Featured image of Craignish Castle

The History of Craignish Castle

Craignish Castle is located on the Craignish peninsula in beautiful Argyll, western Scotland. The castle present today includes the makings of a 16th-century tower house that is currently the seat of the Campbell family of Craignish and Jura. There have been many extensions added over time that make the castle a baronial masterpiece.

The history of Craignish Castle

Craignish Castle is a simply beautiful three-storey tower that was built long ago. It incorporates different looks from various centuries which makes it an amazing baronial masterpiece. It has previously been known as Loch Beag and is incredibly loved by many.

Although not welcoming visitors anymore, there is plenty to know about this beautiful piece of architecture.

The early history

The Campbells of Craignish claim to descend from Dugal Maul Campbell, the very first laird of Craignish. He was the second son of Sir Archibald Gillespic Campbell, the ancestor of the Dukes of Argyll. The seventh laird only left one daughter named Christine Campbell.

It was her weakness and imprudence that caused most of the estate to be resigned to the Knight of Lochow, who then took advantage of her. Due to this, she was only left a small portion of the upper part of Craignish Castle under his superiority. The nearest male representative named Ronald Campbell fought very hard to win back his heritage.

The Chief of Clan Campbell at the time was obliged to allow him possession of a considerable portion of the estate, but retaining the superiority, and inserting a condition in the grant that if there was ever no male heir in the direct line the lands were to revert automatically to the Argyll family.

Tumultuous times

It was in the 16th century that the present castle was built. It was then said to have withstood a siege of six weeks by Colkitto MacDonald. Ranald MacCallum was afterwards made hereditary keeper of Craignish Castle in 1510.

In 1544, the direct line completely ended and the rightful heir, a collateral relative by the name of Charles Campbell of Corranmore in Craignish had the misfortune to kill Gillies of Glenmore in a brawl. This caused him to flee right away to Perthshire where he went on to settle at Lochtayside under the protection of the Breadalbane family.

Unfortunately, this even prevented Charles from being able to claim the estate. This meant that the estate fell into the hands of the Earls (later Dukes) of Argyll.

Later on

Charles’ descendants at Killin, Perthshire, were later recognised by Lord Lyon as Chieftains of the Clan Tearlach branch of Clan Campbell and from them descended the Campbells of Inverneill. In the 1980s, a grandson of Duncan Campbell, 8th of Inverneill, owned one of the apartments at Craignish.

It was for Edmund Kempt Campbell that the title ‘Baron of Craignish’ was created by the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1848, and used by his descendants in Britain, though this was after the sale of Craignish.

In the 19th century, Craignish Castle was purchased by a man named Frederick Trench-Gascoigne and his wife Isabella, heiress of the Gascoigne family of Parlington Hall. Trench-Gascoigne owned 5,591 acres (2,263 ha) in Argyll in the 1880s. By 1837 the tower house was extended by the renowned architect David Bryce who worked on the designs by William Burn.

The current day

In 1941, the house was requisitioned for use as a home for children evacuated from Glasgow. Later on, in the 20th century, it was restored and divided into privately owned apartments. Craignish Castle is a category B-listed building. It still remains in great condition for its age.

Craignish Castle Timeline

  • 16th century- The present castle is built
  • 1510- Ranald MacCallum is made hereditary keeper of Craignish Castle
  • 1544- The direct line completely ended and the rightful heir, a collateral relative by the name of Charles Campbell of Corranmore in Craignish had the misfortune to kill Gillies of Glenmore in a brawl
  • 1848- The title of Baron of Craignish is made for Edmund Kempt Campbell by the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
  • 19th century- Craignish Castle is purchased by a man named Frederick Trench-Gascoigne and his wife Isabella, heiress of the Gascoigne family of Parlington Hall
  • 1837- The tower house is extended by the renowned architect David Bryce who worked to the designs by William Burn
  • 1880s- Trench-Gascoigne owns 5,591 acres (2,263 ha) in Argyll
  • 1941- The house is requisitioned for use as a home for children evacuated from Glasgow
  • 20th century- Craignish Castle is restored and divided into privately owned apartments
  • 1980s- Agrandson of Duncan Campbell, 8th of Inverneill, owns one of the apartments at Craignish
Image of Craignish Castle
Craignish Castle“, by Anne Burgess, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Craignish Castle facts

  • The ground floor of the keep is vaulted, and there is a dungeon below, cut out of rock
  • The castle is a category B listed building
  • The current castle measured measures 12.7 by 10.2 metres (42 by 33 ft)
  • The house was once requisitioned for use as a home for children evacuated from Glasgow
  • The 16th-century tower is the seat of the Campbell family of Craignish and Jura

Who owns Craignish Castle?

Since being purchased by a man named Frederick Trench-Gascoigne and his wife Isabella, heiress of the Gascoigne family of Parlington Hall in the 19th century, Craignish Castle remains in their care. They have now converted the castle into apartments.

Tourism

Nowadays, the castle is privately owned which means no one is able to tour it. Public access is not permitted. However, it sometimes opens for public events or charity events.

Nearby, you can visit Duntrune Castle, Glengorm Castle, Iona, Inveraray Castle, Kilchurn Castle, Fingal’s Cave, Duart Castle, and Castle Stalker.


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