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Monument
Information

  • Index Number

    5853
  • Parish

    SOUTH UIST
  • NGR 1

    NF817181
  • NGR 2

  • Council

    WESTERN ISLES
  • Category

    Secular
  • Legal Document
    [PDF, .35 MB]

Castle Calvay,castle,Calvay,Loch Boisdale

Description

The monument consists of the remains of a small castle, possibly originally a dun, situated on an islet off Calvay, on the S side of Loch Boisdale.

The islet on which the castle sits was formerly connected to Calvay by a causeway, but this has now almost completely gone. On the landward side a curving wall of irregular thickness and of drystone masonry appears to be the earliest element of the remians: it may be part of a dun. The W, N and NE sides of a polygonal enclosure are
formed by badly mortared walls of rough rubble, in places
incorporating substantial stretches of earlier, unmortared, walling.

The fortification has maximum overall dimensions of 30m SW-NE by 20m. A number of gun-slits are evident, particularly on the W side. There are two main internal buildings, both abutting and incorporating the outer wall. On the SW corner a small square structure some 4m by 4m externally may have been a low tower overlooking the approach from Calvay. On the N side is a bicameral rectangular block some 13m by 6m externally, possibly formed by the eastward extension of a smaller structure.

The remains are too ruinous to be certain about the
phasing of construction. The area to be scheduled consists of the whole of the small islet, above the edge of the tidal rocks: this coincides with the enclosure and its interior, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a fine example of a “castle” created by the adaptation of a pre-existing fortification with the minimum of work, creating a curious mixture of features which offers the potential to examine insular perspectives on the necessary attributes of medieval defensive architecture. The internal areas and walls of the castle may contain important information about the date and modifications of the defences, and about later Iron Age and Medieval material culture.

Other Information

RCAHMS records the monument as NF 81 NW 1.

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