Scheduled Monument

Lochranza Castle,ArranSM90206

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Secular: castle; hall
Local Authority
North Ayrshire
NR 93246 50640
193246, 650640


The monument consists of a castle sited on a peninsula projecting into Loch Ranza on the north coast of Arran.

The castle was constructed during the late 13th or early 14th centuries as a two-storey hall house with its long axis lying NW-SE and with a projecting square tower at the S corner. The entrance to the lower storey was in the SE wall, and a mural stair also led between this and the first-floor entrance in the NE wall (both entrances now blocked).

The ground floor entrance has a heavily-ribbed barrel vault, traces of two doors and either a "murder hole" or hatch going up to the first floor, where was situated the hall, with the lord's solar in the tower. There are traces of two windows in the SW wall of the hall and one in the SE.

At a later date, probably during the 16th century, the castle was refenestrated, a cross-wall and spiral stair inserted, a new ground-floor entrance formed in the SW wall and the walls partly heightened so that it now took the form of a tower house. This work was carried out in similar rubble masonry to the earlier work, but with plum-coloured sandstone for dressings rather than the earlier red. A box machicolation sits above the entrance door and the frame for an heraldic panel, and there is a bartizan at the W corner.

In both phases, a defended courtyard with more dispersed outbuildings would have accompanied the main castle.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape and includes the castle and an area which may contain evidence for the defences and any activities associated with the castle, measuring a maximum of 220m ENE-WSW by 90m, as marked in red on the accompanying map. It is defined by the low water mark along the edges of the peninsula and by the edge of the public road along its SW edge.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved medieval castle showing evidence of two main periods, one of them unusually early, and as providing evidence for changing architectural fashion. Study of the standing fabric, in conjunction with investigation below ground, has potential to provide evidence on military architecture, domestic planning and social organisation during the Middle Ages.



RCAHMS records the monument as NR 95 SW 1.


Cruden, S, 1960, 'The Scottish Castle', Edinburgh, 95, 140.

MacGibbon, D, and Ross, T, 1887-92, The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 490-4, Fig. 422.

Ritchie, J N G (ed.) 1973, Prehistoric Society field guide Glasgow, 14.

Tranter, N, 1962-70, 'The fortified house in Scotland', Edinburgh, Vol. 5, 79-80.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Lochranza Castle

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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: 20/04/2019 13:17