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Copyright ©1999-2006
C.Garner and P.Wright

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Toward Castle

July 20, 1999
Near Dunoon, Argyll
Map Ref: NS 118 678

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[Argyll Region]

Originally owned by the Lamont family, Toward Castle dates from the 15th century when the keep was constructed. The surrounding courtyard is believed to have been built in the 16th c.

Mary, Queen of Scots, is known to have visited in 1563.

The Lamont family were Royalists and supported the MacDonalds in their conflicts with the Campbells. In May of 1646 a large force of Campbells besieged Toward and when the walls were breached by cannon Sir James Lamont surrendered under a promise from the Campbells to let the Lamonts go free. The Campbells did not honour their word though and slaughtered all the Lamonts they could find. Hanging 36 of them from one tree in nearby Dunoon.

The Lamonts moved to Ardlamont and Toward was sold in 1809 then later acquired by Kirman Findlay c1818. Toward was excavated and consolidated in 1970.

Right: Decorated archway

The courtyard was entered from the north through a decorated archway. Adjacent to the arch on the west was a kitchen or bakehouse. On the east side of the arch is the remains of a turnpike staircase that likley led to a gatehouse.

The range on the east side of the courtyard was likely constructed in the early 17th c. It has a central hall with a fireplace in the east wall. Private quarters were located in the north end of this building and a kitchen with a large fireplace was on the south end.

Left: East range

The tower is much ruined with only the south wall rising to its full height. The basement had two vaulted chambers with stairs leading up from both in the north end to the first floor.

The first floor was also vaulted but little remains of it. Of the floors above only a south-facing window with window seats remains.

Entrance to the tower appears to have been through an opening in the east wall to the first floor.

Right: East side of tower
Left: A small bird (swallow?) was taking refuge from the rain in the basement.