The Mingary Castle restoration blog was written by Jon Haylett, who lives in the local village of Kilchoan. Now that restoration is almost complete Holly and Chris Bull will take over to report on bringing the Castle back to life.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

14th July

Ross Cameron has pointed out to me that 14th July is a very significant anniversary in the history of Mingary Castle: it was the date when the castle capitulated in 1644 following a brief siege.  We know this through the journals kept by a Scottish minister, John Weir.  He was a Covenanter who had been in Ulster but, on his return journey, was captured by Alasdair MacColla who was on his way, with 1,500 men, to attack Covenanter strongholds along the west coast of Scotland.  Weir kept a journal, from which this is an extract:

10 July: we came fornent the castle of meagne
11 July: we cam much nearer the castle of Mingary
12 July: the kowes were taken from Mingary castle
13 July: the castle was assaulted by land & sea
14 July: it was rendred upon quarter

From this, it seems that the siege was remarkably short, lasting two days at most, but we already know (see post on 26th June here) that the attack was extremely fierce, as Patrick Gordon of Ruthven, in his history of the Civil War in Scotland, wrote, "Hee [MacColla] forced the castell of Mingarie by a desperate assault with meir resolution, for they had neither cannon to batter nor pittard to blow up, nor scalled ladders to ascend the walls....  [They] marched and adwanced speedily until they ware at the foote of the wall, then fyred the gates and heaping on all sorts of combustible stuffe round about, they set fire to the castell...."

The discovery by archaeologists from Addyman Archaeology of the original stones from the doorway surround gave us a very immediate connection through to this event.  The doorway was subsequently rebuilt, some time around 1700.  Look carefully at this picture, and you can see that the area above the door shows signs of work, and the rocks all round the doorway have been completely re-done.

Many thanks to Ross Cameron for drawing my attention to John Weir's writing (in the book 'Colkitto', Kevin Byrne, House of Lochar), and to Ricky Clark for the top photograph.

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