#125 Carnasserie Castle
Argyll & Dunbartonshire, Scotland
This is NOT an official Lego site

Carnasserie Castle sits on a windswept ridge above the Kilmartin Valley, unlooking Loch Awe. It is as important Scottish castle of the late 16th century in that it highlights the fusion of the medieval donjon [keep] and the great hall into an integrated layout. The basement rooms are vaulted and include the kitchen, wine cellar, storage rooms and the well room in the donjon. The first floor contains a long hall and private chamber in the keep. The style of carving is of a quality indicating an obvious renaissance in design which presumably carried over to other features including tapestries, painted ceilings, etc. It was a truly beautiful castle for its day, but the builder had served as chaplain for King James V at Stirling and may have been inspired by the work of the king's masons. The upper stories contained bedrooms for the Lord or Bishop, family, guests and possibly a small garrison.
Carnasserie was built by John Carswell, an gentleman so tall and bent that he was known as "The Heron". Acquiring Carnasserie estate in a charter sale from Archibald Earl of Argyll in 1559, he attempted to avoid civil war by continuing dialogue with both the Roman Catholic Mary Queen of Scots and the protestant Lords of the Congregation. A Gaelic scholar, he translated John Knox' "Book of Common Order" into Gaelic and had it published in 1567 - the first book ever published in the Gaelic language! He died in 1572 after two marriages, two children and precious little time to enjoy his just completed castle. Carswell was made Bishop of the Isles in 1566 by Mary Queen of Scots. His daughter Christian first married Dougall Campbell of Inverawe, but later married Bishop Neill Campbell, Carswell's successor at Carnasserie.
The hereditary Earl of Argyll sold Carnasserie in 1643 to another Dougall Campbell (of Auchinbreck). He enjoyed the palatial splendor until 1685 when Carnasserie was blown up by Lachlan Maclean and his Royalist forces in retaliation for Campbell's support of the Monmouth Rebellion against King James VII. The ruins passed on to the Campbells of Kilmartin, but in 1820 the family was forced to sell their estates including Carnasserie to their neighbors, the Malcolms of Poltalloch. The castle was never repaired and eventually Historic Scotland became custodian of the ruin. The castle is open to the public.

Restoration Drawing Plans of the Castle


Photos of the Lego Model
Under construction March-April, 2009
The layout from the east. The open sides from the west. East view of cellar level. West view with cellar and kitchen vaults.
Westsouthwest view of the Great
Hall with tapestries, pictures.
North view of the Great Hall
and the cellars are filling.
The private chamber.
The main staircase begins
to take shape.


Photos of the Lego Model
Built March-April, 2009
The view from the northeast,
especially the old tower.
The north view of
the castle.
From the northwest
the stair tower is
most prominent.
The west view
highlights the spiral
Photographing the interior has proven an
insurmountable problem: here are the
kitchen [left] and cellars.
The entire tower
interior without flash.
The private chamber
with lots of glare from
the flash, but better
The bedrooms and garret.
[I plan to rephotograph the
castle at some point!]


Build Your Own
Ground Floor Lego Plan
First Floor Lego Plan
Second Floor Lego Plan
North Elevation
West Elevation
South Elevation

Other Carnasserie Castle pages:

Return to the main castle page.

Castles created by Robert Carney
Page designed & maintained by
Robert Carney