Lochnell House



Lochnell House is a large classical and baronial battlemented mansion of three and four storeys, which has been added to and extended down the centuries. It incorporated part of a 17th-century block in one wing. The house was damaged by several serious fires, one in 1741 when newly finished, and the second in 1853, was left in ruins for some decades, but has since been mostly restored.

CREAG SLOCHDACH A bold precipice a little west of the above and from which, the building material for Lochnell House was quarried.
Sign [Signification] "Pot or hollow crag" or rather "Crag full of pits or dens"1

The house is called after the family’s older residence on an island in Loch Nell which is visible on the Blaeu Map of 1654 [NM 8982281], which is about 3 miles east and south of Oban by Kilmore.
Lochnell House was built by the Sir Duncan Campbell, 7th of Lochnell.

Fire 1741 when newly finished

Fire 1853 and left for some years before work began again on restoration in the 1880s (Campbell, Duncan, 8th Earl)

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
Name Role Partnership Group From To Notes
Item 1 of 5 John Baxter Architect J 1737 1739 May have been responsible for new house built to SE of earlier block
Item 2 of 5 John Douglas Architect K 1737 1739 May have been responsible for the design of new house 1737-39.
Item 3 of 5 Archibald Elliot Architect A 1818 1820 Enlarged in castellated style.
Item 4 of 5 George Woulfe Brenan Architect After 1882 Before 1911 Restoration
Item 5 of 5 Leslie Grahame Thomson (or Leslie Grahame-Thomson; later Leslie Grahame MacDougall) Architect 1950 Alterations

Architect George Woulfe Brenan 1844 - 1924 http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200432
became involved in the restorationof Lochnell House after he moved to practise in Oban in 1882, and when he returned from Glasgow he was involved in the construction of 1904 St Modan's Established Church.
Cost of George Woulfe Brenan restoration: £7,000.
Some years ago an 1892 letter from George Woulfe Brenan to Lochnell came up on Ebay.

The mansion has been held by the (Douglas Blair) Cochrane Earl of Dundonald since 1912, when they purchased the estate.

The Campbells of Lochnell had a burial aisle at Ardchattan Priory [NM 971349].
The house is said to have had a brownie, and ghostly music has reportedly been heard here.
Another story is that the staircase was made from wood from an ancient and holy yew tree that grew on Bernera island off Lismore, and under which St Columba preached (or perhaps St Moluag?). A series of disasters befell both those involved in felling the tree and then moving it (the boat in which it was being transported sank with loss of life) and the Campbells themselves, including the burning down of the house. The lore says that there will be 3 major fires (there have been 2) and the first son will never inherit.

Lochnell House. from Canmore.org.uk

Lochnell House (RCAHMS 1975) Lochnell Castle (Millar and Kirkhope 1964) incorporates work of four main periods ranging in date from about the end of the 17th century to about the end of the 19th century. The late 17th century house is now represented only by a service- wing, which forms the SW range of the present building, but a main block of contemporary, or of earlier, date must formerly have occupied the NE portion of the site. In about 1737-9 the house was altered and enlarged by the erection of a new dwelling-house to the SE of this earlier main block. Between about 1818 and 1820 the house was again remodelled, the early NE main block being removed and its site utilised for the erection of a substantial mansion in the castellated style, to which the SW service-wing and the early Georgian dwelling-house formed flanking appendages. At the same time a court of offices, also in the castellated style, was constructed on the NW side of the house, and the SW service wing was extended in length. In 1853 the greater part of the house was gutted by fire, and the building appears to have remained unoccupied until towards the end of the century, when the early Georgian dwelling-house and the SW service-wing were restored. Of the late Georgian mansion, however, only the NE portion was reoccupied, the remainder being patched up and allowed to remain as a roofless shell. There is an 18th- or early 19th century ice-house about 50m to the S of the house.

H B Millar and J Kirkhope 1964; RCAHMS 1975, visited 1968.

As described above. Known locally as 'Lochnell Castle' and of no particular architectural importance.

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