Scheduled Monument

Ardtornish CastleSM2906

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Secular: castle
Local Authority
NM 69202 42666
169202, 742666


The monument comprises Ardtornish Castle and associated buildings, dating from about the 13th century to about the 17th century. The monument was first scheduled in 1970, but the area then protected did not include the visible associated remains. The present rescheduling rectifies this.

The monument lies at the seaward end of a promontory which projects southwards into the sound of Mull, about 2km SE of the mouth of Loch Aline. It consists of a hall-house measuring approximately 17m WNW-ESE by about 9m transversely, defined by walls measuring some 2.7m thick and standing to a height of about 8m on the S, 5m on the N and W, and some 2m on the E. The hall-house was partially repaired between 1910 and 1915, when large amounts of facework were renewed, including most of the E wall, the NE and SE angles, and the upper portion of the S wall. The entrance to the hall is near the N end of the E wall, and there is an arched window in the S wall.

To the N, E and SE of the hall-house are the remains of at least 14 rectangular and sub-rectangular structures, surviving as low, grassed foundations. The largest of these, some 25m to the N of the hall-house, measures approximately 22m N-S by about 11m transversely and has two 'wings' at the NW and SE. The other structures lie in the immediate vicinity of the hall-house and beneath the level of the rock promontory, along the E and SE foreshores.

Ardtornish Castle was a major seat of the Lords of the Isles as shown by the survival of six Acts of the Lords of the Isles which were signed here. Ardtornish also holds a special place in the downfall of the Lords of the Isles since it was here in 1462 that John, 4th Lord of the Isles, signed his part of the Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish, a pact with Edward IV of England, the discovery of which led to the forfeiture of the Lordship in 1475.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular being defined to the SW and SE by the high water mark, to the NW by a line 50m out from NW wall of the hall house and to the NE by a line 100m out from its NE wall. The area measures about 230m from its northernmost point to its southernmost point and about 230m from its easternmost point to its westernmost point, is marked in red on the accompanying map extract.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

About Scheduled Monuments

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.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 01/03/2024 07:54