MHG4187 - Tor Castle


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • CASTLE (Undated)
  • (Alternate Type) TOWER HOUSE (Undated)

Protected Status

Full Description

Tor Castle Tigh Bhanco (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1903)

Tor Castle occupies a strong position above the river Lochy. It was built in the 11th century, allegedly on the site of Banquo's castle (the 10th century thane of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'), and became the principal residence of the chiefs of the Clan Chattan. It was abandoned in the 14th century and was rebuilt in the 15th century.

At the beginning of the 16th century it was again rebuilt but was finally abandoned after the 1745 rebellion and allowed to fall into ruin (D B MacCulloch 1938).

A 17th century reference to the castle calls it Toircastle and says 'There was one ancient castle builded where this castle is, which was called Beragonium' and another 17th century reference notes these places as Torriechastell and Berigonium, the latter 'a place much spoken of in our old monuments, how trulie or upon what grounds I cannot judge' (W Macfarlane).

About half a mile to the north of the castle there is a tree-lined avenue known as "Banquo's Walk". It is about 30ft wide, flanked on either side with an earthen dyke, and runs for about a quarter-mile along the bank of the river. Its abrupt commencement suggests that part of its original length may now be obliterated and overgrown with vegetation.

W Macfarlane 1908

Tor Castle, a tower-house in rather poor condition, measures internally 8.2m by 4.9m, with walls standing to a maximum height of 4.0m and averaging 2.2m in thickness. It is constructed of mortared random rubble and shows some evidence of repair or rebuilding.

On the N side of the tower are two fragments of old walling, probably the remains of a former barmkin, and the old scarpings and platforms of the earlier Tor Castle can still be traced. A deep ditch, now water-filled, isolates the site from the remainder of the ridge on which it stands.

The site is badly overgrown by trees and bushes and no attempt is being made to preserve it.

Visited by OS (CFW) 19 July 1961

Tor Castle is as described by Wardale except that the ditch is a natural gully and it is uncertain whether the 'scarpings and platforms' described by him are earlier than or contemporary with the existing building.

"Banquo's Walk", published on the OS 6" 1903 as "Sraid Bhanco", extends from NN 1339 7914 to NN 1361 7950 and is an ornamental tree-lined avenue, almost certainly post-dating the tower.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OSD (NKB) 15 May 1970

Martin Briscoe has uploaded photographs of this site to the Highland HER Flickr group. The images are linked directly to this record, but follow the link to the Flickr group (at the bottom of this record) to see further comments. <1>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NN 1324 7858 (62m by 62m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NN17NW
Geographical Area LOCHABER

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Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

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