Apr 2, 2013 by

Gylen Castle, on the southern part of the island of Kerrera in Argyll and Bute, sits on the tip of a promontory overlooking the Firth of Lorne. Gylen was built around 1582-1587 in the time of Dougall, the 15th chief, by Duncan MacDougall, who was either the brother or the son of the chief. It was certainly constructed as a fortified residence. On a nearly impregnable sea-cliff site, it was designed to make use of the best defensive strategies of its time. It has heavy walls, guarded entrances, gun loops, gun ports, and observation outlooks on all sides. Its design was not entirely utilitarian, however. Many very interesting features such as a crowstep gables, corbeled cornices, Romanesque carvings and sculptures of faces and figures, and dogtooth carving around oriel windows all testify to care of design and craftsmanship. The descendants of Duncan were able to use and enjoy the protection of Gylen for barely 60 years. In 1647, a detachment of the army of the Covenanters(a Scottish Presbyterian movement that was anti-Catholic, and anti-Episcopalian) captured and burned the castle, and slaughtered all who resided and defended therein. In addition to the loss of life and property was the disappearance of a great family treasure, the Brooch of Lorn, which had been captured by the MacDougalls from Robert the Bruce in 1306 at the Battle of Dalrigh. It was hidden until 1819 when it was found in a chest after the death of Major Campbell of Bragleen. A document confirmed that it had been taken from Gylen Castle by the Campbells, and it was returned to the MacDougall chiefs in 1824 by General Duncan Campbell of Lochnell. Queen Victoria viewed the brooch during a visit with the MacDougall clan chief in 1842. In May 2006 a restoration of the castle was completed with a £300,000 grant by Historic Scotland and £200,000 raised by worldwide members of Clan MacDougall. image: http://www.transceltic.com/115-explorecelticnations/scotlandnation/argyllandbutetrail

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