'A fayre pyle and a stronge'
In 1508 James IV, King of Scotland, granted the lands of Saddell Abbey to David Hamilton, Bishop of Argyll, with licence to 'build castles ... and fortify them with stone walls.' Saddell Castle was the result, a tower-house typical of the period. It was probably completed by 1512 and used by the Bishop as an occasional residence. In 1556 Saddell was transferred to James Macdonald, who had been busy annoying the English army in Ireland. In retaliation the Earl of Sussex mounted a raid on Kintyre in 1558 during which he burned and sacked the Castle, which he described as 'a fayre pyle and a stronge.'
The Castle seems to have been left as a ruin for the next hundred years, even after it was granted to Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, in 1607. Then in 1650 the Earl, in turn, granted Saddell to William Ralston of that Ilk, a fugitive from religious persecution in the Lowlands, on condition that he made it habitable within two years, which he did. William Ralston soon moved elsewhere and by the end of the 17th century the estate had been granted to a junior branch of the Campbell family who became known as the Campbells of Glensaddell.
During the 18th century the Campbells tried to make the Castle more comfortable but must have felt they were fighting a losing battle because in about 1774 Colonel Donald Campbell (1726-84) decided to build a new and more convenient home, which he called Saddell House. Colonel Campbell had served in India with distinction but was wounded in 1771 and it seems likely that a reward from the Nawab of Arcot provided the funds to build Saddell House. The Colonel’s new house was Classical in style and is typical of the country seats built by the merchants and military men returning after a successful career overseas during this time of prosperity in Scotland.
In 1937 the Saddell Estate was bought by Colonel and Mrs Moreton. During the war, when the then Captain Moreton was recalled to active service, Saddell House became home to children evacuated from Glasgow as well as to the Moreton’s own children. The boys slept in the attic and the girls on the first floor and though these were tense days it seems many happy memories were created.
The Landmark Trust’s involvement with the estate and buildings at Saddell Bay on Kintyre dates back to 1975. The estate and its buildings were purchased from Colonel and Mrs Moreton to enable them to survive and Mrs Moreton was given a life tenancy of Saddell House, which came to an end in 1998.
To read the full history album for Ferryman's Cottage please click here.
To download the children's Explorer pack for Ferryman's Cottage please click here.
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What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain More
A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.
Monday 13th February 2014