Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
Planning Authority
Argyll And Bute
North Bute
NS 6169 68062
206169, 668062


Robert Weir Schultz, 1897-1900; rebuilding of Z-plan keep circa 1700. Asymmetrical Baronial tower comprising 4-stage, rectangular-plan gabled tower, corbelled stair turret, 5-stage, circular-plan tower corbelled to square at 5th stage. Predominantly harl-pointed random rubble sandstone; red sandstone ashlar dressings; harled elevation to S. Thin red brick line marking height of original ruin; polished sandstone corbelling; moulded lintel course; moulded eaves; crowstepped gables. Red rubble sandstone quoins; long and short surrounds to moulded rybats; flush cills.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: boarded timber, iron-studded door off-set to right of centre; doorpiece comprising architraved surround, stylised consoles flanking pediment, chevron engraving to pyramidal finials. Single window at 3rd stage in bay to outer left. Irregularly-disposed single windows in tower to outer right; trefoil-headed single window centred beneath crowstepped apex; single window centred beneath NE face.

S (REAR) ELEVATION: 2-leaf, boarded timber, iron-studded door centred at ground; single window aligned at 1st floor; single window at 2nd floor off-set to left of centre. Advanced, corbelled window centred beneath apex at 3rd floor; single openings in corbelled turret to outer right.

W (SIDE) ELEVATION: small single windows at ground flanking centre; single windows at all floors in bay to outer right (pedimented 3rd floor window breaking eaves). Narrow single openings in corbelled turret to left; irregularly-disposed windows in full-height tower to outer left.

E (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2-bay. Single windows in both bays at all floors (round-arched pedimented 3rd floor windows breaking eaves). Single window beneath eaves in corbelled turret to outer left.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows; some 2- and 4-pane casements to tower and turrets. Graded grey slate roof; raised stone skews; decorative lead rainwater goods (dated 1900). Corniced apex stacks; circular terracotta cans.

INTERIOR: rubble vaulted ground floor kitchen and dining area. Spiral stair to upper floors comprising lightly droved, red ashlar octagonal central column; lightly droved red ashlar to underside of stairs. Ashlar fireplace in 1st floor drawing room; timber picture rail; heavy corbels beneath boarded ceiling. 2nd floor bedrooms comprising coved ceilings; sandstone fireplaces; floral paintwork to ?Invictas Washdown Closet? toilet. Boarded timber barrel-vaulted ceiling to main bedroom; boarded timber walls; columnar, ashlar fireplace with tiled reveals; boarded timber washroom set in corner alcove. Vaulted ceiling to attic bedroom; cupboard door dated "Anno Doni 1900".

BOUNDARY FENCE: wrought-iron estate fence stamped "A & J Main & Co Ltd Glasgow, London & Dublin" enclosing site.

Statement of Special Interest

At one time the seat of the Spenses of Wester Kames, who can be traced back to the middle of the 15th century. When surveyed by Robert Weir Schultz in 1895, all that remained of the structure was its vaulted ground floor - the walls scarcely more than 12ft high. In 1897, the 3rd Marquess of Bute commissioned the architect to build upon the existing foundations and make the tower complete once more. Drawings in an 'appropriate style' (Stamp) were prepared that year, and building began in vigour in 1898. With its irregularly spaced windows, turrets, crowstepped gables, moulded rybats, corbels, vaulted interiors and rugged stonework, the result is a convincing Baronial tower, with a thin line of red bricks marking the division between the 17th and 19th centuries. Schultz's attention to materials and detail is paramount throughout. It should be noted that both the Marquess and his architect shared the belief that ancient edifices were too often spoiled as a consequence of 'restoration'. Like William Morris' S.P.A.B, famous for its opposition to the restoration and subsequent destruction of many English parish churches and cathedrals, both believed old buildings should not be tampered with. The justification for their rebuilding Wester Kames therefore, may seem rather tenuous, especially with Schultz being a member of the Art Workers' Guild. However, just as with his work at St Blane's Chapel a few years beforehand (see separate list entry, Kingarth Parish), the architect's respect for that which he was restoring was fundamental. Unlike Scott's 'restorations' of English churches (none of which could be likened to this 12ft high ruin), the existing structure was left much as found, neither 'scraped' nor falsified. Moreover, that which was added to it was done so sympathetically - creating an harmonious whole which nevertheless, made no attempt to hide the division between old and new. Wester Kames could therefore, be described as an attempt at 'honest restoration'.



Ruin appears on Ordnance Survey map, 1863; A H Millar THE CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF RENFREWSHIRE AND BUTESHIRE (1889) - included in article on Kames Castle; I Munro THE ISLAND OF BUTE (1973) p53; MacGibbon & Ross THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND (reprinted 1971) VolIII p192; G Stamp ROBERT WEIR SCHULTZ ARCHITECT AND HIS WORK FOR THE MARQUESSES OF BUTE (1981) p43-45; F Walker & F Sinclair NORTH CLYDE ESTUARY: AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1992) p163; "WISH YOU WERE HERE" SVBWG handbook, 1995 p13; NMRS records BU/5, BU/7, BU/70, BU/35/2, BU/492.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 25/06/2019 02:25