Scheduled Monument

Caisteal Dubh nan Cliar,towerSM5512

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
Secular: tower
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NM 47325 63133
147325, 763133


The monument consists of the remains of Caisteal Dubh nan Cliar, a small watch-tower of sixteenth or seventeenth-century date situated on a small rocky knoll on the NW foreshore of Kilchoan Bay. In 1838 it was described as "Castial due nan Clior" which means "the black Castle of the Minstrels". The tower, overlooking the Sound of Mull, was part of the outlying defences of Mingary Castle.

Its function was to protect the anchorage in Kilchoan Bay. The original form of the tower is uncertain due to the fragmentary nature of the remains; presumably it had a rectilinear ground-plan, a vaulted ground floor and an upper storey. The building is made of random rubble bound with coarse lime mortar.

It measures 5.5m NW-SE by 4.6m transversely. Beneath the SW portion of the tower a chamber has been formed incorporating an overhanging section of rock with walls on three sides. This chamber measures 3.1m by 2.2m. The roof, which has collapsed, was constructed of rough slab lintels supported on corbel courses. The entrance doorway is now destroyed and a lot of the stone has been robbed and used in modern enclosure walls to the E.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular, measuring a maximum of 30m E-W, by 20m N-S, to be centred on the tower and including an area surrounding the monument which is likely to contain underlying archaeological deposits, as indicated in red on the attached map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as an example, albeit fragmented, of a late medieval tower, and as part of the strategic defences of Mingary Castle (13th century and later). The precise nature of the tower's chronology and function relative to Mingary may be accessible through a combination of research and excavation.



RCAHMS records the monument as NM 46 SE 2 and NM 56 SW 1.


RCAHMS 1980, Inventory for Argyll 3, 190, No. 336.

RCAHMS 1980, Inventory for Argyll 3, 209-217.

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: 24/10/2021 13:50