The Motte

The Motte

The Motte

Cnoc Mhic Eoghainn
Cnoc Mhic Eoghainn

Cnoc Mhic Eoghainn

Most MacEwens are aware of the existence of Caisteal Mhic Eoghainn (Castle MacEwen) on the shores of Loch Fyne near the village of Kilfinan, however a great deal fewer are aware of the Clan’s Northern Stronghold, Cnoc Mhic Eoghainn, situated on the Ballimore Estate, a former holding of the MacEwens of Otter and the seat of the Campbells of Otter (Castles of the clans: the strongholds and seats of 750 Scottish families and clans, Martin Coventry, Musselburgh, Scotland : Goblinshead, 2008). The remnants of a medieval motte and bailey style castle This site is also on the shores of Loch Fyne a mere 20min walk from the Oiter (Sandbar) from which The MacEwens of Otter drew their name.

 

A motte and bailey was a fortification which “consisted of a wooden keep that was placed on a raised earthwork called a motte, overlooking an enclosed courtyard called the bailey.” (https://www.castlesworld.com/tools/motte-and-bailey-castles.php accessed 15/9/19). They were quick and relatively cheap to build and did not require the highly skilled labour that later stone castles required. This being said the constant upkeep required for a timber structure that would inevitably rot away was such that, by the Middle Ages, the Motte and Bailey was falling out of use in favour for more permanent stone structures.

Cnoc Mhic Eoghainn

Cnoc Mhic Eoghainn is the remnants of one of these style castles. On maps the shape of the Motte and Bailey can be seen however when there in person it is the Motte which stands out the most. About 10m high, even now it is covered in forest, it has a commanding view of the Loch below. In its heyday the surrounding land would have been cleared of vegetation and it would have had a good view of the surrounding countryside as well.​

Atop the motte there are now two stone structures. Obviously not original these structures date from the 19th Century and are the burial ground for the Campbells of Otter. As far as I am aware no archaeological investigations have ever been undertaken at the site and it would be interesting to see what might be left in the earthworks.

Campbell Grave Buildings on Motte
Campbell Grave Buildings on Motte
Campbell Grave Buildings on Motte