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Saddell Abbey
Saddell Abbey
The Lords of the Isles stone figures at Saddell
The Lords of the Isles stone figures at Saddell

Saddell (Scottish Gaelic: Saghadal pronounced [s?.?d?°?l??]) is a small Scottish village situated on the east side of the Kintyre Peninsula of Argyll and Bute, overlooking the Kilbrannan Sound and the Isle of Arran, 8 miles from Campbeltown on the B842 road to Carradale. (Grid reference NR 785 321 or 55°31'53?N, 5°30'40?W.) The name Saddell is derived from the Norse for sandy dale.

Saddell is home to the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey. This was founded around 1160 by Somerled, and completed by his son, whose descendants became the Clan MacDonald and eventual Lords of the Isles. Stone carving was a speciality at Saddell and there are fine examples of carved medieval grave slabs displayed under cover in the grounds of the abbey, now a cemetery. Relief carvings on the stones show warriors in their armour, clerics, ships, huntsmen with stags, large swords and Celtic knotwork designs. Most were carved at Saddell Abbey but some are more typical of the Iona school of stone-carving.

Saddell Castle, a tower house a quarter of a mile to the southeast and nearer the shore, was built for the Bishop of Argyll in the early 16th century. When the Campbells took it over in the late 17th century, stone from the abbey was used to add farm buildings to the castle. The family moved into a new house nearby around 1774, and the castle deteriorated over the years before being bought by the Landmark Trust. In 1976 the Landmark Trust contracted Mr Robert R Mauchline to restore the castle to its former glory. Soon after its completion the castle appeared in Paul Mccartney's "Mull of Kintyre" music video. Mr Mauchline's daughters Joanna and Hazel were also featured in the video.

The Trust now owns both Saddell Castle and the newer Saddell House, and allows pedestrian access to the beach below at Saddell Bay. At the end of the bay is Pluck Wood and the remains of an Iron Age fort.


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