Ormiclate Castle

(Ormaclett Castle)

Located in the machair on the west coast of South Uist, 3 miles (5 km) south southwest of Howmore and 9 miles (14 km) north northwest of Lochboisdale, Ormiclate Castle (also Ormaclett Castle) was more of a manor house than a castle, built on the site of an earlier structure between 1701 and 1708. Comprising two storeys and built on a T-plan around a courtyard, it was the work of a French architect for Allan MacDonald of Clanranald. MacDonald had been exiled to France following his support for King James VII in 1689. He had taken a French wife and when the couple returned to South Uist in 1695, she persuaded her husband to build a modern house, of continental style. However, this new castle did not last long. While MacDonald and his wife were away, involved in another Jacobite rising, the castle was destroyed as the result of an accidental kitchen fire. This disaster occurred on the eve of the Battle of Sheriffmuir (13th November, 1715), during which MacDonald was mortally wounded. Thus the castle was never rebuilt and, today, roofless walls remain, although part of it was restored for habitation in the late 20th century.

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