#164 Little Cumbrae Castle
Castle Island, just off Little Cumbrae Island
Firth of Clyde
Ayrshire, Scotland
15th century
This is NOT an official Lego site

Mention of Little Cumbrae Island, resting not far from the mouth of the River Clyde in the Firth of Clyde, goes back to about 1300.  The island was the property of the Crown, with Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and son-in-law of King Robert the Bruce, possibly having built a castle or hunting lodge on the island.  Their son Robert II, King of Scots, visited Little Cumbrae in 1375 and 1384 on hunting expeditions.  King Robert III also visited "Little Cumbrae Castle".  The Hereditary Foresters of Little Cumbrae were the Hunters of nearby Hunterston for several centuries, but in 1515, the Privy Council charged that Robert Hunter did not have the means or power to keep and protect the royal falcons, and gave the island to Hew Montgomery, Earl of Eglinton.  This arrangement was disputed, but eventually finalized in 1555 by King James V.
The current castle, a very well preserved ruin, was likely built by a member of the Hunter family, but it is thought that the current tower is not the "auld castle" of legend, occupied at times by Kings Robert II and Robert III.  Martin Coventry in his 3rd edition of The Castles of Scotland, lists the keep as "15th-century", removing the Earls of Eglinton as builders.  The rectangular tower measures 30 by 41 feet, with a 44' height at the wall walk.  The original entrance is on the first floor, reachable by a retractable ladder.  A later door was added on the ground floor to give direct access to the cellars.  The tower is three stories plus an attic, with corbelled-out parapets that include three open rounds.  The basement contains two cellars, the first floor the Hall and kitchen, separated by the screen, and the second floor and garret several bedrooms.  The tower has multiple shot-holes.

Little Cumbrae Castle was apparently held by the Montgomery Earls of Eglinton until late in the 16th century, but in 1599 Robert Boyd of Badinhaith [Badenheath] lived in the castle and planned to encourage trade to Little Cumbrae by building a harbor. Local residents, especially several Montgomerys, broke down the doors and reoccupied the castle.  The Montgomerys sided with the Crown during the Civil War, and the tower was burned but escaped destruction at the end of the war, though it was never reoccupied.  Were the location not so remote, the ruin would probably have been restored by now.  Visitors can climb to the parapet level. 

Drawing showing lower
door added later
Plan of the Ground Floor
Plan of the First Floor
Plan of the Second Floor
looking west


Photos of the Lego Model
Under Construction in January 2018
Construction begins on
January 13. The keep will
be dark gray Lego with
light gray quoins.
By the next day the first
floor entrance and hall
windows are in place.
I've tried to match the
patterns of lighter stone
as much as possible.

By January 15 the
tower has reached
the height of the...
...corbelling for the
parapets.  These are
always fun to build!

By January 20 enough
light gray 1x2 plates and
jumpers have been...
...freed up to complete the
false machicolations.
roof and parapets will soon
See below!


Photos of the Lego Model
Built January 13-21, 2018
So here's Hugh Montgomerie,
Lord of Eglinton, guarding the
entrance to his tower.
The southwest view
shows Lady Eglinton
watching the horizon.
This has been a fun
build, with dark gray
brick and light gray
The ruin is in great shape
considering 350 years
The northeast view
highlights the door from
garret to parapets.
This is a really cool
modest Scottish tower
So here are a couple of closeups
of the machicolations, and the
open rounds which guard three...
...but not all four corners
of the tower.


Build Your Own
Lego Plans of the First Floor
and Roof with parapets
South and East Lego

Other Little Cumbrae pages:

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