Kilmory Castle

(Kilmory House)

A mansion and former estate on the eastern shore of Loch Gilp in Argyll & Bute, Kilmory Castle is located a half-mile (1 km) south southeast of Lochgilphead. It is the headquarters of Argyll and Bute Council. This grand Tudor Gothic pile was created 1828-36 by the English architect Joseph Gordon Davis for Sir John Orde around the core of an earlier mansion which was built 1816-20 for the Campbells of Kilmory, and had itself incorporated parts of a smaller 18th C. house. Orde had married into that family, which had owned the estate since the 16th C. The 1820 house was extended to form an L-plan by building a long west wing, a massive three-storey octagonal tower at the southwest corner and an equally massive square tower at the north end of the new wing. Both towers featured corbelled bartizans. The octagonal tower contains a fine drawing room and dining room. Orde also remodelled the grounds with the aid of botanist William Jackson Hooker (1785 - 1865). The house was further extended in 1860-63 to form a U-plan. The Campbell-Ordes retained the house and estate until 1938. It then passed through several hands and served variously as a hotel, hostel and conference centre. The property was B-listed in 1971. In 1974 it was bought by Argyll County Council to serve as a headquarters for Argyll and Bute District Council, which came into being through local government reorganisation the following year. The Council added a tasteless four-storey block to the rear in 1980-82 to provide additional office accommodation. A fire in the west wing the following year necessitated the refurbishment of much of the castle's interior.

The original entrance hall, south of the present entrance, has a floor of encaustic tiles made by Samuel Wright of Staffordshire and supplied by Minton in 1837. Unique in Scotland, these unglazed tiles are pale buff inlaid with black and feature a Moorish design.

Buildings have spread over the hillside around the Castle, including a council depot, Kilmory Industrial Estate and the Lochgilphead Joint Campus School. Part of the estate now forms the Kilmory Woodland Park.

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