Ardencaple is situated about one mile from the seaside town of Helensburgh. Today all that remains is a solitary tower perched on the edge of a rocky plateau which overlooks the Firth of Clyde. The castle was
demolished in 1957 apart from this tower, which owed its survival to its use as a coastal beacon.
Ardencaple Castle (present) LEFT: The remaining tower showing twin beacons
RIGHT: Clan MacAulay plaque above first window
Like so many Scottish castles Ardencaple was a multi-period site, each addition obscuring the previous until nothing of the original castle appeared to survive – but appearances can be deceptive, for hidden within its
walls were those of a 16th century tower house.
The site is strong and there are suggestions that a castle stood there in the 13th century. The lands belonged to Clan MacAulay whose tower house is recorded in the 1580s.
Ardencaple Castle (past) TOP: Side facing the sea
BOTTOM: On a high, rocky defensive site
In the 17th century the MacAulays were forced to sell the land and castle which became a roofless ruin until restored by the Duke of Argyll.
A housing scheme now encroaches upon the site but the clan connection is commemorated by a wall plaque.
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.
Date posted: 31 Oct 2015Last updated: 31 Oct 2015
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