At the southern shore of East Loch Tarbert in Argyll, lays the ruins of a strategic royal stronghold during the middle ages, called Tarbert Castle. In this video I will give a brief background on this structure, focussing mainly on the tower house which can still be seen to this day.
Check out my video taking a dive into this fascinating structure.
The castle, tower house and curtain walls were all constructed at different time periods.
- The main castle presumed to have been a hill fort since at least the 7th century became a royal castle in 1292.
- The Extension of the existing castle and construction of the drum towers and curtain wall was started in 1325, the fortification and enlargement of the castle was ordered by Robert the Bruce.
- The tower house is suspected to have been constructed after 1494 after it was captured by James the fourth of Scotland.
The aspect which makes this castle so interesting is that there are surviving building accounts recorded in the exchequer rolls of Scotland which show that Robert the Bruce enlarged and fortified the castle. At the same time as these improvement works other structures were constructed within the courtyard. These included a hall, a chapel, houses, workshops and a brewhouse.
There were two drum towers on the east side facing the sea which were situated just past the tower house. Only two walls of the tower house now remain standing. The building was typical of Scottish fortified towers with examples of gun loops and arrow slits strewn around its walls.
There is a vaulted basement area with a small window at each gable end. At the top of the building you can see the corner corbelled bartizan feature, at mid level an arrow slit and below the window that leads through to the basement area. The structure is contructed with undressed whinstone with dressed sandstone features, lime mortar and a rubble core.
On the internal walls you can see the insets where the timber joists would have been positioned as well as the moulded fireplace on the gable end.
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