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, 6 October 2013

The Mingary Lime Kiln

Huge amounts of mortar were used both in the original building of the castle and in its subsequent repairs and renovations, such as that which occurred around 1700.  The builders were fortunate that, while the castle itself stands on an igneous rock, there are extensive outcrops of limestone to the immediate east of the castle.  It's logical that this must have been the source of the lime for the mortar.

One of the advantages of living in the local village is that I could ask around to see if anyone knew of a kiln near the castle.  There are others scattered around the peninsula, all exploiting the same outcrops of Jurassic limestone - for example, there is a well-preserved one in the roadside at the top of the hill at Swordle.

I'm grateful to Sue Cameron for describing where it was.  It's only 100 metres to the east of the castle, just above the high-tide mark, and the reason I hadn't found it is that it was built into a bank, with the path we follow along that section of coastline running just above it.  It can be seen to the right of the wind-blown oak tree.

A semi-circular front wall encloses a rounded space.  The wall has partly collapsed, but a stoke hole can be seen at its base.  Presumably the 'ingredients' - limestone and a fuel such as wood or charcoal - were poured in from the top of the bank at the back, and the quicklime removed from the front.

It would be good if someone who knows about these kilns could have a look at it.  The idea that it might be the original kiln, dating back to before 1300, is exciting.

For a brief overview of pre-industrial lime kilns, see the English Heritage site here.

No comments:

Post a Comment