Saturday, August 27, 2016

Coeffin Castle, Isle of Lismore, Scotland

Coeffin Castle
Isle of Lismore

As usual, Scotland offers the best of both scenery and history, melded into a single landscape that seems to beckon the viewer to return and return again. Coeffin Castle sits on the West coast of the island of Lismore, over looking the Lyn of Morvern. The ruins are such, that they look just like a craggy rock formation, but the remains of this stone built castle are quite extensive, though roof and wall rubble are now very overgrown. 

Above. Looking East from the Lyn of Morvern.

The castle is thought to have been built on the site of a Viking fort. It was built in the 13th century possibly by the MacDougalls of Lorn, an ancient district in Western Scotland in what is today, Argyll and Bute. The area formed part of the Earldom of Argyll from around 1470.

The island was an important part of land holdings of the MacDougalls, with St Moluag's Cathedral being an integral part of the island's fortunes. The island was a major Christian site in the Scottish isles and later became the seat of the Bishopric of Argyll. 

Above. Another view of the castle from the Lyn of Morvern.

Written records of the castle only appear in 1469\1470, when the castle and lands were granted to Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy by Colin Campbell (1st Earl of Argyll) The castle appears to have been occupied for a relatively short time, possibly due to its remote location.

The castle is a simple rectangular hall house with a bailey surrounding the castle walls. Whilst the castle most likely dates from the 13th century, the bailey was most likely added at a later's unusual for a stone built castle of the hall house form to have a bailey area at all. The walls were around 2.5 metres thick offering fairly substantial protection for its residents. The castle is not alone on this part of the island....a few hundred yards to the North East, a large rubble walled fort can still be seen today.

The Canmore website has a great collection of photos of the castle.

Photos courtesy of John Jefferies.

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