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The Arran Historical Society enjoyed a visit to Skipness Castle recently where members learned about the history of the ruinous building and the surrounding area from their guide Frances Hood.
Frances outlined the history of the castle: prior to the 13th century it was in the possession of the McSweens in the domains of the Lord of the Isles. In the 13th century and later it was administered by the Campbells of Inveraray. It was then left to decay in the 17th century before being stabilised and coming under the protection of Historic Scotland in the 20th century.
The original hall house and chapel date from the early 13th century. At the end of the 13th century, curtain walls enclosed the hall house and the chapel was built. Then later towers were built at the north and southeast corners. The seaside entrance has double doors, a murder hole and a portcullis. The view from the battlements shows the site was picked to observe the sea traffic across Loch Fyne, the Kyles of Bute, Arran and down Kilbrannan Sound.
Near to the castle lies the ruins of St Brendan’s Chapel which contains a historic cemetery. The cemetery is notable for the grave cross-slabs which date from the late 13th century. These have been covered to protect them but Frances had access to them and allowed the members to view the fine workmanship of the carvings.
Society members remarked after the event that it had been an excellent day, clear and sunny weather all afternoon and incredibly interesting.
Note: can we put this in a box
The proposed annual trip by the Arran Historical Society on Friday June 21 to the National Trust Burns’ Museum at Alloway had been cancelled due to a lack of support from members. Members who have already paid for the trip will be reimbursed at the July meeting.
Arran Historical Society members pictured at St Brendan’s Chapel in Skipness. No_B23history01
One of the cross-slabs from the Skipness cemetery that members were able to inspect. No_B23history02