When recently in Scotland I went too see Castle Stalker to learn more about its history. This is an island Castle that is still inhabited today, on the west coast of Scotland near Port Appin between Ballachulish and Oban.
It was first built as a Fortalice which is a small fortified building, by the MacDougalls who were then the Lords of Lorn around 1320. The MacDougalls lost the title in 1338 and the Lordship of Lorn passed to the Stewarts including Castle Stalker.
The Castle as we know it today though was mostly built by Sir John Stewart who was then the Lorn Of Lorn in 1446. He had an illegitimate son whom he wished to legitimatize by marrying his mother, a Mc Laren, but he was murdered by Alan MacCoul a renegade Mac Dougall at the Church gates. Miraculously he remained conscious enough to complete the ceremony and his son Dugald went on to become the first Chief of Appin.
The Stewarts then had their revenge on MacCoul at the Battle of Stalc, which is just opposite the Castle, where MacCoul was killed by Dugald himself.
King James IV of Scotland was a cousin of the Stewarts of Appin and he often stayed at Caslte Stalker while hunting and hawking in the area.
Many additions and improvements were made during this time including the top floor and the coat of arms above the door may be of this King.
In 1513 the Stewarts of Appin supported King James IV at the battle of Flodden. The Chief and his 5 sons were present and they all survived but it was a huge defeat for the King and he died at the battle.
Around 1620 the Castle passed into the hands of the Campbells of Aird which was result of a drunken gamble by the then 7th Stewart Chief, Duncan.
Around the rising of 1745 the Campbells had 60 government troops stationed there and the Stewarts, who were behind Prince Charles, brought an army of 300 against them, but the Castle was too strong for them and their cannon balls, which only weighed 2 lbs, just bounced off the walls.
The Campbells remained there until 1800, but after they built a house on the mainland the Castle was only used for storage and it fell into disrepair.
The roof caved in around 1840 and it was totally abandoned.
In 1908 it was regained by the Stewarts by Charles Stewart Of Achara and he did some basic work to stem its decay. It was in 1965 that work on its rehabilitation really started by Lt. Col. Stewart Allward who spent 10 years rebuilding and restoring doing almost all of the work with his own wife, family and friends.
He died suddenly out walking in 1991and was then followed by his wife in 2005. They’re survived by their 4 children, 6 grand children and 9 great grand children.
~ by John Tomnay. CEO at Apex Office Centers