Scheduled Monument

Carnasserie Castle,castle,garden,enclosure and cup-marked stoneSM90061

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
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: dun, Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cupmarks or cup-and-ring marks and similar rock art, Secular: castle; garden; motte
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
NM 83903 863
183903, 700863


The monument consists of a well-preserved castle, built between 1565 and 1572 by John Carswell, Rector of Kilmartin (and Bishop of the Isles from 1567), described as being in disrepair in 1825. There is documentary evidence of a significant dwelling on the site from 1436.

The castle consists of two towers (at E and NW), connected by a lower range containing the hall above vaulted basements and with chambers above. There are indications of earlier work in the lower part of the N wall of the E tower and in the 'dumb-bell' gunloops which must be earlier than the castle and hence re-used. Moulded details can be compared to work at Torwood Castle, near Stirling, and are almost certainly the work of the same masons.

The E tower and hall range are complete to wall-head level and the NW tower nearly so. The castle's entrance is in the re-entrant angle of the NW tower, beneath a finely-moulded frame for a double armorial panel (now gone), and from here a spiral stair rises to second-floor level. There is a further stair in the angle between the hall and E tower, which served the private family rooms in this tower.

The fireplace in the great chamber and the doors from hall to great chamber and to the stairs to the family rooms are finely carved. The vaults of the basements below the hall, although not of that beneath the great chamber in the E tower, have collapsed. S of the castle lay a garden, laid out during alterations carried out in 1681, and at the same time a door was formed from a window in the garden facade of the first-floor hall. There are traces of outbuildings to the NW of the castle.

A rocky knoll immediately N of the castle bears and enclosure which may represent an earlier medieval structure or a prehistoric dun. There is a cup-marked stone W of the castle.

The area to be scheduled comprises an irregularly-shaped area of ground measuring a maximum of 110m NW-SE by 105m NE-SW, to contain castle, outbuildings, garden, dun and an area which may provide evidence for associated activities, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved 16th-century castle of exceptional architectural quality, standing on or adjacent to an earlier fortified site. Study of its standing and below-ground remains has the potential to provide evidence for military architecture, domestic planning, material culture and social organisation during the medieval, early modern and possibly prehistoric periods.



RCAHMS records the monument as NM 80 SW 2.


MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1891) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, Vol. 4, 316-21, Fig. 893.

Tranter, N. (1970) 'The fortified house in Scotland', Edinburgh, Vol. 5, 16-18.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Carnasserie Castle

Find out more

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


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to Carnasserie Castle,castle,garden,enclosure and cup-marked stone

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 22/09/2021 03:48