MHG5416 - Tower House - Caisteal Maol


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • TOWER HOUSE (Medieval - 1058 AD to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NG72NE 1 7580 2634.

(NG 7580 2634) Caisteal Maol (NR) (In Ruins)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

Caisteal Maol ... a stronghold of the MacKinnons of Skye occupies a rocky promontory about 50ft OD.
The structure appears to be of 15th century date and is rectangular on plan measuring 46ft 6 ins by 34ft 8 ins externally with its major axis lying almost NE-SW. Only the N and S corners and the SE wall remain, being 8-9ft thick. They reach a height of 35-40ft outside and have contained three floors, with possibly a fourth within the roof. Debris completely fills the basement, but a corbel, projecting from the S wall at a level of 3ft below the step of the first floor window, indicates a bearer support for the floor. Evidently there have been no vaulted ceilings. The walls are of basalt rubble and are faced externally and internally with squared rubble built to courses of varying heights. At the base of the S wall there is a batten, which varies from 1ft 2 ins - 8ft on the splayed face, according to the irregular contour of the rock. No windows appear in the basement.
Dean Munro (1549) mentions "the castill of Dunna-Kyne, pertaining to MacKynnoun", which is clearly this place. It is marked on Blaeu's (i.e. Pont's) map under this name. In 1616 and 1627 Lauchlan MacKinnon of "Strathordill" had charters of these lands as a barony with the privilege of a ferry boat on the water of Kyleakin.
RCAHMS 1928; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889; J Blaeu 1654.

Caisteal Maol, as described by RCAHMS, is in ruinous condition.
Visited by OS (A C) 13 June 1961.

No change.
Revised at 1/2500
Visited by OS (R L) 13 June 1961.

'Pine joist end': listed, no details given.
R Miket et al 1991.

Two photographs of Caisteal Maol were submitted by Martin Briscoe in May 2011. <1>

The Scots Pine joist fragment is within the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre, listed under Acc. No. 1991.5. It was from the second floor of the castle. The HES Canmore Radiocarbon Database contains four c14 dates from the joist, which were wiggle matched and suggest that the timber was cut down after AD 1490. <2> <3>

There is also wood from Caisteal Maol in the Museum of the Isles. The museum's accession register describes it as a “full wedge shaped piece of wood from original timber in Casteal Moil, Kyeakin, Isle of Skye, removed during restoration. Imprinted with several lines of numbers and pinholes”. It was acquiredin May 1991. The museum has no record of sample for radiocarbon dating been taken from this piece of wood so it is unlikely that this is the piece that was dated. <4>

Sources/Archives (13)



Grid reference Centred NG 7580 2635 (85m by 77m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG72NE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish STRATH

Finds (2)

  • BEAM (Medieval - 1058 AD to 1559 AD)
  • BEAM (Medieval - 1058 AD to 1559 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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