Scheduled Monument

Dunoon CastleSM5450

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
Last Date Amended
Secular: castle
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
Dunoon And Kilmun
NS 17509 76376
217509, 676376


The monument is the remains of castle constructed by the 13th century and in use until the 17th century. During the 14th century it served as a Royal castle. It was re-used for military purposes during the First and Second World Wars. It survives as fragmentary masonry remains on the summit of a rocky mound around 27m in height with the remains of a ditch visible on the northwest side. The monument is located on the seaward end of a low peninsula, overlooking the Firth of Clyde.

The visible remains of the castle are fragmentary and comprise the remains of a curtain-wall enclosing a roughly oblong area on the summit of the mound, measuring about 26m northwest to southeast by 18m. An entrance-gateway of consolidated masonry, oriented east-west and measuring about 1.7m in width, lies close to the southwest of the enclosure. The outer wall of this passageway is 8.8m long, 1.6m thick and 2.2m high, while the inner wall is four metres high and 1.3m wide. The summit of the mound incorporates the brick and concrete foundations of First and Second World War military structures. The mound on which the castle stands is natural but has been scarped in places to improve its defensive capabilities. There is evidence of masonry tumble on the steep south, while the remains of a ditch is visible to the northwest.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up to but excludes the retaining wall to the east, south and southwest. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all modern structures, fittings and fixtures within and around the monument, such as handrails, pathways and steps. The monument was first scheduled in 1992 but the documentation does not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this.


Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular of late medieval society in the west of Scotland and the date, construction, use and development of medieval castles, as well as the 20th century re-use of such a prominent location. As an example of an early stone built castle, probably on a site used in the Iron Age or Early Historic period, this monument represents an important component of the wider medieval landscape. It would have been a highly prominent part of the contemporary landscape during its occupation and remains a significant feature of the town of Dunoon. Its importance is enhanced by its documented role in the Second War of Independence and its use as a late medieval royal residence and administrative centre. Its re-use for military structures associated with the First and Second World War Clyde defences adds to its significance. The loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the character and development of medieval fortifications, the nature of crown control and the structure and organisation of society and economy during this period..



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 40729 (accessed on 16/02/2016).

The West of Scotland Archaeology Service Historic Environment Record reference is 5307 (accessed on 16/02/2016).

Armitage, E S. (1912) The early Norman castles of the British Isles. London.

Dorman and Guy, J and J. (2010) The coast artillery defences of the Firth of Clyde.

Inglis, W. (1895) Guide to Dunoon and places of interest.

NSA. (1834-1845) The new statistical account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the society for the benefit of the sons and daughters of the clergy, 15v. Edinburgh.

Neilson, G. (1898) Notes in Norman Scotland, Scot Rev, vol. 32, 232.

RCAHMS. (1992) Argyll: An inventory of the monuments. Volume 7. Mid-Argyll and Cowal: Medieval and later monuments. Edinburgh.

HER/SMR Reference

  • WoSAS Site ID 5307

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: 04/03/2024 01:05