The History of Inchmurrin Island, Loch Lomond

The history of Lennox castle and Inchmurrin Island. Inchmurrin is the largest of Loch Lomond’s islands and is cultivated over its southerly half. The island today is owned and managed by the Scott family.

14th and 15th Century

At the SW tip of the island the ruins of the 14th century castle built by Duncan the Eighth Earl of Lennox may be seen. The castle is recorded as having been completed by 1393 and the Earls of Lennox took up residence in the 14th century when they moved from their castle in Balloch during the plague. The castle was composed of three rooms, outbuildings and a courtyard.

King Robert the I is believed to have been given refuge here by the Fifth Earl of Lennox after his defeat by the MacDougalls of Lorne. King Robert the I also established a deer park here in the 14th century.

Isabella, countess of Albany and the daughter of the Eighth earl of Lennox was exiled here after 1425 when her husband, father and two sons were all executed on the same day at Stirling by King James I. She lived at the castle for the rest of her life and died on the island in 1460 after which the castle was abandoned. It is recorded that Sir John Colquhoun of Luss was killed here in 1439 during a raid led by Lachlan MacLean.

16th Century

King James the IV used the castle as a hunting lodge around 1506 as did King James the VI in later years.

St. Mirren, the patron saint of Paisley, had a chapel on the Island which was supposed to stand near the castle.

17th Century

In 1684 the island was sold to the Marquis of Montrose and used as a deer park stocked with around 200 fallow deer.

18th Century

In 1715 the island was raided by Rob Roy and Glengyle MacGregors along with other lands belonging to the Marquis of Montrose who by this time owned all of Buchanan and a large part of Lennox. The MacGregors who were at war with Montrose stole all the cattle and deer and every boat on the Loch to prevent being persued.

In 1724 Alexander Graham of Duchray described the castle as in ruins and said that the ruined chapel of St. Mirren stood nearby and that the island had oak and birchwood and was stocked with fallow deer.

The Rev. Gordon Stewart of Bonhill Parish in 1791 recorded that the island had been used as an asylum for disturbed people and pregnant single women.

In 1792 the island is described as being well wooded with both oak and birch with abundant pasture and supporting 200 deer cared for by a gamekeeper.

In 1793 a four apartment hunting lodge was built to house the participants in the annual hunt.

19th and 20th Century

The island remained the Duke of Montrose’s deer park until it was sold in 1930. (Fiona Baker, Firat Archaeological Services, Sept. 1995)

Other archaeological sites of interest include a burial ground and the suggested site of St. Mirren’s chapel, a corn kiln and associated buildings, and a hut circle and various platforms.

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