Bute, Kelspoke Castle

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Alternative Names North Kelspoke
Site Type CASTLE (POSSIBLE), ENCLOSURE, RIG AND FURROW, TOWNSHIP (PRE-IMPROVEMENT)
Canmore ID 40674
Site Number NS15SW 1
NGR NS 10660 54111
Council ARGYLL AND BUTE
Parish KINGARTH
Former Region STRATHCLYDE
Former District ARGYLL AND BUTE
Former County BUTESHIRE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Archaeological Notes

NS15SW 1.00 10660 54111.

NS15SW 1.01 NS c. 106 541 Bracelet

(NS 1065 5411) Kelspoke Castle (NR) (Remains of) (NAT)
OS 6" map (1957)

Known locally as Kelspoke Castle, from its situation and appearance, it was probably a watch tower, but that is mere conjecture. Only a part of the SE corner stands, 6' high, the remainder being merely turf-covered footings. It is built of red sandstone, cemented.
Name Book c.1863

The remains of Kelspoke Castle (name verified) which lie on high ground comprise an 'L' shaped structure traceable only as footings. The main building at the SE end is 6.0m square and has a section of walling 1.3m high and 1.2m wide surviving in its NE corner. The remainder of the building, poorly defined, is 16.0m long and 5.0m wide. The E wall makes use of a narrow outcropping ridge of sandstone as foundation. (The ruin adjacent to this feature is the old farmstead known as North Kelspoke).
Surveyed at 1:10 000.
Visited by OS (BS) 3 November 1976

The farmstead adjacent to Kelspoke Castle, comprising one unroofed building and two enclosures is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire and Buteshire 1869, sheet ccxv), but it is not shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1978).
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 15 October 1998.

NS 106 541 Site 6 North Kelspoke
Some 300m upstream from South Kelspoke, just north of the modern Upper Reservoir, are the remains of the other half of Kelspoke township. The name Kelspoke Castle is associated with a squarish red sandstone building of which only a small section remains standing 1m high. This structure abuts the gable of a whinstone longhouse, and there are the remains of two older buildings and a large squarish yard nearby. A sycamore tree growing on the yard is a conspicuous feature. Very fine broad rig is preserved on the slopes above and to the north of the site.
Proudfoot and Hannah 2000

NS 1065 5411 Farmstead remains: Located on level moorland, N of Upper Reservoir. Foundations and some walling of 3 houses, with a squarish yard (40m across) and traces of field system, partly submerged under Upper Reservoir. 'Castle' ruin is a fragment of a squarish building of dressed sandstone and mortar with shell sand, adjoining the ruin of a drystone built whin-stone long house 17 x 4m. There is a small square structure at the NE corner of the yard. This is a large farm that is well documented. Origin of the term 'castle' is obscure, and its use is not known before 19th century.
Information from Bute Natural History Society Deserted Settlement Survey (1991-9)
(RCAHMS WP000273)

The heavily robbed remains of Kelspoke Castle and adjacent farmstead of North Kelspoke are situated immediately N of Upper Reservoir, on a knoll with extensive views to the N, S and E. The castle remains include a length of dressed and mortared red sandstone wall, which tops a low scarp. This wall measures over 12m from NW to SE and is 0.9m thick and up to 1m high at the SE end, where it returns to the SW. The farmstead, which lies immediately SW of the castle, comprises at least three buildings and a subrectangular enclosure, all reduced to grass-grown footings. The farm of 'North Kelsbog' is shown on Roy’s Military Map (1747-55) and on a Foulis estate map (1758-9; RHP 14107/3), which depicts four buildings, one of them L-plan, and two enclosures.
Visited by RCAHMS (AGCH, IP) 17 March 2009.

1747 to 1755
 ANTIQUARIAN MAPPING

Further details

1758 to 1759
 ANTIQUARIAN MAPPING

Further details

1863
 FIELD VISIT

Notes Known locally as Kelspoke Castle, from its situation and appearance, it was probably a watch tower, but that is mere conjecture. Only a part of the SE corner stands, 6' high, the remainder being merely turf-covered footings. It is built of red sandstone, cemented.
Name Book c.1863

Further details

3 November 1976
 FIELD VISIT

Notes The remains of Kelspoke Castle (name verified) which lie on high ground comprise an 'L' shaped structure traceable only as footings. The main building at the SE end is 6.0m square and has a section of walling 1.3m high and 1.2m wide surviving in its NE corner. The remainder of the building, poorly defined, is 16.0m long and 5.0m wide. The E wall makes use of a narrow outcropping ridge of sandstone as foundation. (The ruin adjacent to this feature is the old farmstead known as North Kelspoke).
Surveyed at 1:10 000.
Visited by OS (BS) 3 November 1976

Further details

1991 to 1999
 FIELD VISIT

Notes NS 106 541 Site 6 North Kelspoke
Some 300m upstream from South Kelspoke, just north of the modern Upper Reservoir, are the remains of the other half of Kelspoke township. The name Kelspoke Castle is associated with a squarish red sandstone building of which only a small section remains standing 1m high. This structure abuts the gable of a whinstone longhouse, and there are the remains of two older buildings and a large squarish yard nearby. A sycamore tree growing on the yard is a conspicuous feature. Very fine broad rig is preserved on the slopes above and to the north of the site.
Proudfoot and Hannah 2000

NS 1065 5411 Farmstead remains: Located on level moorland, N of Upper Reservoir. Foundations and some walling of 3 houses, with a squarish yard (40m across) and traces of field system, partly submerged under Upper Reservoir. `Castle¿ ruin is a fragment of a squarish building of dressed sandstone and mortar with shell sand, adjoining the ruin of a drystone built whin-stone long house 17 x 4m. There is a small square structure at the NE corner of the yard. This is a large farm that is well documented. Origin of the term `castle¿ is obscure, and its use is not known before 19th century.
Information from Bute Natural History Society Deserted Settlement Survey (1991-9)
(RCAHMS WP000273)


Further details

1993
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 1993 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

15 October 1998
 DESK BASED ASSESSMENT

Notes The farmstead adjacent to Kelspoke Castle, comprising one unroofed building and two enclosures is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire and Buteshire 1869, sheet ccxv), but it is not shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1978).
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 15 October 1998.

Further details

6 February 2009
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 2009 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

17 March 2009
 FIELD VISIT

Project RCAHMS Isle of Bute Survey

Notes The heavily robbed remains of Kelspoke Castle and adjacent farmstead of North Kelspoke are situated on a small knoll 450m NW of South Kelspoke, with extensive views to the N, S and E. The castle remnants include a length of dressed and mortared red sandstone wall, which tops a low scarp. This stretch of wall measures over 12m from NW to SE and is 0.9m in thickness and up to 1m in height at the S end where it returns to the SW. There are the grass-grown footings of at least three buildings and a subrectangular enclosure to the SW of the castle. The farm of 'North Kelsbog' is shown on Roy’s Military Map (1747-55) and a Foulis estate map (1758-90), (RHP 14107/3) where the site is depicted as four buildings, one of which is L-plan, and two adjacent enclosures. To the S of the farmstead is an area depicted as meadow by Foulis.
Visited by RCAHMS (AGCH, IP) 17 March 2009.

Further details

23 June 2009
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 2009 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

 
Books and References

Foulis, J (1758-9) 'A Survey of the Isle of Bute'. Held in the Bute Archive, Mount Stuart. Copies held at the National Archive of Scotland (RHP14107) and RCAHMS.

Geddes and Hale, G F and A G C (2010) RCAHMS: The Archaeological Landscape of Bute, Edinburgh

Hannah and Proudfoot, A and E (1996) Isle of Bute Deserted Settlement Survey (Interim Report) in A Hannah Transactions of the Natural History Society of Bute, vol.XXIV Rothesay, Bute
Page(s): 37-56

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Charity SC026749