MHG3140 - Dunvegan Castle


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Type and Period (1)

  • CASTLE (Medieval to 21st Century - 1058 AD to 2100 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NG 24NW 7.00 2474 4810

NG24NW 7.01 NG 2458 4954 Stables; Saw Mill
NG24NW 7.02 NG 2468 4902 Laundry
NG24NW 7.03 Centred NG 2482 4897 Gardens
NG24NW 7.04 Centred NG 2475 4888 Walled garden

Dunvegan Castle occupies the summit of a rock which projects on to the eastern shore of an inlet. On the landward side it is isolated by a ditch, partly natural and partly artifical, about 60ft in width and 18ft in present depth. There seems little doubt that the rock was the site of a dun of some island chief at an early date. The name is said to mean 'Began's Dun'. All traces of any prehistoric structure seems to have been swept away for the medieval works.
In the 13th century, after the annexation of the Western Isles by Alexander III in 1266, the summit of the rock was enclosed with a certain wall with arched entrance, the sea gate, from which steps led up to yhe platform area, the only entrance to the castle till 1748. In the second half of the 14th century, a keep, 48ft by 35ft, was built at the NE angle of the rock. Early in the 16th century, the 'Fairy Tower' was added at the SE corner, and between these two towers extends Roy Mor's work, erected 1623. The SW wing was built between 1684 and 1690. All these buildings have been much altered by the 19th century transformation.
RCAHMS 1928; W D Simpson 1963.

Dunvegan Castle, the ancestral home of the Macleods, is the private residence of Dame Flora Macleod of Macleod. It is described above, and is in excellent condition.
Visited by OS (A S P) 17 May 1961.

OWNER: Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod

ARCHITECT: William Burn (?)
Robert Brown - remodelling work 1840 - 50
Colin Sinclair - repairs after fire 1938 - 40

1. Plan of part of castle showing proposed alterations
2. West elevation.
Billiard room on level with present drawing room. MacLeod Private Collection
Plans of 2nd and 3rd storey of North wing. Give dimensions in great detail. c.1812

'Scottish Country Life' May 1930, page 140 - photograph

See also:

NG24NW0013 The Cottage
NG24NW0032 Gatepiers
NG24NW0034 Stables and sawmill
NG24NW0036 Walled garden and sundial
NG24NW0037 Laundry
NG24NW0040 Gardens
NG24NW0054 Carved stone

Sources/Archives (13)



Grid reference Centred NG 2473 4909 (300m by 300m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG24NW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish DUIRINISH

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Related Monuments/Buildings (7)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

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