Ancient Monuments

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Toward Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.867 / 55°52'1"N

Longitude: -5.0083 / 5°0'29"W

OS Eastings: 211861

OS Northings: 667855

OS Grid: NS118678

Mapcode National: GBR GF06.GPL

Mapcode Global: WH2ML.1SDM

Entry Name: Toward Castle

Scheduled Date: 20 February 1948

Last Amended: 13 March 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM300

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Dunoon and Kilmun

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Dunoon

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument consists of the remains of Toward Castle, a 15th century tower house with a later courtyard extending to the NE. The castle stands on a steeply-scarped rock promontory associated with old sea-cliffs 150m N of the shore of the Firth of Clyde, commanding a wide view of the Ayrshire mainland and the islands of Bute and Cumbrae. The monument was first scheduled in 1948. The monument is being rescheduled in order to define more clearly the extent of the scheduling.

The castle was the principal stronghold of the Lamont family. Due the Sir James Lamont's support for the royalist cause and his association with Alasdair Mac Donald's attacks on the Campbells, the castle was besieged in 1645 by the Marquis of Argyll. Despite an artillery bombardment and the castle's lack of artillery defence, the Lamonts refuse to surrender. In May 1646 however, 'the whole power of the Campbells' commanded by James Campbell of Ardkinglas, landed from Ayrshire 'with shipps, boats and great cannons, and beleaguered (Sir James) by sea and land within his own principall house'. After two weeks Sir James agreed to 'overgive his house at Toward' after the walls of the castle had been breached. Despite agreeing to honourable terms, many from the garrisons at Toward, and another Lamont stronghold, Asgog Castle, were imprisoned in Toward's 'house and yards' for several days, and were subsequently massacred in Dunoon churchyard. Both castles were then plundered and burnt. The attack on Toward and Asgog were among the charges which led to the execution of the Marquis of Argyll. Tradition suggests that the castle was not reoccupied after it had been burnt by the Campbells. The castle was partially excavated and consolidated in the 1970s.

The core of the castle comprises an oblong tower house occupying the S edge of the promontory; it stands fully three storeys in height at the SE angle, including a corbelled parapet, but much of the remainder has collapsed. The principal entrance appears to have been the first floor doorway at the S end of the E wall, which has a round-arched head formed in two stones. The ground floor was divided into two unequal chambers, each with a vaulted ceiling. The first floor also appears to have been vaulted.

The tower is associated with a rectangular courtyard whose N side incorporates a gatehouse range, while its E side is occupied by a single-storeyed hall-and-kitchen range. These elements apparently date to the late 16th or early 17th century. The courtyard is entered through a gatehouse passage with a projecting gate entrance, faced in ashlar with very fine decorative arch surround.

The area to be scheduled includes the scarped promontory and the remains of the castle. The area is irregular in shape and has maximum dimensions of 78m NW-SE and 81m NE-SW as marked in red on the attached map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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