#132 Skipness Castle
Argyll & Dunbartonshire, Scotland
1247 and later
This is NOT an official Lego site

Skipness Castle was first constructed about 1247 by the MacSweens and consisted of a hall (next to the later keep) and a chapel, with a wooden barricade and minor buildings. About 1262 the castle became the property of Walter Stewart, Earl of Menteith, and was quickly strengthened against attacks by the Norsemen. About 1300 Sir John Menteith, possibly with the assistance of King Edward I, elongated the old hall, built a new chapel removed from the original, and converted the old chapel into a gatehouse (with portcullis) and residential range. A tall stone curtain wall featuring several fish-tailed crosslet-type arrow slots enclosed the complex. The west wall and keep both contained latrine towers. The Campbell Earl of Argyll added the two upper storeys and garret to the northeast corner of the hall soon after 1502, creating a classic Scottish tower with rounds on the parapet and a gabled caphouse.
The castle passed to the MacDonald Lord of the Isles at some point between 1300 and 1476, when Skipness was forfeited by John, Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross. The castle was administered for the Crown from 1499 by the Earl of Argyll, who passed it on the his second son Archibald Campbell in 1511. Archibald of Skipness was killed in 1537, and the castle passed to his son John. John's daughter and heiress, Jane, married a younger son of the Campbells of Ardkinglass, thus uniting cousin clans.The Campbells remained Keepers of Skipness through an unsuccessful seige in 1645 by the MacDonalds, and a call for the 'razing down' of the castle by the Crown following the Earl of Argyll's invasion of 1685. The castle remained in the hands of the Campbells of Skipness until 1867, when the family became so depressed for funds they sold the castle which was used as a farm until 1898. It is open to the public.

Drawing from the SSE Drawing from the NNW Drawing just after 1502
with Tower Keep complete
Ground Floor Plan First Floor Plan Tower plans of floors 3, 4 and garret


Photos of the Lego Model
Under construction December, 2011
On December 8 Skipness is
laid out on green plates...
with a very minor upsloping
from front to back
On December 9 the courtyard is
build up, and the curtain walls
and residential ranges defined.
On December 9 the courtyard is
build up, and the curtain walls
and residential ranges defined.
By December 11 work has been
done all around the castle...
with particular note to the
change from plain corners to
decorative quoins.
On December 12 the walls
are growing around the entire
A lot a time has been spent on
the location of hoarding or
construction holes in the walls.
The work on December 13 is
concentrated on the west side...
...particularly the crosslet-type
arrowslots and wooden scaffold
which is associated.
Here's a closeup of the arrowslots
The next day work resumes on
the donjon and hall-house...
with progress on the main living
level and windows.
On December 15 the
hall-house is completed
including battlements.
The windows on the courtyard
side are based on the only
existing window - on the
curtain wall.
With less than 10 days until
Christmas, work turns back
to the gatehouse and front
building range.
The exterior protective slits are
surely larger windows on the
courtyard side. Further pictures
will be of the completed model.


Photos of the Lego Model
Built December 8 through 18, 2011
This is my first "retirement castle" - it was fun [actually 'great fun'] to do a leisurely
build when I didn't have to go to work Monday through Friday!
Here is the formidable front of
Skipness with the portcullis down.
As I built the castle I became
increasingly impressed that she
was an excellent fortification
The residential range that
replaced the old chapel
is well guarded
The lines of holes in the east
curtain and tower wall are
doubtless for hoardings
Holes for hoarding are also
present on the north wall
The latrine tower was the 2nd
tallest structure at Skipness,
and contained the dovecot
Human vs bird poop - lets not
go there...
The west wall sports most
(but not all!) of the crosslet-
type arrowslots
There is not access to the
keep from the lower door,
and attacked via the narrow
staircase could be fatal
The courtyard is modest
but very adequate for a
necessary gathering of
family and minions
Even the donjon is well
protected from the
parapets. Nicely done!


Build Your Own
Lego Plan
East Elevation
Cross-section looking west
Cross-section looking north

Other Skipness Castle pages:

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