Scheduled Monument

Toward CastleSM300

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Last Date Amended
Secular: castle
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
Dunoon And Kilmun
NS 11861 67855
211861, 667855


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.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. 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

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Printed: 22/04/2019 05:43