Scots in the late 7th and 8th centuries; the feudalization of Western Scottish Society in the 13th century; and the design, construction and function of medieval castles on the western seaboard.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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