Scheduled Monument

Brochel Castle and chapelSM5414

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

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
Supplementary Information Updated
Ecclesiastical: chapel, Secular: castle
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NG 58468 46285
158468, 846285


The monument consists of the remains of Brochel Castle which are probably of fifteenth to sixteenth century date, and the footings of a small chapel to the NE of the castle.

The strongly-built tower is thought to have been built by Calum Garbh (MacGillichalium) the youngest son of the ninth Macleod chief of Lewis. It occupies a conglomerate plug on the E coast of the island of Raasay. The castle, built on two levels of the rock plateau, measures about 30m N-S by 27.5m E-W. The walls are about 1.5-2m thick and are made of roughly coursed sandstone and basalt bonded with strong shell-lime mortar. The steep approach to the castle is from the seaward (E) side. Its entrance survives though in a fragmentary condition. An entrance passage with a rock-cut "sentry-box" in the N wall leads into a small inner courtyard. The lower portion of the plateau is divided into three sections: the courtyard; the square SW tower which held the kitchen and stairway to the upper level; and the trapezium-plan SE tower. The upper portion of the rock holds a small keeled tower with a garderobe. To its E are the foundations of a rectangular tower which has been of three storeys. The walls of the chapel built of basalt and sandstone with lime mortar are reduced to c.0.5m. Its internal dimensions are 6m NW-SE by 3m NE-SW with walls

0.5m thick. The SE end has almost gone and there are no openings or features.

The area to be scheduled is irregular, measuring a maximum of 55m NNW-SSE by 50m ENE-WSW, to include the castle and chapel, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as it is a well preserved example of a substantial castellated structure which was the chief residence of the Raasay Macleods until the 17th century. Brochel is a rare survival on Raasay, where the later tower-house belonging to the Macleods at Clachan was demolished after 1745, and an expression of ingenuity and architectural tenacity in the utilisation of a rock-pinnacle as a defensive site. In addition the castle has the potential to provide evidence both above and below ground which may contribute to our understanding of defensive architecture, construction methods, clan history and tradition, and material culture.



RCAHMS records the monument as NG54NE 1.

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: 03/10/2023 12:15